Students paint environmental watercolors for cause

Turtle Watch notecards
Fifth graders at Anna Maria Elementary spend some time in the library creating watercolor artwork to be used on notecards and to decorate signs for Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring’s dune project. - Kristin Swain | Sun

HOLMES BEACH – Anna Maria Elementary School students are picking up their paint brushes to help support a nonprofit and protect the local environment.

In conjunction with Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, students spent a few days with Executive Director Suzi Fox and artist Lucinda Hathaway working on original notecard-sized watercolor paintings.

amitw ame notecards
Students in Mrs. Constanzo’s fifth grade class work on designs for their watercolor artwork. – Kristin Swain | Sun

Once completed, several of the paintings will be selected as notecards to be sold at the school, benefiting Turtle Watch. Designs that are not chosen as notecards will be used to decorate dune information signs to be placed on beaches around the Island.

Hathaway, an artist and instructor from Longboat Key, did a detailed demonstration for students before guiding them through developing and painting their own creations. Watercolor paintings feature local wildlife including sea turtles and the Island’s several species of shorebirds.

Turtle Watch notecards
Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring Executive Director Suzi Fox shows off her sea turtle artwork. – Kristin Swain | Sun

While funding for the notecard project is already set by Turtle Watch, Fox said the nonprofit is still seeking funding for the dune sign project. She said that while Manatee County has approved the project to replace the standardized signs located near some Island dunes, no government funding is currently approved for the project. As funding is found, Fox said new signs outlining the “dos and don’ts” of interacting with dunes featuring the student artwork will be printed to replace the outdated signs.

“All of these cards are winners,” Fox said.

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