For the 140th Anniversary of Seven Falls, third graders in the El Paso County school districts entered a unique design contest highlighting elements of what you can find in the canyon. Ten finalists translated their designs onto a larger-than-life chipmunk. It’s up to you to choose your favorite by dropping a vote into the voting box next to the chipmunk. Only one will be crowned Cheyenne Canyon royalty. Find out on September 6th!
Local Schools Project
The Grandest Chipmunk: Chipeta Elementary
The Grandest chipmunk was born in 1872 in the Grand Seven Falls of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He loved his beautiful home because there were many mountains with trees to explore. He slid down waterfalls and ran through the wildflowers. He was such a strong swimmer that he survived the flood of 1965. His favorite mountain was the Pillars of Hercules because of the magnificent series of waterfalls in the box canyon. If you are wondering how he got the beautiful and grand marks on his body, it is because of every joyful experience he had in his habitat. His first experience was when he was born and smelled his first flower, the Colorado Columbine. Next, he climbed his first tree and then a mountain as he grew stronger. After his legs were strong, he managed to zip down the waterfalls and climbed the slippery metal flagpole to join the Colorado State Flag. He loved searching for nuts and stored them in the ground to feast upon in the winter. All year round, Seven Falls was the most spectacular place to call home for the Grandest Chipmunk!
Sketch: Meridian Ranch Elementary
Mrs. Brady’s third-grade class is a community that values each member’s voice. In this class, mistakes are proof that learning is happening. We love to laugh, learn and grow. Our chipmunk’s (Sketch) design is an example of how well we all work together. Each class member had a hand designing Sketch and painting the 4-foot model. We wanted Sketch to fit right into his surroundings at Seven Falls, so we designed him to reflect what you might see on a trip to Seven Falls! From the sky to the ground, you’ll find hallmarks of the Colorado landscape throughout his cute frame. Look closely, and you might find an American robin, mule deer and maybe even a brown bear! We also prominently featured some of Colorado’s beautiful ecology, like the aspens and the Colorado Columbine. Our class enjoyed designing and painting Sketch, and we will miss having him in our class! We look forward to visiting him over the summer at Seven Falls and seeing all the other terrific submissions.
Chip of Seven Falls: Meridian Ranch Elementary
We are a 3rd-grade class at Meridian Ranch Elementary in Peyton, Colorado. This year we have enjoyed learning more about the world around us, from local attractions like the Garden of the Gods to the Colosseum in Rome. As a class, we love projects, so this is a great task for us! We are very excited about our chipmunk project! Together, we decided on the name Chip of Seven Falls! He has been a fun part of our class since he was introduced. He likes to sit at his own desk and work with the class. He doesn’t get a whole lot of work completed, but he is very good at paying attention. He even wrote his own name in cursive! (Okay, maybe he had a little help). We broke our design into different parts and worked on it over several weeks. Our design includes the colors of nature in Cheyenne Canon on the body (brown, green, blue, and gray). We designed the stand to include the bright lights of Seven Falls at night. We have included many of the highlights of Seven Falls on our statue. This includes the individual waterfalls, Pillars of Hercules, Washington’s Profile, a deer, a bear, fire, trees, Pikes Peak Granite, Quartz Monzonite, a Cliff Swallow, and a Mountain Chickadee.
Lily: Edison Elementary
Edison is a small school located on the county’s eastern plains. Our school motto is A small school with big expectations! The second and third grades are combined, and we had only seven third graders and three-second graders when we embarked on the Seven Falls project. As a teacher, I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My students spent weeks reviewing reference books and searching the web for information to include in their project. They were so engaged that they practiced drawing birds, wildlife, and flowers at home. They also chose to give up snack time and other activities to work on their project. We watched videos about Seven Falls, and they hope to visit and see the falls, rock formations, and everything else in the “Grandest Mile of Scenery.” Our art teacher, Ms. Riehl, has guided us along this journey, giving advice, lessons in drawing and painting, and creative suggestions. The class included an eagle in our design to represent our school mascot. We also have our chipmunk holding a gold nugget to represent the 165th anniversary of the beginning of the Gold Rush. When it came time to name our chipmunk, we considered “Yuta” or “Ute” for the Ute tribe that hunted buffalo in the canyon; “Helen” after Helen Hunt Jackson; “Ramona,” the character in Helen’s book; and “Shorty,” about one of the falls. They voted and ultimately chose “Lily” after the wood lily that grows in the area. When I announced to the class that we had made it into the top ten, their cheering could be heard throughout the elementary! They can’t wait to begin painting “Lily.”
