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

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

Shay Baker, 17, hasn’t been seen or heard from since Oct. 21 and is wanted on outstanding warrants. (Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police searching for high-risk missing youth

Shay Baker, 17, is wanted on outstanding warrants

Plastic Ocean by Oak Bay resident Gabriela Hirt is in the Federation of Canadian Artist’s “Crisis” exhibition on now in Vancouver. (Gabriela Hirt/cropped to fit)
Oak Bay artist wins juried show in Vancouver

Pair of Oak Bay artists part of ‘Crisis’ exhibition

The M’akola Housing Society is looking to build two new residences in Sooke to help provide affordable accommodation for local Indigenous people. The projects were granted nearly $1.1 million toward their construction through the Regional Housing Trust Fund. (Photo courtesy M’Akola Housing Society)
Regional Housing First Program strikes another chord in Greater Victoria

Affordable housing partnership grants will help house over 100 people on income assistance

Online reservation service, First Table, allows Victoria diners to have dinner at half-price if they’re willing to be flexible about when they go. (Black Press Media file photo)
New reservation service allows Victoria residents to dine out at half price

First Table gives Victoria diners 50 per cent off when they book tables during off-peak hours

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Most Read