Virginia Coast Reserve LTER

Program/project name: none as of yet

Brief description of program/project development and components or hopes: No concrete plans as yet., but potential ideas abound:

1)     A class for public school art teachers that combined teaching painting techniques with discussions of ecology/environmental issues.   This way the art teachers could take both the artistic and scientific knowledge they learned back to their schools.  We would require the participating teachers to submit one painting with a 1-2 paragraph description/discussion of an ecological/environmental issue central to the painting.  These could be taken on a traveling exhibition or used to produce a calendar.

2)     Another idea that would work well at the VCR-LTER is to host a 2 week writers retreat/workshop for either fiction or non-fiction writers.  Participants would be taken on a series of tours around the VCR and given short lectures each day about the local history and environmental issues.  They would then be asked to incorporate this information into their writings.  These could be compiled in a collection, and archived for comparison with other sites or previous years.

3)     The VCR is impacted by a number of invasive/introduced species.  Some of these were not immediately recognized as such, since they look so similar to our native species.  As a result, it would be useful to teach a class in biological illustration to document local species, potential shifts in species morphology etc.

Relationship with core science, education, cultural programs at the site: Artists and Scientists rely on some similar skills.  The most important of which is observation.   Scientists ask questions based on their observations and find ways to answer these questions.  Artists use their media to reinterpret their observations which often allow others to view the world in new or different ways, potentially seeing new details in their everyday lives.  As a result, both groups can benefit by learning from each other, and discover ways to improve their observational skills.  They can also learn new/more efficient mechanisms of translating their observations to others.  Art may also help build a bridge and introduce science/ecology/environmental issues to a broader audience.

System for sharing and archiving outcomes: potential mechanisms include use of the facility web page, traveling exhibits that could include stops at local museums, art galleries, libraries and college campuses of participating VCR-LTER PIs

Contact person(s): Art Schwarzschild,