NAHS spreads awareness about endangered animals

McLean’s National Art Honors Society continued its tradition as more species make the endangered list

McLean National Art Honors Society (NAHS) students used chalk to spread awareness about the growing number of endangered species  across the globe.

“We’ve been doing this for roughly four years,” art and ceramics teacher Christina Caroll said. “All the studio art and design students would be going out there during school.”

The art students used a combination of chalk, pastels, and water to draw the animals outside in an effort to better represent the massive crisis damaging ecosystems and livelihoods around the world.

“[We used] a medium that could be washed away to…symbolize what is literally happening, endangered species [being] washed away,” Carroll said. “We thought that would be a really good way to show what’s happening.”

The pieces, which depicted species like the West Indian Manatee and American Burying Beetle, also included further information about their subjects for students who want to learn more.

“We wrote some statistics on the sidewalk blocks for people to see, so people would know [the scale of these animals’ population decline],” senior Serena Wang said.

The National Art Honor Society (NAHS) raised money for this project through the PTSA, like in years past.

“I wrote a grant to get money from the PTSA to help fund some of the material. They’ve been generously funding us for quite a few years,” Carroll said. “It was definitely a lot more money than I’ve asked for in the past because we have to make it COVID safe. So everybody had to have their own pastels and stuff like that.”

To select which animals would be displayed, some NAHS members looked through a website that listed endangered species.

“We filtered through [the website], just to find out which ones people don’t even recognize are going away,” senior Rylee Schaar said. “For example, even American bumblebees [are] going extinct right now.”

The NAHS hopes to continue the Earth Day drawings in the future, even after current members graduate.

“[We] want to keep this tradition going at our school just to constantly bring your awareness around this time,” Schaar said. “I’m graduating this year, but hopefully the next person can take it on.”

Although McLean High School is close to the Capitol and White House, where many environmental decisions are made, many students still are not conscious of the dangers well-known animals face.

“I think it’s just so easy to just be in your bubble at McLean or in your bubble of life, but then not understand what’s going on. So hopefully, this brings some awareness,” Carroll said.