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Student Artwork of Birds for Gallery Cruise

Students at Chautauqua Elementary School show bird illustrations they painted as part of the 4th Grade Birding Program. Their art will be featured during the May 4th, First Friday Gallery Cruise.  Photo by Harsi Parker
Students at Chautauqua Elementary School show bird illustrations they painted as part of the 4th Grade Birding Program. Their art will be featured during the May 4th, First Friday Gallery Cruise. Photo by Harsi Parker

This Spring, eighty-five 4th grade students at Chautauqua Elementary School have been studying the birds of Vashon-Maury Island with the help of volunteers from Vashon Audubon. This program has been conducted at Vashon elementary schools for more than twenty years.

With support from Vashon Artists in the Schools and Partners In Education, Vashon artist Rose Belknap has taught the students how to draw and paint birds to create their own bird portrait.

The birding program began in 1990, when fourth-grade teacher and Audubon member Carol Ferch used a Partners in Education grant to link art and science. A watercolor artist worked with students to paint the local bird of their choice, and Audubon members came into the classroom to introduce the kids to the birds of Vashon-Maury. The 4th Grade Birding Program is now a regular part of science programming for all fourth grade students. Volunteers from Vashon Beach Naturalists also help the students learn about marine bird habitat during a birding field trip to KVI beach.

The students’ bird artwork will be featured as part of the May 4 First Friday Gallery Cruise at Wings Birdseed Company, Vashon Book Shop, the Heron’s Nest and the Little House. Greeting cards of the bird art will be available for sale with proceeds supporting the 4th Grade Birding Program.