'A mural for preservation'

"As you walk along the Clear Creek Trail and observe its beauty, it is easy to overlook the diverse functions of the wetland ecosystem which purifies the water, prevents flood damage and is habitat for hundreds of unique creatures.To encourage visitors to take a second look at the complexities and importance of the Clear Creek wetlands, a group of advanced placement art students and recent alumni from Olympic High School are painting murals which will be displayed in the Clear Creek/Sa'qad Interpretive Center.Clear Creek is in the center of the greatest commercial development in the county - this is a mural for its preservation. We hope the community will take responsibility for keeping it alive, said Megan Kattwig, a senior at Olympic and one of about a dozen students who volunteered about 16 hours this summer to paint the murals.People walk along the trail and come in to watch us work - they're impressed that students are working this late in the summer, said Lorinne Lee, the students' art teacher at Olympic.Students worked on two murals, and a third will be completed in December by Lee's art students. The first two paintings are sectioned into thirds: The top third is a landscape copied from digital photos taken along the creek, and the bottom two portray underwater scenes. The middle section shows examples of the fish which populate the stream, and the bottom shows the insects that make their home in the water.The two murals illustrate different ecosystems within the wetland. One shows a clear, bubbling creek and the other a murky stream with more aquatic plants. Students researched the insects most commonly found in the creek - mayflies, water pennies, spiny crawlers and others - and painted them on the mural.It gave us a chance to show what we can do, to show what art students can accomplish and give back to the community, said Jamie Santillan, a first-year student at the Northwest College of Art in Poulsbo and a 2001 Olympic graduate.The third mural will be a more detailed portrayal of how the wetlands function, Lee said.Eventually, Lee said he wants to make the project interactive, with copies of the the mural posted on a Web site. A Web surfer could click on the insects or fish and link to sites with descriptions of their habitat, behavior and life cycles. There even could be links to video clips of the species in their native habitat.Lee received a Gates Technology Grant, which will enable her students to work on the Web page during the school year.The mural project was funded through a $1,000 grant from the Kitsap Community Foundation. Coreen Johnson, administrator of the Clear Creek Task force, wrote the grant.Our vision (for the interpretive center) is to tell the story of the Clear Creek Valley - to look at the people, the creatures and the plants, Johnson said.She said the center soon will house a computer that will include the interactive mural site. "

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