Collage of art and falls

Kakabeka Falls inspires student art

Big thanks to the students of Valley Central Public School, especially Sara Miller (grade 7) and Trenten Scott (grade 8), for writing this post about their recent trip to Kakabeka Falls.

In September, students from the Valley Central School Learning Academies visited Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park for some outdoor learning.

The main intention of the trip was to plant trees in case the Emerald Ash Borer spreads into their forests. However the students also took the time to sketch landscapes, rock formations, trees, and — of course — the beautiful falls themselves.

Artistic impressions

Tree sketch
Trees by Trenton Scott, Grade 7

“It was quite interesting. I felt at peace with myself and the environment.

“I heard the falls in the distance.

“It was chilly, but not freezing, just enough to sort of nip at your nose.

“I saw the forest around me, birds chirping.

“It was windy, though, too, so the leaves were rustling.

“I think people should try it. I loved it.”

— Trenten, Grade 8

Bird sketch
Chickadee on a Branch by Sara Miller, Grade 7

“When you’re told to look at your surroundings and develop a drawing from it, you see details you didn’t see before.

“I’m an artist, normally, but I don’t draw anything realistic at all. I saw so many amazing things I didn’t know where to start.

“I had so much trouble my friend finally just said, ‘just sketch that tree over there.’  So, I did, and had a heck of a time doing it. I even put a chickadee in the tree as one happened to land on a branch.

“I definitely enjoyed this experience. I would totally do it again.”

— Sara, Grade 7

We both definitely recommend doing this wonderful exercise. You don’t even have to sketch the waterfalls; your backyard is even good enough.

Step into nature. Bring a sketchbook, a pencil, and an eraser, but remember to also leave lots of time. It’s easy to get lost for a couple of hours as you focus on the beauty of the nature surrounding you.

Sketching nature memories

When we returned to school we were asked to connect our drawings to the Group of Seven which we had been studying.

Clay mock up of waterfalls
Kakabeka Falls in Clay by Matthew Dahl, Grade 7

We were then encouraged to use our sketches from the park as a guide to create more art using a different medium. Some of us chose paint, others chose to continue with pencil drawings and some even created 3D art with clay.

Two students sketch on the grass and table
Students sketching at the park.

This was challenging but having had the opportunity to experience the landscape and taken the time to notice the small details helped us with the details in our artwork back in the school.

We look forward to having the opportunity to return to the park for more artistic opportunities.

We are trying to convince our teachers to let us create with paint while at the park…and maybe even participate in some photography!

Valley Central Public School’s Grade 7 and 8 students are part of a new and exciting learning opportunity this year called Learning Academies.  Learning Academies are designed to engage students in community connected experiential learning opportunities and are focused on Community Sustainability (Exploring our Natural and Built Environment) and Fine Arts. 

As students, we are engaged in documenting our learning through e-portfolios, blogs, and social media as we learn to become responsible digital citizens and 21st-century learners.