The creation of these images and this short audio conversation took place during one of Ms. Siena Sanderson’s* 50-minute, weekly art classes with third-graders, in September, 2014 at Arroyos del Norte Elementary School. (For those of you not from the area, the school is located between the communities of Arroyo Seco and Arroyo Hondo, outlying communities around the Town of Taos, New Mexico.) Most of these kids live in the shadow of the Wheeler Peak and Columbine Hondo Wilderness Areas at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in northern New Mexico.
After lunch, the class took to the outdoors with pencils and paper in hand, to walk the nature trail loop on the school property. Halfway through the walk, the class settled under a small grove of shady juniper trees and got out their drawing supplies to capture some of their ideas about wilderness on paper, while we discussed the topic and I recorded some of their thoughts. What you find here is the result.
*Special thanks to art teacher, Siena Sanderson for the inspiration and generosity in facilitating this encounter and for her boundless creativity and commitment to serving youth in Taos County and beyond.