Norris Center & Natural Reserves Art-Science Initiative

Fort Ord Natural Reserve Field Journal, Copyright Jenny Keller 2018

In Fall 2018, The Norris Center and UC Santa Cruz Natural Reserves teamed up to present Reserves of Inspiration, an exhibit of artwork created on the five UC Santa Cruz Natural Reserves. Our goal was to highlight the reserves as amazing resources for teaching, research, inspiration, and a place where art and science come together through the careful direct observation of the natural world.

Since then, we’ve launched a 2-year collaborative effort to work together to expand opportunities that combine art and science outside at our Natural Reserves. Building upon the work both programs have already begun, we will:

  • Further our long-term goal to provide every undergraduate student an opportunity to participate in a field-based experience at one of our natural reserves.  Starting with the Rachel Carson College, we will do this by incorporating activities into the introductory core class that every incoming Rachel Carson student takes. 
  • Expand our art/science opportunities at each of our reserves. This will include:
    • More sections of our new introductory Nature Illustration class. This class will include field trips to one or more of our natural reserves.
    • New nature art workshops hosted at each of the reserves.  These workshops will be open to both students and community members.
    • Opportunities for undergraduate student artists to work with natural reserve managers and research faculty using the reserves to explore art-science synergies in both the inquiry process and communicating the results to a broad audience.
  • Begin a coordinated long-term survey to document, track, and publicize the biodiversity at all of our natural reserves. We will train undergraduate survey teams to document and collect (when appropriate) all species within different taxonomic groups found at each of our natural reserves. Included on each team will be an illustrator/artist who will help create publications, posters, and field guides about the team’s project.
Thus far, we have raised $30,000 of the $150,000 we'll need to raise over the next 2 years to launch this project.  Help us reach our goal and train the next generation of environmental leaders and change-makers!