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Tuesday , 3 August 2021

Paradise Valley residents build each other up through community tree project

A community tree project was recently hung in the Three Cities Public Library at E.H. Walter School.

The three foot by three and a half foot artwork features approximately 150 individual pieces designed by members of the community before being compiled together.

“Each piece of the tree was painted by members of our community to create one tree,” said Library Manager, Julie Brundage.

“Thin tree branches were cut into rounds and sent home plain, so anyone who wanted to paint them could. Individually or as a family, people created whatever they felt represented their families. There were a lot of different intricate ideas – brands, hockey players, a mixture of different things.”

Pieces were handed out at the school in mid-December, but some were shared with other members in the community as well. This way, children were able to decorate them with their parents and grandparents, and all members of the public could participate.

She said the idea originally came from a coworker who, when searching online, had found similar projects with puzzle pieces which led them to thinking of the ways they all fit together as a community.

The artwork is made complete with the following words:

You are the piece of someone else’s life.
You may never know where you fit,
but others will fill the holes in their lives
with pieces of you.
-Bonnie Arbon

Between closures and students having to school at home for quite some time, the project took a couple months to complete, but many are pleased with the artwork working to represent the community as a whole. Brundage said that in a year when people can’t be together, their goal was to show the community that in ways, they are still connected.

“It’s a reminder that we are all in it together, and that community is still important – even though it looks different at this time. I think reminding people that you are a piece of someone else’s life, even if you can’t be with them right now, helps to show their worth and value to the community. You fill in gaps in people’s lives that you might not even realize you are filling in,” said Brundage.

“I grew up in Paradise Valley, and its an incredible community. They rally for anyone in any kind of need – it’s amazing to watch. If someone is sick or had a fire or is in any kind of trouble, the whole town gathers together to help out, creating a beautiful picture of how every community should be in my opinion.”

“The pandemic is hard on a small community like this when people are so used of being together in that way, but even with the restrictions there have been some creative ways of still trying to work together to show that support and love to one another.”

She said that throughout the past year, a farmer created a corn maze as a free outdoor activity that stretched beyond the community, and they have hosted a drive by graduation and family support. In addition, various members have left meals or tokens of appreciation on someone’s step, and delivered ninja care packages.

For libraries, she said they have been closed to the public on and off, but but are trying very hard to find ways to still connect with patrons by offering online and curbside services.

As for this artwork, they can add pieces for anyone that may have missed out, and they can potentially grow the project in the future, completing the other half of the tree.

About Angela Mouly

Angela comes to Lakeland Connect after leaving traditional newspaper where she spent the past four years reporting on community events. Her repertoire includes writing about history, politics, agriculture, sports, entertainment and art. She was the third place recipient of an AWNA General Excellence Award for “Best Front Page” during their 2016 Better Newspaper Competition. Angela has lived in rural Alberta all her life and in Vermilion for the past 15 years. She looks forward to continuing to serve and inform the Lakeland community by joining in people's many adventures and sharing their stories.