BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
MONTROSE – A drive by the Lee County Conservation District offices at Heron Bend shows some nifty art decorating all the windows facing the highway.
It’s not vandalism, it’s actually volunteerism.
Area youth, under the direction of the Lee County Leadership Group, painted conservation themes on the conservation district building’s west side windows.
And the really neat part is the conservation district staff can still see out their windows.
Elementary students from the county were encouraged to submit artwork with a conservation theme to the Leadership Group. The group selected seven winners who had their artwork converted to a special vinyl material.
The vinyl used for the drawing surfaces only shows the artwork from one side of the window. Lee County Conservation District Director Nathan Unsworth, said he was excited the project was chosen by the leadership group.
“Lee County Conservation was really excited to hear this project was chosen by the leadership group,” Unsworth said Wednesday.
“The project was a fun way to engage children and encourage them to think about the environment in a new way. We try to connect people to the outdoors through various types of programming, and this was just another idea to help foster that connection to the outdoors.”
Members of the Leadership Group that helped organize and produce the project were: Katie Wells – Fort Madison Community Hospital; Ashley Thomas – Great River Health System; Amanda Shaw – First Community Bank; Ryan Krebill – Conagra Brands. Inc; Tom Wills – Keokuk Municipal Waterworks; and Becca Crew – Advance Home Health.
Wells said it was the group’s hope that the project would attract attention to the building and help bring people in to learn more about the LCCD programming. But she added working with the children brought a smile to her face.
“It was really fun to be a part of this project. The engagement of the youth was really what made this project so worthwhile,” she said.
“Seeing the faces of the children when they were announced as winners and their art work was unveiled was very rewarding to our Leadership group. The art work really improves the appearance of the building, our hope is that it attracts more community members to stop in and learn about programming they offer.”
Unsworth said he’s had a great reception from people who’ve seen the work.
“The response has been great, so far. Everyone is very impressed with the student’s artwork and how it looks on the Conservation Center,” he said.
“This project is a trial run. We are not sure how long the coloring will hold up on the vinyl window covering as they will be subjected to intense sun light. However, it could be something that we turn into an ongoing project with the artwork getting replaced every year or so. “
The project was funded by the Three Rivers Conservation Foundation and Lee County Conservation.
Student winners included: Lily Smith, Central Lee 5th Grade (Fish Picture); Hunter Snyder, Central Lee 2nd Grade (Fox Picture); Grady Crew, Central Lee Kindergarten (Flower Picture), Ellie Hellman, Holy Trinity 4th Grade (Goldfinch); Jack Benner, Central Lee 4th Grade (Deer Picture); Malani Roach, Holy Trinity 1st grade (Butterfly Picture); and Jaliann Hawk, Central Lee 3rd Grade (Water Scene Picture).