When Eric Langton Elementary teacher Paula Gross walked by an empty display case outside the school’s library, she was struck with an idea.
“I thought it would be magical for children to see a little world to get their imagination going,” she said.
It started with a bridge made out of little sticks over water — in this case some broken glass she found on a walk.
As she continued foraging for material, she kept finding new pieces to add. Before long, a tiny hobbit land began to evolve.
“When you are out looking in nature sometimes for the right sticks and stones, you find things people threw out that are broken, and then you look at them with a different purpose,” she said.
To highlight the fact the piece was made from natural material and re-purposed items, it was officially unveiled in April, just in time for Earth Day. Since then, the display has garnered a lot of attention from teachers and students, and was featured in the Maple Ridge News.
Gross said she has plans to expand the display, possibly adding some pieces underneath. She added that she hopes the piece will inspire children to learn how to create with nothing.
“Their lifestyle isn’t necessarily done when it is thrown away,” she said. “You can re-envision it and create something beautiful and enjoy it further.”