CCPS stu­dents cap­ture Mal­lows Bay on can­vas

Pho­tos, sketches and paint­ings of site nom­i­nated as Na­tional Ma­rine Sanc­tu­ary

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

Ap­prox­i­mately 80 Charles County Pub­lic Schools stu­dents dis­em­barked buses Thurs­day at Mal­lows Bay Park. Armed with cam­eras, can­vases and sketch pads, the stu­dents aimed to cap­ture the beauty, seren­ity and his­tory of one of Charles County’s best-kept se­crets.

The project is a co­op­er­a­tive ven­ture be­tween the school sys­tem and Charles County govern­ment to pro­mote Mal- lows Bay, which the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion has nom­i­nated to be­come a des­ig­nated Na­tional Ma­rine Sanc­tu­ary.

“The fact that the com­mis­sion­ers want to have the kids in­volved in this … it’s just a great op­por­tu­nity,” said Ti­mothy Bo­damer, fine and per­form­ing arts spe­cial­ist for CCPS.

Lo­cated near Nan­je­moy in a 14-squaremile area of the tidal Po­tomac River, the site is home to the largest ship grave­yard in the North­ern Hemi­sphere, with the re­mains of ap­prox­i­mately 150 ves­sels. Th­ese in­clude his­toric ves­sels dat­ing back to the Revo­lu­tion­ary War and re­mains of the largest “Ghost Fleet” of the World War I wooden steamships, built for the U.S. Emer­gency Fleet, ac­cord­ing to the NOAA web­site.

“I look out and see the ships, and I won­der, ‘Who was on the ship, was it in a bat­tle?’” Bo­damer said. “It’s a pretty neat place.”

The ship re­mains are now home to osprey, water fowl and other wildlife, in­clud­ing rare threat­ened and en­dan­gered species, ac­cord­ing to the NOAA web­site.

The site also fea­tures wildlife view­ing ar­eas, fish­ing, boat­ing ac­cess and a

hik­ing trail.

NOAA is cur­rently com­plet­ing an en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact study, the next step in the des­ig­na­tion process.

“We’re very ex­cited about the ma­rine sanc­tu­ary des­ig­na­tion that’s likely to come for Mal­lows Bay and it’s some­thing that I think should be cel­e­brated by all our cit­i­zens, and I thought, what bet­ter way than get­ting our stu­dents to in­ter­pret the ‘Ghost Fleet’ of Mal­lows Bay and put it on can­vas?” said Charles County Com- mis­sioner Ken Robin­son (D). “We have a lot of tal- ent here in Charles Coun- ty, and so ul­ti­mately we’ll have a lot of works of art, and when Mal­lows Bay re­ceives its Ma­rine Sanc- tu­ary des­ig­na­tion, we’ll be work­ing with the fed­eral govern­ment to build a vis- itors’ cen­ter, and I hope a good chunk of th­ese paint- ings will be hang­ing there for­ever.”

Art teach­ers from each of the seven high schools and the Robert D. Stet- hem Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter brought 10 stu­dents each to the site to work on the project.

“This is the first time in my … 16 years here that we’ve had ev­ery high school rep­re­sented like this do­ing art­work, so it’s kind of fun,” Bo­damer said.

Vicki Mar­ckel, art teach- er at Henry E. Lackey High School, part­nered with county govern­ment to host a “Paint In” of the Gov. Harry W. Nice Me- mo­rial Bridge in April for her stu­dents. She said she wanted to de­velop a project that would be open to more stu­dents.

“We wanted to do some- thing we could ex­pand to in­clude stu­dents from all of the high schools,” Mar­ckel said.

Once com­pleted, stu- dents’ art­work will be dis­played at the Charles County Govern­ment Build­ing in La Plata and show­cased in a gallery dur­ing the World War I Mal­lows Bay com­mem­o­ra­tive event sched­uled for April 21, 2017, at the Col- lege of South­ern Mary- land La Plata cam­pus.

“I’d like to have pho­tog- ra­phy, draw­ing and paint- ing, all rep­re­sented,” Bo­damer said.

Bo­damer said the project would give stu­dents a chance to get out and cre­ate in a nat­u­ral and his­tor­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment with which they may not be fa­mil­iar.

“Also, just to be able to get dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives or van­tage points of some­thing that’s purely his­tor­i­cal,” Bo­damer said. “A lot of them prob­a­bly didn’t know this ex­isted, a lot of adults don’t even know this place ex­ists.”

Ma­cayla Wil­liams, a se- nior from Henry E. Lack- ey High School, worked on a paint­ing of the bay.

“To ac­tu­ally be here, and feel the mood, it’s like be­ing a part of na­ture. It’s calm, when you can paint the ac­tual area and look around, hear the sounds, you re­ally get the feel of it,” Wil­liams said.

Sarah By­loun, a ju­nior from St. Charles High School, took pho­to­graphs from a pier. She said the best part of the project was “be­ing able to ex­plore dif­fer­ent land­scapes to take pic­tures of things like that, to ex­plore dif­fer­ent ideas.”

John Javier, a ju­nior from La Plata High School, worked on a paint­ing by the pier.

“It’s re­ally re­fresh­ing to get out­side, it feels ... cool. It’s serene. There are paths all around here, and it feels a lot dif­fer­ent from walk­ing out­side [at the school],” Javier said.

Tr­isha Nor wood, a sopho­more from North Point High School, worked on a sketch of the bay.

“You get to see the dif­fer­ent types of land­scapes, and you get to see a bit of his­tory with all the ships,” Nor­wood said.

STAFF PHOTO BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

Charles County Pub­lic Schools stu­dents paint pic­tures of Mal­lows Bay as part of a co­op­er­a­tive art project with Charles County govern­ment and NOAA.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

Katie Rahill, a se­nior at West­lake High School, takes a pic­ture of a wrecked ship in Mal­lows Bay as part of a co­op­er­a­tive art project with Charles County govern­ment and NOAA.

Sarah By­loun, a ju­nior at St. Charles High School, takes a pic­ture on a dock at Mal­lows Bay while St. Charles sopho­more Tay­lor Phillips sketches the scene as part of a co­op­er­a­tive art project with Charles County govern­ment and NOAA.

La Plata High School ju­nior John Javier paints a scene at Mal­lows Bay as part of a co­op­er­a­tive art project with Charles County govern­ment and NOAA.

Henry E. Lackey art teacher Vicki Mar­ckel, right, pro­vides shad­ow­ing tips to se­nior Chic­chi Igwe while she paints a pic­ture of Mal­lows Bay as part of a co­op­er­a­tive art project with Charles County govern­ment and NOAA.

Ma­cayla Wil­liams, a se­nior at Henry E. Lackey High School, paints a scene at Mal­lows Bay, as part of a co­op­er­a­tive art project with Charles County govern­ment and NOAA.

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