Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Art exhibit features predators and prey of Alaska
The Fairbanks’ First Friday event of fiber art, painting, sculpture, prose and more is inspired by the science of how predators affect the land through ecological phenomena called trophic cascades, and what happens when key predators, prey or plants are introduced or removed.
“Art and science bring different, but complimentary, ways of looking at the natural world,” said Mary Beth Leigh, University of Alaska Fairbanks scientist and producer of Trophic Cascades. “We hope to help strengthen people’s sense of place in the environment.”
Nearly a dozen Alaska artists created original work that shows new ways of expressing the essential ideas behind the complex web of interdependence among animals, people, plants and the ecosystem.
“Trophic cascades can be fairly straightforward. When there are more wolves, they eat more moose, then there are less moose to eat the willows, and then there are lots more willows,” said Leigh, a microbiologist with the UAF Institute of Arctic Biology. “Sometimes, the trickle-down effects can really surprise you.”
The Alaska-based artist and scientist exhibit is a collaboration among UAF’s Bonanza Creek Long-Term Ecological Research program, Denali National Park and Preserve and the park’s Murie Science and Learning Center and the Fairbanks Arts Association.
“In a Time of Change” is an art-science collaborative program founded in 2008 and supported by the Bonanza Creek LTER program, part of UAF’s Institute of Arctic Biology, with the goal of linking science with the arts and humanities to foster new conversations about our connection to the natural world. The exhibit ends Aug. 31.