Western Toad sign created with illustrations by Redfish Elementary School students.

Western Toad sign created with illustrations by Redfish Elementary School students.

Redfish Elementary create signs for Harrop wetlands

The large interpretive signs have been placed in the restored Harrop wetlands and were unveiled to the students today.

Four large interpretive signs created by students at the Redfish Elementary School were unveiled in the newly restored Harrop wetlands today. Western toads, painted turtles, Great Blue heron and the spotted skimmer dragonfly are the subjects of the large metal signs, which measure four feet by four feet.

Kindergarten to Grade five students researched, designed, and produced the informative creations specifically for Sunshine Bay Regional Park.

A student from Redfish Elementary School drawing a painted turtle from an iPad image.

Principal Janene Stein said the students began the project last year, learning skills in drawing and watercolour, graphic design, combined with science and social studies. With funding from Art Start, watercolour teacher Heather Dean worked with students teaching them how to move from drawing the animals to painting with watercolours. Carolyn Beck of Beck Designs taught students about graphic design while Sarah Heard worked with them on the wording for the sign message.

The signs are mounted on long metal stakes but before they could be installed, the reservoir levels had to go down. The dragonfly and heron signs will actually be partially submerged as the reservoir levels deepen throughout the year.

Stein said she and the staff are excited to see the kids reaction as the students have yet to see the competed signs.

Stein said Beck expanded and contracted the size of the children’s drawings.

“They way Carolyne put their drawings around the edges of the sign is beautiful,” said Stein.

The signs are one piece of a year long community project to restore one of the few remaining wetland areas on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake. The project restored three existing wetland ponds, built a snake hibernaculum, nesting habitat for painted turtles, and planted native trees and shrubs. The $35,800 project is meant to improve habitat for provincially blue-listed species like the Western toad, Great Blue heron, and painted turtle.