Spunky: Talbott STEAM
We are the third-grade class from Talbott STEAM Innovation School in Widefield School District 3. The name of our chipmunk is Spunky, the Seven Falls Chipmunk. We are honored to help Seven Falls celebrate their 140th anniversary with our chipmunk’s design. Spunky represents the immense history and the important environmental features in “The Grandest Mile of Scenery.” The front profile of Spunky includes Spunky holding a 10-cent coin, which was the original entry fee for Seven Falls. Also, it has his name, the logo, and the date Seven Falls was established. The sides of our chipmunk contain the names of the Seven falls and flora and fauna found within the park. Pikes Peak granite is also featured on the side profile of our chipmunk. Finally, the back of Spunky displays four out of the ten canyon rock formations. The top half of Spunky’s back shows the majestic Pillars of Hercules. The bottom half of his back showcases three canyon rock formations: Three Amigos, Half Dome, and Alligator’s Head. Our classes learned a lot about the history of Seven Falls and Cheyenne Canyon. We hope everyone enjoys our school’s colorful interpretation of Seven Falls’ famous mascot.
Helen: Gold Camp Elementary
Gold Camp Elementary’s third graders would like to present our beautiful chipmunk, Helen, who welcomes you to Seven Falls, “The Grandest Mile of Scenery” in Colorado! Our school is a proud part of the Cheyenne Mountain School District, a district well known for its tradition of excellence. We are located on the western edge of Colorado Springs and nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at the base of Pikes Peak. Pine trees, mountain mahogany, and scrub oak surround our campus. As part of our local history unit, we were excited to enter the contest to design a chipmunk to celebrate the 140th Anniversary of Seven Falls. Our third graders learned about the history of Seven Falls and how the area inspired Helen Hunt Jackson, the famous author who made her home here, after whom our chipmunk is named. Helen, the chipmunk, is a visual representation of the natural elements we are grateful to have in our home near Cheyenne Mountain. Helen’s cheerful and bright facade welcomes you to Seven Falls with warm hospitality. She has elements of local nature, from her Pike’s Peak ears to her Black-Eyed Susan toenails. Helen’s sides continue to represent local wildlife, ecology, and geology examples. Helen’s backside portrays all seven plunging falls and a symmetrical vision of the 224 steps to the top. The base also reminds visitors of the 140 years of Seven Falls being commemorated. We are honored to be chosen as a finalist, and we hope you enjoy the bright, local student-created chipmunks as you explore Seven Falls.
Chestnut the Chipmunk: St. Peter Catholic School
In choosing the design for Chestnut, the Chipmunk, we wanted to ensure we brought out the beauty of Seven Falls, while including items that would also honor Colorado’s history. Additionally, because Colorado is so rich in American Indian history, we wanted to make a contribution to the oldest residents of Colorado, the Ute People. In order to represent and honor the Ute Tribe’s traditions and way of life, we added pictures of their colorful headdress, papoose, teepee, and weapons, such as bows and arrows. The Ute tribe inhabited the Eastern and Northern slopes of the mountains of Colorado; therefore, we included some of their natural surroundings such as bear, flowers, and of course, the Rockies. The Ute tribes hunted deer and gathered wild berries in the late fall so Chestnut stands on a field of wild berries and with a deer standing nearby. The sun shines so bright here in Colorado making it is only natural that we placed a sun full of bright rays on Chestnut’s Cheeks. Again, we also wanted to honor some of Colorado’s history; therefore, Chestnut is also holding an acorn displaying the state tree of Colorado, the Blue Spruce. Because Colorado’s altitude is so high, meaning less water vapor in the air, Colorado is known to have some of the bluest skies in the United States. For this reason, we call Chestnut’s eyes, Colorado Blue Skies. Colorado skies are not only beautiful during the day; they are also known to be some of the best for stargazing. On the back of Chestnut’s head, you will find a night sky full of amazing constellations speckled across a clear Colorado Sky. Finally, in order to represent Seven Falls, there is a stream of water running down the side of Chestnut’s tail. St. Peter Catholic School’s Chestnut represents all that is important to us; Seven Falls and our American Indian and Colorado history.
