BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Rainforest Project is an interdisciplinary project created and put into motion by Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School (SCVTHS) Honors Dance Department Coordinator Sheila Buttermore. 

Through the use of student and faculty choreography, the Gifted and Talented Honors Dance Program are creating a rainforest themed performance. The multimedia set, lobby installation and lobby full of facts about the rainforest are created by other SCVTHS Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs. Each week, we will visit a CTE program involved in the project, feature general career information about that program, and explore how they have contributed to the project. 

With the use of photographs and large vinyl prints, the Photography classes at Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School will look to transform the lobby into a representation of the changes taking place in the rainforest. The lobby design will include half what is typically envisioned to be the rainforest, and half what the rainforest may turn into at its current rate of destruction. Students in the photography classes will put to use their lessons in copy photography, space, line and gesture when composing their pieces for the lobby display.  The displays will consist of a mix of black and white, along with color photographs as the students attempt to bring the rainforest to life through their artwork. 

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“There isn’t a career that you can’t link this class to,” said instructor Deb Gichan. 

Whether it is through brochures, websites or advertising, all careers use photography in one way or another. With the basic knowledge gained in the photography class at SCVTHS, students learn skills such as lighting, gesture, composition and editing techniques with the most current software. Photography is offered to all full-time SCVTHS students to satisfy their high school visual and performing arts requirement. Students wishing to pursue a career in photography after high school will typically attend a post-secondary institution at either a trade or visual arts school.

The Rainforest Project will culminate with a series of performances by the Gifted and Talented Dance Program available to both the public and all of Somerset County’s middle and high elementary schools.  On April 24 and April 25, special performances with dinner options will be held. Dinner and performance packages will cost $20 per person with dinner scheduled for 6 p.m. and the performance at 7:30 p.m.  Performance-only tickets will also be available for $12.  Seating is limited for the dinner and reservations are required. Please contact Mary Lynne McAnally at or 908-526-8900, ext. 7125 to purchase the dinner theater package tickets.

Performances for Somerset County middle and high elementary schools will be held on April 27, 28 and 29 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. These performances will be held free of charge, however seating is limited and reservations are required. Please contact Sheila Buttermore at or 908-526-8900, ext. 7277 to schedule your visit.

For more information on this story, please contact James Strickhart at 908-526-8900, ext. 7169 or