April 6, 2021
Humphrey Public School students embark on community nature trails project
Grade 6 students at Humphrey Public School have been involved in an exciting project. In collaboration with Whispering River Music and Seguin Township, students have embarked on an art project for the local community to reflect on how COVID-19 has impacted their lives.
“We started by reflecting on the emotions that have arisen during this time. Next, we discussed our experiences, and from there we brainstormed 12 questions that might encourage others to reflect on their experiences,” said teacher Pam Moorhouse.
Some of the questions included:
- Where have you found joy this year?
- Have you been angry?
- What are you grateful for?
- What have you lost? What have you found?
- How has COVID affected your life?
After brainstorming questions, students spent time sketching, while listening to local musicians Brenda Muller (cello) and Zach Louch (bass) play music that was inspired by the student’s questions (through Microsoft Teams). The pair are music teachers at Whispering River Music.
Brenda led the students through some conversations around the importance of humans sharing stories to help them get through difficult times. She will be coming back to help the students compose music inspired by their art!
Students picked a question to focus on and created an art response. These pieces were painted onto wooden signs that the students put in the woods on the Humphrey Nature Trails across the street. The community is encouraged to add their artistic responses.
This project is the first part of a bigger Creative Communities project that Whispering River Music has embarked upon.
The Creative Communities project is based on an old storyteller’s saying: When you tell one story, you should always tell two. That way the stories will lean on each other. The public is invited to paint their stories on wood and to let their stories “lean” on the students’ stories. In many ways, communities are comprised of stories that lean on each other to create a shared cultural experience. It is our hope that the practice of leaning stories on each other will create a River of Community through the forest to support us all in difficult times.
Historically, humanity has created art to help communities and individuals transcend, persevere and endure. In keeping with that tradition, students reviewed the archaeological find of Cave Art near Lascaux, France, where 17,000-year-old paintings were discovered, that have been inspired by the paintings of even earlier artists. The paintings, like stories leaning on each other, are layered and nestled into the walls of the cave.
Perhaps the most compassionate image from the Lascaux Caves is that of many hands outstretched on the cave wall, created by painting over the artists’ hands and leaving a silhouette imprint. Whispering River Music and Humphrey Public School are inviting contributors to sign their story-art pieces with a silhouette of their hands on the back of their boards. In this way, their hands can join hands with the hands painted so long ago, and with those of the students.
Students and staff at Humphrey Public School would like to thank Gray’s Paint and Flooring, Ryan Wettlaufer and Cornerstone Carpentry for the donation of materials.
“Stay tuned…other classes are going to be adding their art and music to this ever-evolving project soon,” exclaimed Moorhouse.
This project has been funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Information about Near North District School Board:
Near North District School Board is an English-language public school board serving the North Bay – Parry Sound – Nipissing area. The Board consists of approximately 10,000 students in 27 elementary schools, seven secondary/senior schools and various alternative learning centres. For more information, please visit nearnorthschools.ca and follow Near North District School Board on social media.
For more information, please contact:
Near North District School Board
P. (705) 472-8170, extension 5083