Since 2021, I have been spearheading a joint project of the Organization of Biological Field Stations and the Long Term Ecological Network, called Ecotones: Art-Science at Field Stations. Ecotones facilitates artist residencies and other arts activities at environmental research sites. As transition zones between two different environments, ecotones are rich environments. Living things from each habitat wander into the edge, and others specialize in the edge habitat itself. Wander into this rich ecotone where art, science, and the environment share overlapping boundaries. Interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary art-science activities at field stations can:

  • Expand the way scientists and artists approach their work
  • Engage the public with science and art, and communicate science in new ways
  • Challenge the boundaries we have set up between art and science to think more broadly about our relationships with the natural world

Below are some examples of art produced at field stations, marine labs, and long term ecological research sites.

L: Artist Erin Wiersma works at Konza Prairie. R:  Transect 2021 001 FA (new year I), 2021. Char on paper, 60″ in” x 45″ in”
Leah Wilson, LISTENING TO THE FOREST, public art at Oregon State University, George W. Peavy Forest Science Center. Acrylic and bio-based resin on birch plywood; 16 62 x 46 in. panels arranged in a 4 x 4 grid
L: Artist Xavier Cortada (left) with lab managers Rafael Travieso (center) and Fraco Tobias (right) in the Gaiser Lab, which focuses on algae, especially diatoms. R: Xavier Cortada, “Just Below the Surface: 1915 (The Founding of Miami Beach),” archival ink on aluminum, 60″ x 36″, 2015.
Listening for Coastal Futures, a sound project of the Virginia Coast Reserve, led by sound artist Matthew Burtner, environmental scientist Karen McGlathery, and religion scholar Willis Jenkins.
L: Witness Tree: Seasons of Change with a Century-Old Oak; R: Seattle Times journalist and Bullard Fellow at the Harvard Forest Lynda Mapes works with scientists in the field.
L: Artist Rebecca Schultz collecting soil from various soil horizons at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest; R: chromatograms of the soil samples. Her work raised new questions for geologist Scott Bailey, one of her scientist collaborators, who wondered why soils at various soil horizons would produce such different results.