Monday, July 11, 2011

Family Fun Day!

Best in show!

I got to participate in a spiffy annual gig here in Acadia National Park: "Family Fun Day" is a joint effort hosted by the Park and volunteers from Friends of Acadia, along with a bunch of other related agencies and groups. The weather was absolutely perfect, so attendance was great (approximately 500 people) and you can't go wrong with complementary hotdogs.
(More pics below the fold)

Busy beavers...

It's a free to the public, one-day, field-trip type of event geared towards getting kids more connected with Acadia. Activities ranged from horseback riding, hiking, fire & rescue, face-painting, biking, astronomy, birdwatching, wagon-rides and more. And of course, sitting on one's butt (with all apologies to First Lady Michelle Obama's recent efforts) drawing silly pictures of animals, which is in my humble opinion the most fabulous resource available at this or any National Park. Besides hotdogs.

...nobody chewed on their pencil either.

Once again I was really impressed at the talent and skill some of these folks had. There were a few different options for interested parties an my station: they could either draw a "realistic" sketch from the model, or draw a cartoon version using any number of examples that I had on display. Most of the time I spent sitting right next to kids, helping them by showing how I do it step-by-step and in that way they could follow along. Ones that weren't that confident or really young used one of the samples to simply trace over. Paper was provided, along with pencils (#2's + colored pencils for the more industrious and advanced) and Sharpies. And did I mention there were hotdogs?

What I aimed to accomplish was planting a seed of curiosity and inspiring kids to bridge their experiences in nature as something that can be taken home with them by creating drawings based on the animals that they have seen, and maybe using them to tell their own stories - or make some really funny jokes. One thing's for sure: there will be lots of refrigerators sporting some handsome pieces after this event - the crucial first step in any aspiring exhibitor's portfolio.

Our old friend from Junior Ranger Day back in May made another appearance as the furry model for the crowds of eager beavers taking turns at the table. Only one person drew the second prop that was on display - an splendid frog specimen... I guess it really isn't easy being green. Using such displays as an educational way to gather reference material for field sketching has always been a key lesson in my classrooms. And Acadia is an exceptionally wonderful place to get out, look around and learn!

*All pics courtesy Acadia National Park/Diane R. Hunt  
**Disclaimer: the views expressed in the article do not necessarily represent the views of the NPS agency or the United States** 


  1. I like the green beaver! You look so "officious" :)

  2. Thanks! Not many cartoonists get taken seriously enough and I think a uniform helps tremendously...

    And personally of all the rare species out there I prefer the Northern Blue-tailed beaver best of all!

  3. Is that badge made of plastic?

    Looking good my friend,

  4. Nope - it ain't no cereal-box prize ... but most everything else is polyester...

  5. Dang dude - you get running water and look what happens to ya! Shave, haircut AND a uniform!

  6. One thing cats will teach you: good grooming habits are essential for a successful presentation. Even if it never leaves the couch for most of the day.