Art classes draw chalk animals for Earth Day

Project aims to bring awareness to endangered species

Freshman Katherine Walker draws a sea turtle to bring awareness to endangered species. Art students drew dozens of chalk animals at the rock entrance of McLean. (Photo by Maren Kranking)

Art students brought color to McLean’s rock entrance on April 26 as they drew dozens of animals on the ground with chalk. The project was meant to call attention to the importance of conservation in the wake of Earth Day.

The goal was to create an evolving work of art that transformed metaphorically to represent the fragility of animals, insects and marine life around the world that are at risk, vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered.  We wanted the students’ chalk drawings to be impacted by people walking over them and the natural effects of weather to simulate what is happening to these creatures,” art teacher Christina Carroll said.

The washing away of the chalk was meant to represent the disappearance of these endangered species.

“The idea behind doing chalk was that as people walk by and stuff, it will slowly kind of get rubbed off and disappear, kind of like how it will be in the wild,” sophomore art student Ellie Kreeb said.

Some students weren’t sure what to expect when they began the project. While drawing a gila monster, junior Connor Moriarty expressed doubt that the project could really effect change.

“Sadly…this is the secondary entrance to the school. [The drawings] will have an impact, though I don’t think the majority of kids will see them,” Moriarty said.

However, once the animals were completed, they got a lot of attention from students, and the project was deemed a success.

I felt the project turned out way beyond our expectations,” Carroll said. “The students really enjoyed working and drawing outside. We got a lot of positive feedback from the school community. We saw so many students and parents take the time to look at the drawings and take photos of them.”

For some students, it was difficult to watch their artwork disappear.

The washing the drawings away was hard to see for many of the artists but like the subject matter in itself is upsetting,” Carroll said.

Ultimately, though, the project did achieve its goal.

Our hope was to get students to stop, observe and care about what is happening to the environment around the world. To get involved not just walk by and ignore. To see beyond our walls,” Carroll said.

Carroll thanked the PTSA and Elizabeth Ende for funding and initiating the project.