FLETCHER — Student artists at Fletcher Elementary School are creating their own unique face masks and supporting the environment at the same time.

The Mask-Up Art Project encourages students to battle pollution by learning about environmentally friendly sustainable transportation and representing some of their favorite ways of getting around by designing a face mask depicting eco-friendly alternatives such as walking, biking, skating and skiing, that reduce their carbon footprint.

The project is sponsored by Way To Go Vermont, a subsidiary of the Vermont Agency of Transportation, which provided the school with free cloth masks to serve as students’ canvases, along with non-toxic fabric pens to support the vibrant artwork.

“In addition to supporting students’ learning about eco-friendly ways to get around, this project made mask-wearing fun for our students and inspired some of our young artists to demonstrate their learning through their art,” third- and fourth-grade teacher and instructional coach Denette Locke said. “It served as a really creative way for our class to discuss protecting Vermont’s beautiful environment.”

The project is accompanied by a school transportation challenge, which encourages students and families to consider a variety of eco-friendly ways to get to and from school and to reduce carbon emissions, and a winter walk and bike challenge that supports active outside activities.

“Asking students to design their own masks gave them a chance to consider how their actions related to transportation can have a significant impact on the environment,” third-grade teacher Tracey Godin said. “By helping students think critically about this now, we can positively impact the health of Vermont for years to come.”

“Doing art is so much fun and this art has a cause,” third-grader Claire Austin said. “We need to put less pollution into the environment because too much is harmful to people and animals and plants. When I can drive a car, I am going to remember all about this and do my part to help.”

Fourth-grader Bryce Wright added, “You just have to be respectful, responsible, safe and caring,” echoing the school’s school-wide rules. “You need to do all of those things outside of school, too, and take care of the environment by making the best choices you can.”

Students will wear their mask at school and throughout the community.

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