Now at ArtPlantae, $20

Now at ArtPlantae, $20

Weird, Wild & Wonderful
Second New York Botanical Garden Triennial Exhibition
Bronx, NY
April 17 – Sept 21, 2014

Forty-six members of the American Society of Botanical Artists spent three years studying the unfamiliar and unusual side of plants. Their observations are celebrated in the Weird, Wild & Wonderful exhibition opening this afternoon at the New York Botanical Garden.

This breathtaking 11″ x 11″ catalog features the botanical art of 46 members of the American Society of Botanical Artists. Exhibition pieces were created in the following media: watercolor, colored pencil, graphite, oil, pen and ink, aquatint etching, gouache, vinyl paint on film and watercolor on vellum.

Also included are:

  • A Foreword by Gregory Long, President/CEO, New York Botanical Garden
  • “Impossible Plants”, an essay by Karen Reeds, Ph.D., FLS
  • Artist Interviews by Myra Sourkes

More about “Weird, Wild & Wonderful”

Get the catalog

Download flyer, Share it with SciArt Friends

Download flyer, Share with SciArt friends

Don’t miss these summertime learning opportunities. Here is what’s new at Classes Near You > Massachusetts:

ART+BIO Collaborative

The ART+BIO Collaborative in Cambridge, MA fosters the integration of science, nature, and art through novel collaborations, research, and education. They design innovative art+science curriculum and turn public spaces into interactive learning environments.

    ISLAND LIFE: Tropical Field Studies of Art+Nature in Puerto Rico
    June 7-14, 2014
    Embark on an artistic exploration of the diverse tropical wildlife of Puerto Rico, including rainforest, mountain, beach and coastal environments.
    Registration Deadline: May 19, 2014
    View Details/Register

    DESERT LIFE: Field Studies of Art+Nature in the Southwest

    August 9-16, 2014
    Discover the unique beauty of the desert in this one-of-a-kind artistic journey through white sand dunes, black lava rock, underground caverns, and mountain landscapes of West Texas and New Mexico.
    Registration Deadline: July 21, 2014
    View Details/Register

Plants, Life, Riverside is an ongoing interpretive project about plants in an urban setting. Today we learn about the river flowing through this urban landscape.

The city of Riverside has the name that it does because of its proximity to a river that flows through town. Unfortunately many area residents are unaware of the river’s presence and never linked the name of their city to this natural waterway.

Increasing public awareness about the river, increasing the public’s use of the river and increasing public stewardship of the river are the core objectives of the Santa Ana River Trust, an organization founded in 2011 under the fiscal sponsorship of the Riverside Land Conservancy. 

How did the Santa Ana River disappear from public view?

The river became invisible for a few reasons, explains Amber Dobson, Program Director. Dobson first cites a long period during which development turned its back on the river. She also explains that in the early 1800s, a waste dump was built adjacent to the river. Compounding the river’s visibility problem is the fact that the Santa Ana River doesn’t match the public’s idea of what a river should be. Lined with concrete in certain sections and planted with large concrete energy dissipaters, the Santa Ana River doesn’t look like a river one might see in a more natural open space area.

Traveling alongside the river is the Santa Ana River Trail, a soon-to-be 110-mile bike path and pedestrian trail. I asked Dobson if people were more aware of the trail than the river and she said a small part of the community is aware of the recreational trail. While it is popular with cyclists and some joggers, they do not seem to be aware that it serves as a backdrop to a wildlife corridor.

Determining what the public knows and does not know about the river is a task that Dobson and colleague Rachel Hamilton address each year in a public survey. Their annual survey is posted on the Trust’s website and Facebook page each August and remains up through the end of the year. During this survey period, Dobson and Hamilton bring paper surveys to the trail so that trail users can also participate. Two years’ worth of public comments have revealed that the top concern of trail users is the availability of restroom facilities and safety.

For those of you not familiar with the Santa Ana River, the river has a bit of a negative reputation. The Trust is addressing this by holding family events, nature walks and fundraisers to educate the public about all issues concerning this waterway. They also organize public clean-up days with the group Keep Riverside Clean & Beautiful, an entity of the city’s Public Works department. The Trust is currently working with the Mission Inn Foundation to become involved in the construction of a soft trail, a trail for walkers and joggers that will be constructed along the paved trail. The soft trail will separate pedestrians and cyclists and is an effort to reduce the number of accidents that occur on the path.

