Growing “Reflections” at LTER sites

Network News Fall 2011, Vol. 24 No. 2
Network News

Efforts to encourage engagement of arts and humanities by Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) and related sites are bearing fruit. Since the concept took root independently at Harvard Forest (environmental literature and history), North Temperate Lakes (visual arts), and Andrews Forest (creative writing, environmental ethics), there have been a variety of activities at site and network scales, including brainstorming workshops at the past two All Scientists Meetings and a more comprehensive one at the Andrews Forest in May, 2011. Twelve LTER and two additional sites were represented at this workshop, at which participants discussed the status of the Reflections program and charted a future for arts-humanities-science collaboration at such sites (see workshop report at, which includes a list of participating site representatives).

An impressive body of work has come out of this effort thus far, but much is still to be done and many individuals and sites have plans (and dreams) for further outreach, education, and primary inquiry involving the arts and humanities. As a first step toward a functioning network to support place-based arts-humanities-science collaboration that takes the long-term view, we have launched a website,, to share program profiles and other relevant information. Participants have discussed seeking funding and support for this network from sources such as the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Research Coordination Networks program, and more activities are planned during the Ecological Society of America’s 2012 meeting in Portland and LTER’s ASM in 2012, including oral and poster presentations and workshops.

The arts-humanities-science collaboration has been well received by the LTER and arts and humanities communities, and NSF, and we see it growing into many other venues. Our approach seems to be a very natural development as the scope of active citizenship exercised by LTER programs increases as the network enters its fourth decade and NSF pushes the social relevance of our work.

Several sites and programs that were not involved in the May workshop have past and on-going work related to the Reflections program. We encourage those sites to identify a contact person to participate in networking activities for arts-humanities-science collaboration, so that we can support one another and foster inter-site arts and humanities work in tandem with the inter-site science. The selected contact person(s) should contact Nathaniel Brodie ( to enter their site profile at the website, through which we shall keep all interested parties informed of new developments in this activity.