Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Murals help walls teach at Springs Coast Environmental Education Center

Christine Weeks adds a fine line to her painting. She’s creating a mural at the Springs Coast Environmental Education Center on the Weeki Wachee River.

Photo by PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE

Christine Weeks adds a fine line to her painting. She’s creating a mural at the Springs Coast Environmental Education Center on the Weeki Wachee River.

WEEKI WACHEE

The mural sweeps around the corner, across the expanse of the classroom wall, before turning the opposite corner and ending. It tells a story that is appropriate for a room used to inspire children who visit the Springs Coast Environmental Education Center. The artist, Christine Weeks, 43, divides her talent among businesses, schools and organizations. She does portraits and teaches part time at Chocachatti Elementary in the microsociety painting class.

It was at Chocachatti where Weeks met Cheryl Paradis, the education center's teacher. Situated in bear habitat, Paradis requested a mural for one of the center's classrooms to depict the area's wildlife.

"About a year later she had me do the water conservation room," Weeks said. The theme of the work is the five E's of science, plus one. Paradis added "excite" to "explore," "extend," "explain," "examine" and "expand," Weeks said, "because she definitely excites the kids."

Weeks depicted "explore" as tracks along the wall, "extend" as the life cycle of a caterpillar, "explain" as a pictorial description of the water cycle, "examine" as a worm under a microscope and "expand" as the food chain with predators and prey.

"It took about five hours staring at the wall just to know where to sketch things," Weeks said. She concentrates so hard, she said, "I've been known to step in my paint."

Paradis keeps asking Weeks back because she sees the value in the colorful, educational walls. "They're a great teaching tool. They're very attractive. They actually draw students' attention and they start to ask questions," she said. "It builds on curiosity."

Although Weeks does the artwork, Paradis determines what the walls should teach. "She puts a lot of thought and effort into the design," Weeks said. "She just has a great ability."

Amber Addario was a volunteer at the center assisting Paradis during the time Weeks was there painting. She looked at the walls and said, "I think it makes a child who might not ask a question, ask a question, definitely."

Murals help walls teach at Springs Coast Environmental Education Center 04/13/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 4:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick and Tom podcast: How should Joe Maddon be remembered tonight?

    The Heater

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones talk about Joe Maddon's return to Tropicana Field for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014 in the latest edition of our Rick and Tom podcast. They discuss the mixed emotions …

    Joe Maddon returns to Tropicana Field tonight for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014. [Getty Images]
  2. Watch live: President Trump's speech to the U.N. General Assembly

    World

    UNITED NATIONS — U.S. President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron are expected to take the spotlight at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations — but it's the tough global challenges from the nuclear threat in North Korea and the plight of Myanmar's minority Muslims to the …

    President Donald Trump shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron during a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in New York. [Associated Press]
  3. Police seek suspect in attack on elderly woman in St. Petersburg (w/video)

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Police are seeking the public's help in finding a woman they say violently attacked a 69-year-old woman earlier this month.

  4. Photo of the Day for September 19, 2017 - Great Egret with green mating coloration

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Barbara Motter of Weeki Wachee, FL.

  5. 20 local museums are offering free admission or deals Saturday for Free Museum Day

    Visual Arts

    For all the community's support of the arts in the bay area, it's nice to be rewarded with free admission once in a while. And that's exactly what many area museums are offering on Saturday.

    The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg is among the museums participating in the Smithsonian's Museum Day Live, offering free admission. (LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times)