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Calling all tree huggers: Trafalgar Elementary hosts art exhibition to honour trees

| Categories: Arts, Sustainability

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Why are trees so important to the ecosystem? This is the question students at Trafalgar Elementary have been exploring for the past two months. From May through June, students in grades 5 to 7 worked on a special project to honour the trees that surround their school. This work was lead by Susan Hall, a professional photographer and art teacher, as well as Laure Larpent and Ashley House, teachers and project leads at Trafalgar Elementary.

The project was sparked by Trafalgar Elementary’s work as a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) school. The UNESCO Schools Network includes students and teachers from over 11,500 schools in more than 182 countries and uses innovative learning to address global issues. 

“As a UNESCO school, each year we do a project and relate it back to United Nations’ sustainability goals,” says Larpent. “For the past year,  Ashley, Susan and I have worked very hard to have this project come through. Our project theme is all about honouring trees.”

Last Thursday, Trafalgar Elementary hosted an art exhibition to honour the trees around their school. Larpent explains that the museum-style exhibition showcased student artwork surrounded by trees to challenge their “deep thinking” on sustainability issues in the community.

“Our inquiry examined the beautiful qualities of trees as a way of building empathy for these vital living beings,” says Larpent. 

Here is what honouring trees means to the students at Trafalgar Elementary:

“In the past a tree was just a tree and now the colours are more vibrant, and the tree feels magical.” – Grade 6 student 

“Before they were trees giving oxygen but now the texture, the scale and the beauty pop out. Now trees feel alive, like friends.” – Grade 7 student

“I used to overlook trees, now I notice them everywhere and appreciate them more. I feel like each tree is unique and has its own story.” – Grade 6 student

“Maintenant, j’apprécie vraiment plus les artistes qui prennent des photos de la nature et des arbres, c’est difficile.” – Grade 6 student

“J’espère que les visiteurs vont apprécier et apprendre plus au sujet de la valeur des arbres et qu’ils vont commencer à observer les petits détails.” – Grade 7 student 

Larpent says that the art exhibition provided opportunities to have a larger conversation on climate change with the school community in addition to celebrating the incredible artwork by the students. 

Learn more about sustainability initiatives at the Vancouver School District at: vsb.bc.ca/sustainability

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