Student Spotlight: Laura Hu

Meet Laura Hu, a ten-year-old watershed explorer from Northbrook, Illinois. When Laura was eight-years-old, her art piece titled "The Colorful Sea" (seen above) was selected as the Category I Art Winner of 2016-17 River of Words Anthology. In January of 2018, Laura participated in a student spotlight interview, in which she shared the story of "The Colorful Sea," tips on how to be a watershed explorer, and much more.

Laura Hu, a ten year old student, sits alone on a wooden park bench in a garden with a parking lot in the far background. Laura is smiling. The garden has various flowing plants and trees in it; identifiable plants include tulips and daffodils.Q: What is your current age?

A: My current age is ten, and I am in the fourth grade


Q: How do you like the fourth grade?

A: It’s nice. It’s a little different from third grade, because you’re getting older, and you’re learning new things.


Q: What’s something new you’re learning in fourth grade?

A: I’m learning different things in math, like decimals and angels and stuff like that.


Q: How did you begin creating?

A: I begin creating when I’m in the mood for it, or when I hear or see something interesting and I create it into art.


Q: What do you like about creating art?

A: I like it because it’s relaxing and it makes me feel happy


Q: That’s really nice! What about it makes you feel happy?

A: When you create things you feel relaxed and you’re thinking only one thing.

Laura's artwork "The Colorful Sea" appears to be created using pastel or colored pencil. It depicts a blue body of water, with many small colorful fish interspersed throughout the image. At the center of the page, a dolphin swims on top of the water, with several green clusters of seaweed and water grass around it. At the bottom of the page is a small, colorful coral reef with many red, yellow, purple, and pink plants and an orange starfish.Q: Will you tell me a little bit about “The Colorful Sea” and what inspired you when you created it?

A: What inspired me was, um, when my family and I went to Cancun and swam with the dolphins, it made me want to create “The Colorful Sea”


Q: Wow! What was it like to swim with the dolphins?

A: It felt cool, well it felt fun!


Q: So did you get to see the dolphins really up close?

A: Yes!


Q: What does being a watershed explorer mean to you? And just to refresh your memory, a watershed explorer is someone who explores their environment and watershed where they live.

A: It means you care about the environment and pay attention to it.


Q: And what does it mean for you to care about the environment?

A: It means for me that you can help preserve the natural beauty and ecosystem.


Q: Do you like to go out into nature a lot?

A: Yeah, when I have time!


Q: What are some of the things you enjoy when you get to go out into nature?

A: I like how everything is calm and there’s fresh air.


Q: So, how did you hear about River of Words?

A: I heard about River of Words from my art teacher.


Q: What did you art teacher tell you about River of Words?

A: She told me that I could enter my art into the contest!


Q: What was it like entering you work into a contest.

A: I felt excited because I think it was my first one!


Q: What is some advice you would give another young person who wants to write and create art?

A: I would say to them not to be afraid of making mistakes. Be creative and use your imagination.


Q: How do you use your imagination when you create?

A: I use it to think outside the box, and to create art.


Q: So, what is some advice you would give to someone who wanted to learn more about the environment?

A: I would say to them to go outside, learn more about nature, and do more outdoor activities.


Q: What are some outdoor activities you’d suggest that they do?

A: Maybe biking or hiking,  go to forest preserves.


Q: Do you go to forest preserves very much?

A: Yes, every year we go there to the Grove.


Q: Do you enjoy going to the Grove?

A: Yes, because I see a lot of animals there. I sometimes see deer and owls, and we also see a lot of tiny bugs on the ground.


Q: What’s your favorite kind of animal?

A: My favorite kind of animal is a dog, because they’re really friendly and playful and nice, and they’re cute.


Q: Aw, yeah! Dogs are very cute! Okay so I have one more question for you. It looks like when you made “The Colorful Sea” you used a lot of colored pencil. What kind of mediums or types of utensils like pencils have you liked to use lately?

A: I used to use colored pencils and now I use oil pastels and I still use a lot of colored pencils.


Q: What do you like about using colored pencils?

A: I like how you can erase because when you color sometimes it can be dark.