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River Mill Elementary students collaborate on art project

ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Students at River Mill Elementary and principal Jennifer Behrman stand in front of a new mural in the schools gym. The mural was created by students last year and unveiled at an assembly on Friday, Sept. 2.

The River Mill Elementary School Gym is now home to a variety of furry and fishy friends.

During the 2015-16 school year, students created a mural depicting life in nature, and the completed project was unveiled at an assembly on Friday, Sept. 2.

The mural tells a story about how life in the forest is interconnected. Visual elements of the mural include a log that provides nutrients for plants and a variety of animals, and a river that is home to many other creatures. Animals featured in the mural include salmon, salamanders and squirrels.

Students worked with Sarah Ferguson, an artist from the Right Brain Initiative, to create the mural. The project features many different mediums, including clay, painted paper collage, hand painted wood scraps and tile mosaic.

Each class at River Mill contributed to the project. Kindergarteners created the mural’s logs from hand-painted pieces of wood. Other classes created animals out of clay; one depicted adult and juvenile animals, while another depicted the different stages of a salmon life cycle.

Students said they enjoyed the project because it combined art and science.

“It was fun to make the different stages (of the salmon life cycle), and learn more about fish,” said Jonathan Shenck.

Jennifer Behrman, principal of River Mill Elementary, enjoyed seeing everyone collaborate on the project.

“It really brought the student body together,” she said.