Earlier this week, the kindergarten, first grade and pre-school students at welcomed and embraced “Moose and Duck,” two sizable tree sculptures, who will become permanent residents at the Memorial School's North Street entrance.
Memorial School principal, Andrea Trasher, recalled the creation of “Moose and Duck” and their connection to this school.
"About six or seven years ago as the classroom teachers helped students learn about character development, the content specialists wanted to find a way to get involved," said Trasher. "These staff members put their heads together and came up with the creation of “Get-Along Gatherings.”
At these monthly "Get-Along Gatherings," the content specialists put on skits and demonstrated concepts of self control, responsibility and respect while acting as animal characters. The two main characters created were “Moose” and “Duck.”
“For children in this age group, it is a difficult concept to grasp, so using skits and characters worked well,” Trasher said.
Teachers Herb Grace and Randie Groden took on the roles of “Moose and Duck,” entertaining as well as teaching the children while in costume and character.
Last spring, Trasher received a phone call from Steve Catanese of the Medfield Cultural Council, telling her that she received a grant to fund a statue of “Moose.” It would be made out of a tree stump and become a permanent fixture at Memorial School. As wonderful as that news was, Trasher felt she had to find a way to fund the creation of “Duck” as well. Happily, the CSA was able to help and funded the cost of the second sculpture.
Jesse Green, Master Chainsaw Sculptor and son of kindergarten teacher, Sue Green, was the driving force to get the project done. He knew of the arts councils in Massachusetts and had received grants to do projects in other towns, so he submitted his proposal to the Medfield Cultural Council and to everyone’s delight, it was approved.
Catanese and Jean Mineo, Medfield Cultural Council board members, were at Memorial School for the unveiling of “Moose and Duck” and were thrilled to be there. All grant funds come from the state and all of the council’s board members are volunteers.
“There are more requests than funding available,” said Catanese. “It’s very competitive.”
Green, wearing his trademark sunglasses, and a black “The Machine Jesse Green” shirt, sat with the children and teachers listening to the presentation from Trasher and staff. The children were anxious to see the unveiling, but were well-behaved and patient as they listened and sang to music presented by music teacher, Mr. Ruggiero on keyboard and first grade teacher, Mrs. Pollock on guitar.
Just before the unveiling, the original “Moose” – who was a bit camera shy – came to the microphone, but he was without “Duck.” Unfortunately, “Duck” had to fly out of town, but “Frog” filled in. The children enjoyed listening to “Moose” and “Frog." Then it was time for to unveil the 6-foot, 400-pound sculpture of “Moose” and the 5-foot, 250-pound sculpture of “Duck.”
Green slowly unveiled the covered artwork, antlers first, and he was beaming with pride.
“I am thoroughly excited to unveil these sculptures as part of Project Eco Art,” said Green prior to the assembly. Explaining how he acquires the tree pieces, “I work with tree removal companies.” He added he hand picks the tree pieces for his artwork.
Last spring, when Green brought two enormous tree trunks to Memorial School and with huge chainsaws, he began carving the rough cut of “Moose and Duck,” these friends started to take shape. He recalled that assembly and said, “The kids all wanted a wood chip … I gave all of them away … there was no clean up!”
Green grew up in Holliston, where his parents, Sue and Jay still live, but he now lives in the neighboring town of Medway. Green’s art is as large as live and his passion for his craft is unmistakable.
“Moose and Duck” were completed in Green’s workshop over the last few months and now that they are at Memorial School, they will be placed on an outdoor concrete foundation near the North Street entrance for all to see when they visit.
The statues will also serve as a reminder to the students at Memorial School about good behavior, respect and what friendship is all about.