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Posted 6/27/2016

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By AnnMarie R. Harvie
USACE, New England District

The Herring Run Recreation Area Information Building in Bourne, Mass., got a lot more colorful when the New England District and the Cape Cod Learners Cooperative unveiled a mural entitled, “Where in the World Are We?”, May 1.

About 40 people attended the event that also introduced an interactive display to accompany the mural and launched the new “Did You Know?” Interpretive Program.

Park Ranger Samantha Gray and Lauren Freed, head of the Learners Cooperative spoke to the audience during the event.  Gray presented Freed with a Certificate of Appreciation signed by Col. Christopher Barron, New England District Commander. 

According to the citation, the mural that was created, then donated to the New England District, “enhances the Corps ability to interpret the various missions and rich natural and engineered history of the Cape Cod Canal with hundreds of thousands of visitors.”

The 24 students with ages ranging from about 6-16 years old who attended the event all received an achievement patch courtesy of Eastern National, a non-profit partner of the District and were presented by Gray. 

It took the students about five weeks to paint the mural. According to Gray, the home school students began the mural to celebrate the Cape Cod Canal’s Centennial in 2014.  “It is entitled ‘Where in the World Are We?’ as this artwork was part of their geography lessons,” she said.  “Their goal was to engage the community through public art and visualize the world with respect to our location here in Massachusetts.”

The mural highlights various local landmarks to include the Cape Cod Canal. 

In addition to the mural, the students also created an interactive display entitled, “What Does the Cape Cod Canal Mean To You?” that discusses the mural and then asks others to share what the Canal means to them by writing stories and experiences into a journal located adjacent to the display. 

The Cape Cod Home Learners Cooperative received funding from the town of Bourne and the town of Sandwich’s cultural councils that allowed them to donate and hang the mural and install the display at the Herring Run Recreation Area Information Building. 

The Cape Cod Canal team members also launched a new interpretive program called, “Did You Know?” during the unveiling.  People who participate in the program will find interesting fact sheets on all things Cape Cod Canal.  "Students from the Learners Collaborative assisted with this project as well," said Gray.  According to her, they researched the history, operations and missions, especially the environmental stewardship.  They picked the American Chestnut Tree because the native population has been decimated by a fungus and work is being conducted to backcross American and Japanese Chestnut Trees in an effort to restore the trees.  To launch the program, the canal team held a tree planting ceremony with two of the Learners Cooperative students participating.