“Water Songs, Bird Songs” On my first visit to The Land/An Art Site, I realized that the limiting factor for wildlife is lack of water. Desert animals adapt to extreme low water conditions, but more diversity of species is present with more water available. At The Land, water is very sporadic, washing, often flooding, down the arroyo from summer thunderstorms, rarely staying for more than a few hours or perhaps a day or two.
When I learned of the work of water engineer Bill Zeedyk, who restores arroyos with small, handbuilt interventions of stone and native plants, I wanted to learn enough to help the arroyo create small pools which would hold water longer for wildlife. The stone experiments in the arroyo are intended to create pools and reduce erosion at specific points. As the water flows over the sculptures it will produce a slightly different sound than the previous channel did: we are scoring new songs for the water to sing. I am also installing “singing posts” for birds near the stone weirs and vanes, to encourage a duet between birds and water.
In Colombia, Artists Lynne Hull & Patricia Lara spent a week in the colorful small city of Jericho, working with the community to raise awareness of the rich local wildlife and the possibility of locating and planting a wildlife corridor to connect two nature reserves. This will be accomplished by planting several miles of trees across current pasture area. With the community, we created a demonstration site near a waterfall of planting new trees with stone “media-lunas” to direct groundwater to the trees. Patricia directed many women and children to create an embroidered “map” of their place and wildlife. Lynne helped the schoolchildren create animal head-dresses and cardboard “tree” costumes, for a “Procession of the Species”. We marched with a local band from the school to the plaza and had a tiny fiesta to increase awareness. Lynne also went to the park several mornings where an Irish/Colombian artist was drawing the local people; instead for that week he drew local wildlife species and Lynne took the images and erased them as a symbol that we are losing so many species. All these were photographed by Marlon Vasquez and displayed in an exhibit in Galleria Colombo Americano in Medellin.
La Cienega Grande Parque Nacional is a huge mangrove lagoon on the Caribean coast of Colombia. Oscar Leone and I spent time there getting to know the ecology and the community of Nueva Venizia. Later we created artworks addressing the ecological and social challenges.
Lynne created “Wildlife Warning” signs in reference to scientific reports on impacts of global warming on wildlife species. A take-off on highway vehicle warning signs, these signs warn wildlife species of danger from global warming. Some early casualties will be bats (drying up of water sources near roosts), Lynx (shrinking corridors to reach habitat pockets), Preables Meadow Jumping Mouse (loss of riparian habitat), Pika (loss of alpine habitat), and Polar bears (loss of ice floats to reach hunting areas).
Each species is drawn, then erased to a “ghost” image.