Ian Bruce, executive co-ordinator of the Peninsula Stream Society, stands with McKenzie Elementary school students and other participants in an interpretive signage project bringing environmentally-themed art to the wooden bridge across Swan Creek. (Wolf Depner/News staff)

Saanich elementary students draw attention to local ecosystem with art

Grade 4/5 students attending McKenzie Elementary produce poems and pictures for Swan Creek bridge

The salmon may or may not appreciate the prose paintings now gracing Swan Creek bridge. But their creators have sure come to appreciate the salmon.

Before her school teamed up with local environmentalists and painter Carolyn Knight to produce the art, Devon Jenkins did not know much about salmon.

Several months later, the Grade 5 student attending McKenzie Elementary marvels about the role that salmon play in protecting the local ecosystem.

“I’m now more aware of the creek [and] the plants around it,” she said. “I never knew any of this before we started the project.”

RELATED: Truckloads of junk pulled from Colquitz fish habitat

The Peninsula Stream Society first drew up the idea of combing artistry with ecology years ago when it teamed up with students from Colquitz Middle School for a comparable project highlighting the ecology of the Colquitz River — the destination river of Swan Creek.

The society found a willing partner in nearby McKenzie Elementary, whose Grade 4/5 class visits the creek on a regular basis.

Its teacher, Lisa Schneider, loved the idea after her teaching partner Margaret Yee had raised it.

“It fit in really well with the curriculum,” said Schneider.

Supported financially by the society and logistically by volunteers from the Friends of Swan Creek Watershed, some 20 students worked with Knight to produce dozens of art pieces informing the public about salmon and other wildlife. Work on the pieces started in the middle of 2017 and did not wrap up until two weeks ago, when the District of Saanich mounted them.

RELATED: Peninsula Streams given $10K towards restored Colquitz watershed

“So it’s a great community effort to involve children in active acknowledgment, recognition and stewardship of their natural environment,” said Ian Bruce, the society’s executive co-ordinator during the unveiling of the panels Thursday.

Ryan Painter, a trustee with SD 61, agreed. “You come here and you read the poems, and you look at the pictures, you really get a sense of how meaningful and impactful this is for the kids.”

Fostering this awareness ranks among the long-term goals of this project, said Francesca Loro, the society’s stewardship co-ordinator.

“The children are our hope for the future, and Swan Creek is a place these particular children know very well,” she said. “They are familiar with it, they see it through the season, they care about it.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney opens shower facility for vulnerable population

Facility located at Iroquois Park, near local food bank

Peninsula markets on hold, could look radically different upon return

Sidney’s chief administrative officer says it is ‘unlikely’ market will go forward in familiar format

Oak Bay Beach Hotel now delivers groceries, meals

Checking in with Oak Bay’s only hotel and guest house

Saanich councillor named one of Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25

Coun. Ned Taylor, three other young environmentalists from Greater Victoria on the list

Mental Health: Erasing stigma leads to new path for Victoria woman

Paula Roumeliotis struggled with bipolar disorder for 35 years before finding support

From inside the ER: B.C. doctor tells it like it is from the frontlines of COVID-19

‘Stay home. It’s working,’ says ER doctor in a Q&A discussion, ‘And please don’t worry.’

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

Funds will help ‘urgent food needs’ for Canadians awaiting federal emergency benefits to kick in

Couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas: Cowichan by-law

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

How well can cell phones carry COVID-19? Disinfecting may be wise

‘You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands’

3M pushes back on Trump administration call to stop sending N95 masks to Canada

3M says it has already been turning out as many of the N95 masks as possible

COVID-19: Vancouver Islander celebrates 90th birthday with Model T ride as neighbours line streets

WATCH: Pandemic ruined plans for a party, so Francesca Dawe’s friends got creative

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Most Read