Painting shines light on endangered whale
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 5:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 5:28 p.m.
The children's eyes widened when they saw the large bright painting of a whale as they ambled into the classroom.
Stella the North Atlantic right whale's baleen smile greeted elementary school students at the Millhopper Montessori School, where children in pre-k through second grade learned about the plight of the endangered species of whale.
Famous ocean life muralist Robert Wyland painted Stella and students in Key Largo helped surround the whale with red seahorses, green jellyfish and other colorful sea creatures.
The painting is on a tour promoting awareness that has spanned from the Keys up to North Florida, where it will end at the Right Whale Festival in Jacksonville on Saturday.
Trish Petty, art teacher at Millhopper, said the art-based approach would serve the students better.
"I think it's the best way to get to the kids," she said. "It makes it real."
Organizers presented a slideshow with information about the endangered right whale. Laced into the presentation were lessons about setting goals related to the whale's migration to feeding ground in the North Atlantic and having a good diet, which presenters related to the whale's diet of small sea animals.
Jennifer McGee, an assistant research scientist at the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine, said she enjoyed talking to the children.
"They asked a lot of good questions," she said.
Students asked everything from how big the whale gets to how close can researchers get to the large mammals.
The event was sponsored by the Wyland Foundation, Florida Blue and the Protect Florida Whales License Plate.
Contact Joey Flechas at 338-3166 and email@example.com.
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