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Exploring Salmon Habitat Features in 4th Grade

During the fall and winter of 2021 to 2022, fourth graders focused on salmon habitat. In the classroom, they practiced drawing and observing the major conifers found in the riparian zone of healthy salmon streams: yán or Western Hemlock, shéiyi or Sitka Spruce, and x̱áay, Yellow Cedar. Then, during a freezing cold field trip, they identified these trees on site and learned about their essential shapes. 

Over the next months, teachers Mark Browning and Cassia Coutlee taught them the fundamentals of healthy salmon stream structure. Meanwhile, the art lessons focused on using water soluble crayons to draw salmon streams as landscapes. We practiced how to identify simple shapes in a photo and how to transfer the shapes to the paper, using size and texture to show what is near and what is far. Finally, we learned about primary and secondary colors and how to mix them to create the muted tones of nature, both close up and in the distance.

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