A Wilderness Science and Art Collaboration

Aldo & Leonardo, a partnership between Colorado Art Ranch and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, is a project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The project is inspired by the scientific wisdom of Aldo Leopold and the artistic genius of Leonardo da Vinci. Our endeavor is an interdisciplinary collaboration of artists and scientists designed to celebrate the lands, resources and opportunities protected by the Wilderness Act. In 2013, we are hosting one-month residencies in six diverse wilderness areas. Artists will work alongside wildland research scientists and gain firsthand knowledge of the wonders, complexities and challenges of our nation's wildest places. The result will be a body of work that creatively illustrates the value of wild areas and honors the scientific efforts to preserve wilderness for the next fifty years.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Learning from Nature

By Troy Nickle

I am very excited and grateful that I have been one of the artists selected for the Aldo & Leonardo / Colorado Art Ranch residency at the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. I feel there is something profound in learning about nature, exploring the landscape and the intuitive connections between science and art. This will be my second residency with the pairing of science and art in mind. Last spring, I had the opportunity to spend a month at Beauvais Lake Provincial Park in southern Alberta, Canada. The project was in collaboration with Alberta Parks, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, the Field Notes Collective and the Southern Alberta Land Trust Society. During the residency I was involved in creating an art activity for a grade 5 wetland field study. I would also take part in leading the field study where students would learn about the ecosystem, animal adaptations, the available water on land and the importance of wetlands. While in the park I began to develop a deep appreciation for the landscape and the rich diversity of flora and fauna while taking hikes, developing artwork and making site sensitive interventions within the park. I am looking forward to learning about The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and making new connections ahead. I think nature can be one of our greatest teachers and I am so excited to be able to work with two other talented artists, Katherine Ball and Anaya Cullen. I am somewhat embarrassed by the fact that I have not been east of Saskatchewan / Montana so this will be a time of discovery and exploring new terrain. I am very interested in responding creatively to the new knowledge learned through helping conduct research, exploring, and the overall experience. I look forward to embarking on this journey with the many other talented artists, scientists and explorers, past and present, who have instilled in us creativity, adventure, discovery and a sense of wonder. As Albert Einstein said, " Look deep into nature, then you will understand everything better."

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