Some spaces are receptive to people. Others, not. Kayaks open up Galveston’s wetlands, encouraging us to get up close to the landscape. We learn more when we live—not just read about—our subject. Hands-on learning makes lived experiences more real.
A group of Texas City teenagers were recent participants in an Artist Boat Kayak Adventure at Galveston’s new Coastal Heritage Preserve. These advanced art students had been given the trip as a reward for a year of hard work that included several competition entries. Although the wetlands experience would incorporate parts of the art and science curricula for junior high, easygoing and fun are keywords here.
A weekday afternoon in May found the group in the classroom, participating in a workshop led by an Artist Boat educator. Students were introduced to the basics of Gulf Coast geography; to the properties and functions of estuaries and their surrounding wetlands; to scientific measurement and observation techniques, and to some examples of the interdependence of humans and their environment.
Next on the agenda was a review of watercolor techniques. Students experimented with different methods. During the workshop they selected and copied paintings of Gulf Coast plants and animals. The upcoming kayak trip would enable these young scientists and artists to sketch and paint the landscape based on their new knowledge and personal observations.
Soon a dozen teenagers were paddling like veterans. Intrepid art teacher and mentor Ada Martin led the way, along with seasoned Artist Boat personnel, all knowledgeable in art, science, athletics and life skills.
Silence settled over the group as we guided our vessels into a marshy area and prepared to paint. The level of concentration was impressive. This must be what people mean by “flow”, an involvement with the moment so intense that time itself seems to stop. In what felt like minutes, we were packing up our brushes and paints and heading back to dry land.
For more information on Artist Boat Kayak Adventures, visit www.artistboat.com or call 409.770.0722.