WESA Falls: Widefield Elementary
Widefield Elementary School of the Arts is an innovative school that focuses on the arts. We are the only school in our district to have full time drama, art, and design studio teachers. We are also the only elementary school to have band and string teachers as well. Every year, we hold a Winter Gala and Art Walk to display students’ artwork. For the past two years, we have also had an all-school musical, where every student in our building has a role or part to play. During the creation of our chipmunk, students were able to research and look at photos in their homeroom classes to decide on what to include in their own designs. Each student created their own small design plan and each class voted on their most creative or favorite one. As a grade level, we decided on our final design, which was half chipmunk and half Seven Falls. Each student will have an opportunity to participate in painting on each side of the chipmunk, so they can showcase their collaboration and teamwork.
Chip Falls: Wilson Elementary
Say hello to Chip Falls, who was created by the minds of Wilson Elementary Third Graders. Our Third-grade students have not had the opportunity to visit Seven Falls so their inspirations came from research and creativity. Through their research they realized that Seven Falls is close to the clouds reaching over 180 feet. This is represented by clouds circling his eyes. The blue on one side represents the sky while the brown and green on the other represents the landscape of the canyon surrounding the waterfalls. Some of the features you will notice are the sun above his eyes which highlights the fact that Colorado Springs has an average of 300 sunny days per year. In recognition of the original owners, their names have been added to pebbles within the water at Chip Falls’ feet. In addition, Helen Hunt’s original gravesite can be found on the walking trails depicted on his right arm. The students added local wildlife and vegetation such as black bears, mountain lions, fish, birds, Gambel oak, Ponderosa pines, Wood Lilies, and Black-Eyed Susans, that can be found throughout his body. The 224- step staircase leading to the top of the falls, and the staircase leading to Eagle’s Nest View deck has been labeled and displayed on Chip’s tail. His distinctive coloration reflects the uniqueness seen in every Third-Grade student at Wilson Elementary School.
Mr. Colby: Fremont Elementary
Sixty-one 3rd grade students and art teacher, Michelle Senters, of Fremont Elementary School are proud to present Mr. Colby for the 140th Anniversary of Seven Falls. Mr. Colby is named after Nathaniel Colby, the first man to homestead and own a patent to Seven Falls. Patchwork quilts have long been used throughout history as a way to commemorate, remember, and celebrate. Our chipmunk wears a quilted hoodie which contains patchwork squares to symbolize all that is beautiful and important to Seven Falls. In the planning phase, 3rd grade students designed quilt squares on a 10×10 grid, using photographs and traditional quilt squares as reference tools. Similar designs were then combined to create the strongest representation and a cohesive look to the quilted hoodie. Quilt square designs include: Mountain Lion, Mule Deer, Black Bear, Rainbow Trout, Chipmunk, Mountain Cottontail Rabbit, American Robin, Stellar’s Jay, Broad Tailed Hummingbird, Mountain Chickadee, Aspen Tree Leaf, Rocky Mountain Maple Leaf, Ponderosa Pinecone, White Fir Tree, Wood Lily, Black-Eyed Susan, Colorado Columbine, Colorado Flag, traditional Colorado state square, Pikes Peak, and two rock formations at Seven Falls. Each of the seven falls are symbolized in the waterfall quilt pattern that falls down Mr. Colby’s hood, belly, backside, and tail. Our chipmunk stands on Pikes Peak Granite, a rock composed of course grained pink and light red syenogranite with bits of gray monzogranite. A healthy relationship between humans, plants, animals, and the environment is vital to survival. We symbolized this ecology through the “stitching” shown on the quilted hoodie. Each 3rd grade student had the opportunity to design and paint Mr. Colby, and he has become quite famous within Fremont Elementary School.