Friends of Cortes Island’s Great Blue Heron project celebrates, raises awareness about, and engages the Cortes community in the monitoring of this beautiful, iconic and threatened coastal bird. This project has two parts, Great Blue Herons Come to School and the Great Blue Heron Watch.
Although commonly seen on Cortes, heron numbers are in fact declining in BC as a result of predation, human disturbance and habitat loss. So much so, that they are now listed as a species of special concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Species (COSEWIC).
Here on the walls, this fascinating and iconic creature has come to life through the eyes, hands, and hearts of each student at the Cortes Island School.
With the intent to use the visual arts to express the many aspects of the Pacific Great Blue Heron, the creative process to do so unfolded over six weeks and included discussions and skill-building activities. Students scrutinized heron’s long legs and beak, its habitat, food and feathers, and of course, took a good look at why they are at risk on Cortes Island. There was much enthusiasm about sightings: in my backyard in a tree, standing on one leg on a rock in Smelt Bay, flying.
And now, heron has landed here! On canvas and paper, in paint, with mixed media and assemblage. Is the Great Blue Heron at risk of disappearing? Perhaps. But with inspiration from our children, we can become more aware of this magnificent creature and take steps to ensure we might still catch glimpses of it in the future.
Curated by Jane Newman & Cortes Island Kindergarten to Grade 9 students.
Pictures by Laura Balducci.
We gratefully acknowledge the Campbell River Community Foundation for their financial support of this project.