East Hills art teacher Christina Rayburn recently brought 8th grade 3-D Visual Arts students to the Johnson Nature Center to explore ephemerals and invasive plants as part of a weaving project. Brooke Larm, Education Specialist for the Johnson Nature Center and Bowers Farm, explains, “We've been working to integrate the arts into our programs and opportunities, collaborating with the DK-12 visual arts team across the grades. Nature and art are a magical combination!” Rayburn shares, “It was a lot of fun and it really helped get the students involved and inspired for our ephemeral art unit. I hope we can do a similar unit and activity next year!” Ephemeral art describes a piece of art that occurs only once, and cannot be embodied in a lasting object.
Eleva Potter, an Interpretive Guide at the Johnson Nature Center, explains, “The idea came about from brainstorming that Christina and I did. I've done nature weavings with invasive species at an environmental high school in the past, so I thought that would be a great way to interweave art and science by having the students identify invasive plants, remove them from the nature center, and use them to create art that is open to the public to enjoy on the nature center trails. The students learned to identify and remove Oriental Bittersweet, Garlic Mustard and European Buckthorn. We were inspired by the work of Andy Goldsworthy and Patrick Doughty.” Brooke explains, “This work creates greater cohesion among science and art curricula and beyond through the use of research-based practices that support the BHS Disposition of Learner profile. Opportunities such as this draw positive attention to our district and further strengthen the value of nature-based education through formal and non-formal experiences for all ages.”