Wildlife and Humans Connect for Art

Imagination Runs Wild at the Zoo

Feeding one of the deer at Southwick’s Zoo

Erielle Amboy, Photojournalist

On Oct. 19, Abington students in Digital Art & Photography and Drawing & Painting classes took a field trip to Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon. The trip was led by Mrs. Poirier and assisted by Ms. Reardon.

The classes had a lot of fun photographing and drawing different animals at the zoo throughout the day. They had the chance to explore the zoo independently or in groups. Students were given creative freedom in how they took their pictures or sketched the various animals.

Mrs. Poirier has had some students for three years in a row, so she tries to do new projects within the years. This was her second time coming to the zoo with her students, and she has visited twice before with her own children. “A lot of older students haven’t been to the zoo in a while, and it feels very nostalgic,” Mrs. Poirier said.

She returns to Southwick’s Zoo because of the closeness of the animals compared to Franklin Park Zoo.  She believes that it is an authentic way to observe animals, and it is always better to draw from life than from pictures. She likes that the trip offers a unique experience of being able to interact with animals, like giraffes, deer, and camels. At the zoo there is a closed off area which you can enter to pet deer and feed them. Many great up close pictures were taken there.

Her goal for her students is that they will create amazing artwork from life. When they returned from the field trip, the Photography students edited and shared their photographs. The Drawing & Painting students created drawings of the different poses they recorded while there. “Everyone has a beautiful piece of artwork that they created,” Mrs. Poirier said.

Her second goal is to create happy memories. She would love for a student to return to the zoo someday and say “I remember coming here with my art class, it was awesome.” Even if students do not pursue art as a career, they can still have a lifelong appreciation for it.

Learning outside the classroom provides lots of different benefits. Students create bonds with their classmates and teachers by experiencing something together. It also teaches kids how to think independently and not to create assignments just because they are told to. Everyone gets different inspiration out of field trips and can use those experiences to inspire creativity.

Mrs. Poirier also believes that students learn more about life during field trips than just the assignment. If they go to Boston, they learn how to ride the T and navigate using a map. If they go to a zoo, they learn how to be productive on their own, respect animals and have independence in their learning. There is so much to see outside the classroom. Mrs. Poirier appreciates that she is in a school that supports field trips for all types of learning experiences.