“Polar Platform” is a proposal to build platforms to replace the disappearing sea ice in the Arctic. Due to loss of ice, polar bears, walrus and seals are drowning and rapidly becoming endangered species. The platforms could assist the wildlife for hunting and for protecting their babies. A small solar panel helps keep a hole in the ice for hunting and breathing.The platform has been exhibited in a roasting pan as a reminder of climate change heating the habitat.
Tres Artistas – Three Artistas
Lynne Hull of the U.S.A, Yolanda Gutierrez of Mexico, and Patricia Lara of Colombia are designing eco-art projects for working collaboratively in each of their home countries. In February and March of 2008 they will be researching Sea-Turtle conservation projects in Mexico, economic development projects in a small village in Colombia, the loss of wetlands in Cartagena, Colombia, and creating a model seminar for students in developing countries interested in creating eco-art for their nearby ecological reserves.
The artistas are looking for opportunities in the U.S. Further artworks by Yolanda Gutierrez may be viewed at:www.greenmuseum.org, and www.yolandagutierrez.com.
Lynne and Patricia joined Yolanda Gutierrez, who lives near the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. We traveled to the coast of Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido to meet with Floriberto Vasquez, the director of the “Red de Humidales”, an organization of small communities along the coast of Oaxaca each working on conservation and restoration around their community. These are economically impoverished areas but the people believe in the importance of maintaining their ecological heritage. Most are interested in the possibility of Ecotourism as an economic growth strategy. With the support of the Red, we visited five communities involved in Sea turtle protection. Sea turtles of many species, some now endangered, once nested on these beaches in the millions; now only a few dozen come in at night during the nesting season to dig nests and deposit eggs on the beaches. The communities visited had a variety of strategies to mitigate this problem. Generally, after working in their fields or other jobs all day, people walk the beaches between midnight and 3 am to find turtles coming ashore to nest. They mark the spot and remove the eggs, document them and rebury the eggs at a safer location where they will be protected and guarded until hatching time.
In the beautiful mountain city of Manizales, eco-tourism is gaining a foothold along with coffee growing. However, the recent trend of cutting trees from fragile and too-steep slopes of the mountains is creating serious erosion problems in the area, resulting in loss of land and lives due to over 40 landslides in the past year alone. With the cutting of these higher altitude forests important wildlife habitat, and corridors connecting habitat patches, are also lost. We will raise awareness regarding the overly deforested vegetation removal on steep hills, helping people learn to identify “the angle of repose” to indicate slopes too steep to cut and in need of conservation or restoration. Artists will design devices to measure this angle, both serious and comedic and satirical devices, some of which will be easily accessible to residents of the area.
Beautiful, ancient Cartagena de Indes, Colombia, is located at sea level: the beaches and waves are right outside the old wall. To create more land for buildings and roads, the city and its residents are filling canals and wetlands with garbage
(like most parts of the developing world, Cartagena has a waste disposal problem) which can leak toxics into the water. The bad news is that with the expected rise of sea level due to global warming, the wetlands and canals will be badly needed to absorb the excess water and storm surges. Many of the lagoons and wetlands are naturally bordered by mangroves, trees specializing in growing in salty water and reducing impact from storm surges. “Manglares” have protected the coasts and interior low lying lands for millennia. Mangroves also provide vital bird habitat for aquatic birds, and are a “nursery” for fisheriesand other aquatic species. Now the mangroves are being cut and discarded just as the storms and storm surges are becoming more violent, also due to climate change.
What’s a Bird Barge?
The Bird Barge will be a barge converted into a floating wildlife sanctuary. It will be towed up and down a large river from time to time, providing an “Outpost Oasis” for migratory birds, resident birds, amphibians and perhaps a few small mammals and invertebrates. Imagine ducks, geese and herons perched near the edges, turtles and frogs climbing aboard, songbirds and even hawks dropping by to roost in the higher branches. Bats may spend the day in a bathouse, and go out at night to eat mosquitoes. When the Barge moves further South, will an alligator wander up the gangplank?
Migratory birds may stop overnight, and those who fly by night may spend a day or two resting up for the next part of their journey. A few may even hitch a ride on the Barge, or decide to nest in the birdhouses. Studies show that birds nesting out of reach of predators, in ‘safe’ places like islands, have a much higher success rate raising their young. Can we help an endangered or threatened species with the Bird Barge?
There will be plants, shrubs and small trees on the Bird Barge. Plantings will help provide food for the residents and those passing by, attracting species in need of its seasonal offerings. Some plants will also help clean harmful substances out of the water. The Barge can be moored at a point where a polluted stream is joining a river,
and its plants will help clean the water before it flows into the larger waterway. Sculptures will be installed on the Barge to provide shelter for wildlife.
The Barge will be towed behind a boat and moored where it is needed, whether to follow bird migrations or to clean up waste sites, and will serve as a traveling environmental art exhibit. It will contain electronic monitoring systems so that its progress can be followed by home computers, nature centers, businesses and schools, as it travels the river.
The Bird Barge is planned for a large river in the Mid-Western US, and is looking for partners and sponsors. Please contact Lynne Hull if you would like to be included as a sponsor or partner, help with logistics, construction, research, or take part in the Bird Barge project in any way.
5 Visual Proposals for “Propuestas Yucatecas”, siteworks in Southern Mexico with NGO Pronatura branches in Chiapas and Merida. Canvas, with mixed media, 24″x 30″. 1997 (two of the proposals have been built, another is planned for Oaxaca)
Maquettes and Models
Building models and maquettes assists in thinking out the construction of the proposed sculpture and can be used for proposals and for assistants building the piece. It’s good to work out the problems on a small scale before attempting a large sculpture.
Aquila and Land Between
Land Between – A proposal for maintaining open space between communities on Colorado’s rapidly developing front range. Preserving Prairie Dog Colonies preserves many raptors and nearly 60 other species dependent on Prairie Dog ecological cycles.
A proposal for converting historic battery gun ports to wildlife water capture basins at Golden Gate National Recreation Area.