2015-07-24 / Front Page

Marsh teems with science and art

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


Sarah Jessen, above, of Cape Elizabeth, follows her children Lily and Sam during a short nature walk at Scarborough Marsh Thursday, July 16. The Jessens were at the marsh to take part in Nature Pottery, one of the Scarborough Audubon Center’s educational offerings this summer. Left, Carina Stack, 5, of Portland, works to create a vase during a nature pottery event at Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center last week. Stack planned on giving her creation to her grandfather. (Michael Kelley photos) Sarah Jessen, above, of Cape Elizabeth, follows her children Lily and Sam during a short nature walk at Scarborough Marsh Thursday, July 16. The Jessens were at the marsh to take part in Nature Pottery, one of the Scarborough Audubon Center’s educational offerings this summer. Left, Carina Stack, 5, of Portland, works to create a vase during a nature pottery event at Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center last week. Stack planned on giving her creation to her grandfather. (Michael Kelley photos) Educating the public about the life in and around Scarborough Marsh is both an art and a science for educators at the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center.

Throughout the summer, the nature center, which has been located on Pine Point Road for more than 40 years, holds a variety of children’s programming, many of them aimed at getting artistic inspiration from the environs of the marsh.

A group of young artists from the greater Portland area had a chance to do just that last week when the nature center hosted Nature Pottery.

“It’s about going out and using the marsh to create something beautiful,” said Sydney Randall, the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center environmental education intern who led the program. “(We want) to show how nature can be utilized to create art.”

After a short walk along the trail that runs parallel to Pine Point Road, the children took the leaves, grass, feathers and other items they collected to create pinch pots out of self-hardening clay.

It was the first time Lily and Sam Jessen of Cape Elizabeth, who came with their mother, Sarah, had been to the nature center this summer.

“We wanted to come because we like to use a lot of the outdoor recreation opportunities in our local area, especially in the summer, where there is a lot of programming available,” Sarah Jessen said. The Jessens visited the marsh last year for a talk about bats.

For Chris Stack of Portland, Nature Pottery seemed like a good way for her and her 5-year-old daughter, Carina to spent part of a morning.

“I saw this and I thought it would be a lot of fun,” Chris Stack said as her daughter worked hard creating a “vase to put flowers in” for her grandfather. As Carina created her work of art, Lily, who turns 7 soon and Sam, 5, were hard at work across the table putting the final touches on their creations, a floweradorned clay bird’s nest by Sam and a “table decoration” by Lily.

Nature Pottery, which will be repeated Thursday, Aug. 27, is but one of the artinspired programs at the nature center this summer.

“We try to hit all of the different mediums,” said Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center Director Linda Woodard. “Art is definitely something we like to do. We are trying to get the children a little familiar with the marsh while creating art.”

Randall, an environmental studies major at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, will also lead Nature Art, a similar program in which children explore the marsh before participating in a marsh-inspired craft, on Tuesday, Aug. 4 and Tuesday, Aug. 18.

Children will also be able to do an art project based on the plants and animals of the marsh through the center’s ongoing afternoon nature series for children 5 and older.

The program on Thursday, July 30 will be focused on “Fabulous Fun Fish.” On Thursday, Aug. 6, the focus will be “Fantastic Flying Friends. The series will wrap up Thursday, Aug. 13 with “Bats and Bugs.”

Before those children’s programs, on Monday, July 27 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., the center will host Sketching by Canoe, a guided canoe tour that, according to the center’s program brochure, will “give artists a unique opportunity to practice nature sketching.”

Aside from arts and crafts for children, the center also offers daily canoe and kayak rentals, group tours, both from land and water, as well as weekly birding trips, family nature walks and special adult programming.

“We are really open to doing any program. People can call us up and suggest something. We do programs all spring with schools, so there is a variety of things we can do,” Woodard said.

Despite all the other offerings, exploring the marsh by kayak or canoe remains the most popular.

“People come by and ask about canoeing, but it so much more. We have so much for kids to do,” she said.

The center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day through Labor Day weekend.

Return to top