NSF exhibit highlights Ecological Reflections from 11 LTER sites

Network News Spring 2013, Vol. 26 No. 1
Network News

Work by 39 artists and writers from 11 LTER sites is the focus of a new Ecological Reflections exhibit at National Science Foundation (NSF) headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. The exhibit, “Sense of Place in Changing Places,” opened to a full house of visitors on February 28 as part of the 2013 LTER mini-symposium. The event included a presentation by Fred Swanson of the Andrews LTER and commentary by contributing Baltimore artist Lynn Cazabon.

The Ecological Reflections network, which includes more than a dozen LTER sites, brings together scientists, artists, and writers to explore places of long-term inquiry. Ecological research explores changes past and future – environmental change, land use legacies, future scenarios of change – and asks how, why, and what’s to come. Together, ecologyand the arts and humanities can help us see a place more clearly: the beauty and complexity of its systems, the gratitude and grief of human responses to change,  our desire to comprehend and navigate the world we live in, and possibilities for the future.  Art-science collaborations educate and inspire broad audiences to build a deeper understanding of the natural world and provide for wise, farsighted decisions in a time of significant ecological challenge and change.

Artistic reflections featured in the new NSF exhibit include fiber arts, paintings, drawings, sculpture, song, photography, short films, short essay, poetry, and an installation. The works reflect the diverse ecology and culture of LTER sites across the continental US, Alaska, and French Polynesia. Sites represented in the show are the Andrews Forest (Oregon), Baltimore Ecosystem Study (Maryland), Bonanza Creek (Alaska), Cedar Creek (Minnesota), Central Arizona – Phoenix (Arizona), Florida Coastal Everglades (Florida), Harvard Forest (Massachusetts), Konza Prairie (Kansas), Moorea Coral Reef (French Polynesia), North Temperate Lakes (Wisconsin), and Virginia Coast Reserve (Virginia).

The exhibit is funded by NSF’s Art of Science initiative. Its organization represents a major collaborative effort by NSF and the LTER network, with leadership by Dorothy Harris and Gayle Pugh from NSF; Clarisse Hart from the Harvard Forest LTER; Fred Swanson from the Andrews LTER; Mary Beth Leigh from the Bonanza Creek LTER; and Terry Daulton from the North Temperate Lakes LTER. Representatives from contributing LTER sites also helped make the show a success: Steward Pickett (BES), Alison York (BNZ), Mary Spivey (CDR), Marcia Nation and Barry Sparkman (CAP), Nick Oehm (FCE), John Blair (KNZ), Andrew Brooks (MCR), Pam Fashingbauer (NTL), and Art Schwarzschild (VCR).

The exhibit is located in NSF’s third floor exhibition area and will run through June 15, 2013. Visiting requires a building access badge, which can be obtained by contacting Dorothy Harris (dharris@nsf.gov) at NSF.

 Download the Ecological Reflections exhibit brochure.