If you feel like you’re being watched as you walk through Little Mountain Park in Salmon Arm, you’re not wrong.
Despite the sign warning of a mother bear and cubs in the area, the eyes in question belong to wood carvings above the trails attached to a few of the trees.
The carvings are the creation of Métis artist John Sayer, who carves with the students at Salmon Arm’s Storefront School.
Sayer worked in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District for more than two decades. Since his official retirement a few years ago, he has returned once a week to the Storefront School in Salmon Arm to create carvings and connect with students.
The most recent project involved the long, narrow faces he has carved into the wood of fallen trees for several years.
He and the students recently took some of the carvings to Little Mountain Park, with the support of city council, to attach them. Ceramic screws were used so as not to harm the trees.
In a letter to city council, Storefront staff wrote of how invaluable the carving program is, how installing the carvings would bring some indigenous culture to the trail system and would help students build connections and ownership of their community.