(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The Broadmoor challenged El Paso County third-graders to design and decorate a four-foot-tall chipmunk as a special birthday gift for the 140th anniversary of Seven Falls.

On Wednesday, May 10, the 10 finalists were revealed.

“So we thought we’d bring them back and they’re super cute and so we decided that would be a fun thing for third graders to paint,” Director of Public Relations for The Broadmoor, Krista Heinicke, said. “And we tried to gauge the height based on how tall the third graders would be and really bringing in nature to the classroom and making it real for them and alive.”

Seven Falls celebrates its 140th anniversary this year.

Many animals call the Seven Falls home, but the chipmunk easily surged ahead in becoming the beloved mascot.

“So Chester the Chipmunk was and is a beloved mascot of Seven Falls,” Heinicke said. “And as you know, or as you may not know, the historic piece of it is that we have chipmunks all over the place and our guests would feed the chipmunks. Now, we don’t allow feeding the chipmunks anymore, but the chipmunks are definitely a mainstay mascot for Seven Falls for many years.”

The ten finalists were determined based on the interpretation of the theme, creativity, originality, and quality of the artwork.

“But what was special is that the 10 chipmunks that were chosen were chosen blindly,” Heinicke, said. “No one knows what schools they were from, and they chose them based on their designs and concepts.”

The ten finalists revealed on Wednesday afternoon of the designs done by third-grade students in El Paso County.

The ten finalists were from Chipeta Elementary, Edison Elementary School, Fremont Elementary, Gold Camp Elementary, Meridian Ranch Elementary, Saint Peter Catholic School, Talbott STEAM Innovation School, Widefield Elementary School of the Arts, and Wilson Elementary.

Michelle Senters is an art teacher at Fremont Elementary School and reflected on how this art project encouraged her students to learn more about the history and landscape of Seven Falls.

“So we were able to really dig into the history and talk, give the kids a new incentive to learn about Colorado, to learn about Colorado Springs and nature and it just gave them more pride of the area,” said Senters.

Seven Falls is painted on the rock of one of the chipmunks.

Yvonne Petrie, an art teacher at Edison Elementary School in Yoder, shared how her students were eager to research and learn more facts about Seven Falls.

“They were really fascinated by the gold rush and all the different wildlife,” Petrie said. “So, they just learned a great deal. They did research even when they didn’t have to, and they would tell me all these fun facts about the birds and different wildlife.”

Fremont Elementary School third grader, Mariel Greenbrier said her favorite part was the painting.

Mariel Greenbrier stands by the chipmunk she helped paint with her classmates.

Greenbrier described what her class’s chipmunk looked like, “He’s basically a chipmunk with a little sweater on and his ears sticking out on a little rock platform.”

The rock platform is signed with the names of each of the third graders who worked on the chipmunk design from Fremont Elementary.

Another third grader at the event was Journey Conell, who goes to Edison Elementary School in Yoder.

Journey Conell smiled alongside the chipmunk she worked on with her classmates at Edison Elementary School in Yoder.

When asked how the project went, Conell said, “We had a tiny bit of arguments here and there, but all around it was very fun for all of us.”

An eagle was painted on the tail of the chipmunk for Edison Elementary School in Yoder.

The ten chipmunks will be on display until Labor Day and you can vote on your favorite. The school whose chipmunk has the most votes will earn a field trip for the entire third grade to visit Seven Falls.

Both third graders are hopeful their chipmunk will take home the gold.

“I hope we win because then we can spread the word about Edison around Colorado,” said Conell.

“It would mean a lot because I bet my whole class would be super excited if our chipmunk won,” said Greenbrier.