The latest Jr.NS adventure was a visit to Colonel Samuel Smith Park to sketch birds! Mallard ducks abound at this wetland and the young artists learned how to gesture draw them - not an easy task since the ducks never hold still!
To provide insights into other species of birds living in this ecosystem, we were joined by Monika Croydon from the Toronto Ornithological Club. Monika gives bird talks at the branches of the library and spends all of her free time birding around the city.
After spending most of the class observing waterfowl and rapidly sketching them, we slowed down to focus on details, more specifically, bird feathers. I showed the kids an actual Northern Flicker wing (borrowed from museum) and a home made model of a wing bone so that I could explain basic wing anatomy and the relationship between all the different groups of feathers.
Following this lesson, a selection of feathers was available from which every child could choose one to draw. Time ran out and I was unable to take close up photos of their superb feather sketches, I’ll be sure to do that at our next class.
One notable moment happened on the platform which overlooks the main pond. The floor of the platform consists of open metal grating where small things can easily slip through, so I suggested to the kids that they hold on tight to their pencils. No sooner had I finished speaking those words, I turned to see a little boy unzipping his pencil case and watched as one by one his pencils rolled out and through the openings in the grating! The same thing happened with another child, and luckily for me, the water was low so I was able to climb down under the platform and retrieve their art supplies. While below I came across some abandoned fishing gear which I brought up to show the kids and talk about how carelessly discarded items like fishing line can injure wildlife. A good teaching moment like that was worth the trip beneath the mucky platform!
Many thanks to Monika Croydon and volunteer Jessica Krecklo Naidu for coming out to watch birds with the Jr.NS artists!
Happy Nature Sketching!