Program Description

On the surface, the disciplines of science and art have developed very different approaches and tools to understand the world. Generally, scientists use approaches that increase objectivity, whereas artists often imbue the scene of focus with emotions and personal outlooks. However, the two disciplines share many characteristics: practitioners require sharp powers of observation, adherence to a regime of discipline, and must communicate results to an audience.

Both science and art can be used to inspire awareness of and a sense of protection for the natural world. Some partnerships between scientists and artists have successfully resulted in synergistic campaigns to effect actions that could not have been carried out singly. We will explore how the expressions of these two seemingly disparate modes of inquiry and communication-art and science-can contribute toward a common goal of promoting conservation. We will draw upon local, regional, national and international examples of how artists and scientists partnered to enhance conservation. Our program will examine how to promote the cross-fertilization of concepts, tools, skills and approaches to better understand forests and trees.

We will emphasize forest ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest, with a focus on The Evergreen State College campus and its surroundings. We will explore methods to represent and understand natural systems, using ecology and visual arts, identify and analyze projects that have brought together artists and scientists for conservation and carry out small group projects that plan for or create materials that enhance conservation. Emphasis will be placed on development of quantitative and analytical skills for the science aspects and observational and technical skills for the visual art aspects. Lectures, workshops, seminars and oral presentations will be offered.

Students can expect one three-day field trip to the Olympic Peninsula to learn about marine and forested environments. In addition, a set of five or six day-long field trips will be included.