We Are Nature - Outdoor Art Reflection

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Have you ever noticed how the branching vein pattern seen in a leaf is very similar to how our arteries branch into ever smaller arterioles and capillaries? Or have you ever noticed how embryonic images of humans and many other animals are very similar up to a certain stage in development?

Well in Beyond Recycling’s We Are Nature lesson, we reflect on these similarities to conclude that we, as humans, are nature. We grow, reproduce, produce waste, react to stimuli, and share many common ancestors with other plants and animals.

As this is the final lesson of Beyond Recycling, students in Ms. Caswell’s Grade 6/7 class from Laird, spent the lesson outside, engaged in a reflective art assignment that progressed through many layers.

First, students were tasked with finding a little piece of nature and glueing it to their paper. As they weren’t sure what the next instructions were, the selection of the natural object and the placement on the paper were quite random.


Secondly, students were asked to use both crayons and watercolour paints to now make a self portrait that integrated that natural object. Thus grass turned into bed head hair, a piece of bark turned into hockey pants, a leaf turned into a warrior’s shield and so on.

Lastly, students were asked to write a short reflection about how their artwork and natural object illustrated their connection to nature, how they were nature ultimately.

To conclude, students placed all of their artwork pieces in a line and then did a short gallery walk. They were able to see how although everyone had received the same instructions, a great diversity of portraits emerged. This reflects the living world around us – “our similarities bring us to a common ground; our differences allow us to be fascinated by each other” ~ Tom Robbins


A big thanks to the students and staff at JA Laird for a wonderful year of learning about how we can all go beyond recycling when we consider our connections, impacts, and actions.