I believe that the creativity of artists can be applied to real world problems and can have an effect on urgent social and environmental issues. My sculpture and installations provide shelter, food, water or space for wildlife, as eco-atonement for their loss of habitat to human encroachment.
Research and consultation are essential to project success. I prefer direct collaboration with wildlife specialists, environmental interpreters, landscape architects, and local people for design integration. The artworks function in the temporal gap between the time reclamation of damaged sites begins and the time nature recovers.
Desert Hydroglyphs initiated the artwork. These carvings in rock capture precious water for desert wildlife. On the high plains, Raptor Roost sculptures provide perching and nesting for hawks and eagles who, forced off riparian trees, may be electrocuted as they substitute utility poles. Structures for many other species followed as I explored wildlife needs and learned of different eco-zones.
The impact on wildlife from natural, economic and political events continuously becomes more evident. The concepts of "acting locally" and "inhabiting our place" have been embraced with good reason. Working with two Nairobi artists in Kenya, a country with fabulous large-scale biodiversity, I could see the coming impact of a human population boom. In Northern Ireland, with workers from Colin Glenn Forest, we created spawning pools for salmon reintroduced when downstream cleanup made their survival possible, but we lost otter habitat structures to British army explosives. Working in Southern Mexico under the auspices of Pronatura, a Mexican NGO, in the high oak forests of Chiapas I found the birds who nest, summers, in California oak forests. In northern Mexico is the largest prairie dog town left in the hemisphere. Birds I know from Colorado winter there.
My current projects link communities from Canada to South America through our shared wildlife. While assisting wildlife, projects are often designed with components of sustainable economic development for humans. Some raise human awareness of our trans-species relationship and harmonious ways to live that relationship in the landscape.
I am increasingly aware that the greatest challenge faced by other species is the need for change in human values and attitudes toward conflicting rights, wants, and needs. Science daily offers new information, but do bar graphs and statistics lead to wisdom?
It has been the venue of artists, poets, philosophers to create new myths, revise the stories, encourage the shifts in attitude we must have for all to survive in the long range.
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