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)

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

Just Posted

University of Victoria researchers received more than $9 million from the federal government for projects that aim to advance big ideas, discoveries and innovations. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
University of Victoria research boosted with more than $9 million in federal funding

The research funding will support a wide range of projects and study

Coun. Bob Thompson wants authorities to delay the June 30 deadline for submissions to BC Housing’s request-for-proposal to run the supportive housing project at Prosser Road. (Black Press Media File)
Central Saanich calls for delay in supportive housing project deadline

Municipality wants more say in eventual choice of contractor to run supportive housing project

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read