Carnivorous Creations


Photography by Melody Guyton Butts

Kindergartners created their very own Venus flytraps in art class this fall as a complement to the kindergarten’s “Our Community” social studies curriculum. As Preschool art and cooking teacher Elizabeth McLeod explains, “I've interpreted this as ‘where do we live?’, ‘what's unique about where we live?’ and ‘how can we connect to our community?’” So the sculptural Venus flytraps — which are native only to coastal bogs in southeastern North Carolina and a small portion of northeastern South Carolina — were a natural choice.


“This is just a really cool fact about North Carolina, our larger community,” McLeod said. “I was inspired by another art teacher several years ago. Her project looked very different, and I’ve modified it a few times. After visiting Duke Gardens and the North Carolina Botanical Garden this summer, I wanted to create a 3D collection of Venus flytraps and display them in wood boxes, like you would see at these two sites.”

Each student made two flytraps from construction paper, first creating the trap and then the stem. McLeod hot-glued bamboo skewers to the back of each to make them sturdy enough to push into floral foam. 

“The boxes were constructed by my brother, Jeffrey, and I love seeing them collectively in their own little ‘swamps,’” she said. 

Anika, a kindergartner in Elizabeth Parry’s class, enjoyed learning about the mechanics of the carnivorous plants: “My favorite part was making the trap because it traps the bugs.”