Trees for the Future

“A tree is a little bit of the future.” ~ from Wangari Maathai, by Franck Prévot

dscf6102Dear Families and Friends,

This morning Alanna told a story about planting trees in Colorado. In a desert-like environment so different from Maine, trees provide much needed oxygen, moisture, and shade. Kids were fascinated. We are reading a book about Wangari Maathai, who was one of a small number of Kenyan girls in the ’50’s to have gone to school, receive a diploma, and attend a U.S. college. When she returned home after graduating, she learned that her country was “free from the British but the trees are not.” They were being cut down to make room for planting tea and other crops.  She knew she must step up and take action.

It was a day of new beginnings for LEAPS’ kids. They reflected on the qualities of yesterday’s tree observations and came up with a list of characteristics that described their original art: detailed, colorful, textured, naturalistic, bushy, complex, imaginative, cool, twisted, symmetrical and asymmetrical, full, amazing, weird, and futuristic. 

Susan demonstrated how to use their tree drawings as references for their the next collagraph project. She explained that the tree would be the first layer of their print, which will ultimately be combined with their self-portrait.  Connected to the natural world through trees, the work will be a statement about how each child stands up for nature.

From a box of wooden, cardboard, string, and bark pieces, they chose their materials. Transforming a pencil drawing into a mosaic-like format was a formidable assignment.

Texture and shape would play a major part in the beauty of their print, so they positioned the materials in ways to maximize the variety. Getting the right shape and making sure string would stick were 2 big challenges.











By the end of the day kids had a lot to say for themselves about what they had learned:

“Everything can be hard.”  “Taking your time is better than rushing.”  “Sometimes the stuff you’re putting on needs lots of glue.”  “You always get a step further when you go slowly.”  “A mess up can change your work, but it can also make it better.”  “Artists are explorers too.”

Our team is reveling in the brilliant compositions fourth graders are creating, children’s patience and tenacity, and their willingness to seek and offer feedback in peer groups.

Looking forward to our Wheeler Bay experience next Tuesday, weather permitting, Nancy, Alanna, Susan, Cindy, and Dee



4 thoughts on “Trees for the Future

  1. Saw birches today, stepping into the meadow; (they are the scouts, the first to expand the forest)…. and thought of you all. 💜🌱

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