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

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

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey is one of four athletes being inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame this year. Here, she is pictured with her mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
Four new names added to Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame

Matt Pettinger, Gwen Spencer Hethey, Peter Lawless and Roger Skillings being inducted

The District of Saanich is accepting nominations for the 2021 Environmental Awards until June 1 at 4 p.m. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Nominations now open for Saanich’s 21st annual Environmental Awards

Awards recognize individuals and organizations making Saanich more sustainable

Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside president Angus Macpherson visited the Wear2Start Society boutique in Victoria to present a cheque to the society’s vice-president Alessandra Ringstad (left) and president Angela Mangiacasale. (Courtesy of Wear2Start)
Rotary club donates over $11,000 to Greater Victoria non-profit for women

Wear2Start Society provides clothing for women in need

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)
Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

Paddles sit stacked and ready at a rowing regatta on Elk Lake in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria junior girls rowing team nabs first in national Row to Tokyo challenge

Young Victoria City Rowing Club members row more than 2,250 km

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read