Students, faculty, and staff members gathered at the Rinker Environmental Learning Center to reflect on how the Volusia Sandhill Ecosystem restoration has evolved since its initiation in 2011. The transformation from a grass monoculture to a diverse system of Florida native plants has led to concomitant increases in the number of visiting pollinators and other beneficial invertebrates, as well as birds, reptiles, and amphibians. This exponential increase in biodiversity is a result of everyday activism. This activism - by students, researchers, and community volunteers- has meant the addition of native seeds, and the sharing of knowledge through educational outreach programs.
The results of this activism are portrayed through the textile panels. As a first step, participants shared their unique interpretations of the present ecosystem through photography, creative writing, watercolor painting, or nature journaling. Then I selected a motif from every art submission and compiled them into Adobe Illustrator. Using a low fidelity image trace, each motif was stylized and crafted into a cohesive unit that was then inkjet printed onto cotton fabric. Given that our perceptions of natural beauty are often clouded by formulated landscapes, this piece encourages us to recognize the intricate systems that make up a native landscape and redefine how we interact with nature. After all, finding ways to work with nature instead of against it often means changing our own patterns.
Contributors: Jenna Palmisano, Justin Pinero, Stephanie Hanson, Cynthia Bennington, and Karen Cole.