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A New Perspective

Thursday, December 20, 2018

student stands in from of mural

Hunter Havens shows mural of Crossett Lake

If you walk into the Environmental Conservation and Forestry classroom at the Southern Adirondack Education Center you may feel like you are in a different place. Just look over to the corner of the room and be transported to Crossett Lake in Fort Ann. Hunter Havens, a senior from Hudson Falls High School and a student in the program, recently adorned the walls of the classroom with a landscape mural of the land lab where students get field experience.

Each week conservation students go out to Crossett Lake in Fort Ann to get hands on experience in their program. Havens has put a new spin on the traditional. While working on the curriculum at the land lab, he took photos and did studies of the landscape to create the mural in the classroom.

Instructor, Sherri Slater mentioned the idea of doing a mural and Havens jumped at the chance.

“It has been an opportunity to combine my love of landscape painting with conservation,” says Havens.

Havens created the painting digitally then painted it free-hand on the wall. It was actually his first foray into painting. The process took about six weeks and was done when time allowed.

“What I want people to take from this is natural beauty, yet still movement. The outlet is one of the main things we were working on at the lab. We were asked to create a picturesque lookout. That involved felling trees around the beach.”

Haven’s digital work inspired the project. He has a road trip series that he created.  “I am passionate about the United States and its national parks system.

Showing subjects such as Colorado, Big Bear California, New Orleans, and Oregon, he says, “Google Earth is my friend when it comes to references.”

Applying skills learned in the program, Havens is using art for conservation. He says that tree identification, learning how to do a proper tree anatomy, and getting to know different wildlife species have changed his perspective.

Feedback on the mural so far has been positive. As to future projects, Havens hopes to create a mural of the Washington County Grasslands which is another land lab that the class goes to.

Liz Berg, a junior at South Glens Falls High School who is also in the program, takes drawing classes and paints for fun. She gave Havens ideas about brush stroke techniques and shading. Faith Alheim of Greenwich CSD offered advice on color choice and color mixing.

Havens, Berg and Alheim hope to inspire future students. “When tenth graders come to our class for tours, we hope they see the mural and want to join the program,” says Berg.

Havens plans to work after graduation and pursue his art. Goes to show how CTE can provide many different pathways.

closeup of mural

Close up of the mural.

2 students looking at tablet of work.

Havens and Berg showing some digital works.

student shows his mural

"Crossett Lake Corner"