ECFE Nature Explore Gateway
Public art pieces lead students and visitors into the NEC. Four life-size leaping deer with ‘skin’ made of regional animal and plant shapes are placed along the adjoining school building with a fifth deer reclined inside the gate to welcome one and all. Guided by staff, parents and the community, a local artist designed a beautiful motif arched entryway feature. Great Blue Heron parents and chicks welcome all to enter. Original signage from the school has also been included.
Once inside, students may explore a life-size tipi, buffalo hide and Native American story books; items donated by the district’s American Indian Education program. An enormous “tree cookie” provides a sense of history and demonstrates the effects of time and natural forces on living things. A life-size replica of a bald eagle’s nest was built on a deck and adorned with sticks similar to what an eagle pair would use to build their nest. To tell the story of the eagle’s nest, a children’s book has been mounted on a small podium at preschooler level. Sticks are available for students/visitors to add and interpretive signage shows what eagles eat and how to find the nearby Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge with its many eagles, abundant wildlife, and pre-settlement habitats and vegetation.
ISD 728 Early Childhood Education
Artist: Sue Seeger
Location: 1170 Main Street, Elk River