Recently respondents have expressed interest in using the river for recreational purposes. Swimming is already a popular activity during spring and summer, as is fishing. Both activities have occurred for many years. There is new interest in kayaking, an activity that coincidentally, is a new recreational activity occurring in the Los Angeles River. 

Interestingly, Dobson says that when she speaks about the Santa Ana River in Los Angeles, she receives a more positive reaction from L.A. residents than she does from residents in the Inland Empire. She credits the river revitalization efforts in the L.A. area with establishing a more river-minded community.

I asked Dobson what the biggest misperception is of the river and she said the public holds two misconceptions. The first being the river’s existence and the second being the quality of the water in the river. She said people have the perception that the water is very dirty. However it is actually cleaner than most people think. The Trust has performed water quality tests with Pomona College and Inland Empire Waterkeeper and results show the water is clean and safe for body contact. 

Visit the River

Would you like to learn more about the Santa Ana River and visit it yourself? 

Residents of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties can access the trail at several locations. Visit the website of the Santa Ana River Trail & Parkway to view the location of each trailhead and to learn more about the river.

Riverside residents can view the trail from many locations in the city. Dobson recommends three easy-access viewing locations where residents can experience the river and its natural environment:

  • Walk to the top of Mt. Rubidoux for a panoramic view of the river.
  • Visit Martha McLean/Anza Narrows Park to see the river and to access the Santa Ana River Trail.
  • Views of the lush landscape growing along the river can be enjoyed at Rancho Jurupa Park.

Get Involved

  • Jurupa Valley Community Clean-up Event
    Go to the Santa Ana River Trust website and click on “Programs.”
  • Help the Santa Ana River Trust Create the Santa Ana River Conservancy
    Supporting the creation of the Santa Ana River Conservancy will help preserve and restore the Santa Ana River. Use the sample letter or write your own explaining how important it is to you (a citizen living near the Santa Ana) to have state support for the longest river in Southern California. To learn more, see SB-1390 Santa Ana River Conservancy.

Connect with the Santa Ana River Trust

Contact the Trust at membership@santaanarivertrust.org.

More About the Santa Ana Watershed

Learn about the Santa Ana Watershed Association

Surface Textures Web Class 1Mt. Cuba Center
Mt. Cuba Center is a botanical garden in Hockessin, DE dedicated to the conservation, display, and research of native plants. Their woodland wildflower gardens are recognized as the area’s finest. The Center hosts many interesting classes related to plants, gardening and the arts. View their full schedule of on-site classes and distance learning classes on their website.

    Surface Textures in Botanical Art
Friday, May 2 – Sunday, May 4 

    10:00 am – 3:00 pm

    Have you ever wished you could enliven your paintings by capturing the velvety surface of a petal, the shiny slickness of a leaf, the fuzziness of new growth, or the spiny quality of an interesting fruit? This workshop explores the fascinating variety of surfaces presented to us in nature and shows ways to incorporate these textures into paintings using pencils and watercolors. Demonstrations of several painting techniques and instruction on selecting the right approach for each surface are provided. Beginners to experts will improve their skills. Contact Mt. Cuba Center for a materials list. Bring your lunch.

    Linda Gist is an accomplished artist who teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her work is in many private collections, and she has had solo exhibitions at Cabrini College and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

    Cost: $150

    View Details/Register

    Spring Photography Stroll with Chris Starr

    Saturday, May 10

    7:00 am – 11:00 am

    Enjoy this early morning opportunity to photograph the gardens of
    Mt. Cuba Center. Photographers of all experience levels, from novices to experts, receive expertise and guidance on the technical and aesthetic elements of photography. Chris Starr, an experienced photographer, shares advice, techniques, inspiration, and encouragement to all. Bring your camera lenses and camera manual. Be prepared to walk outdoors.

    Chris Starr is an experienced photographer who has played many roles at Mt. Cuba Center since 1984. Currently he is a member of the grounds team.

    Cost: $20
    View Details/Register

    Photograph Great Gardens of the Mid-Atlantic with Allen Rokach

    Dates & Times of Class:
Wednesday, May 14: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm Orientation
    Thursday, May 15: 5:45 am – 4:00 pm
    Friday, May 16: 5:45 am – 4:00 pm
    Saturday, May 17: 5:45 am – 4:00 pm
    Sunday, May 18: 5:45 am – 4:00 pm
    Monday, May 19: 5:45 am – 4:00 pm

    Don’t miss this opportunity to visit and photograph four magnificent Mid- Atlantic gardens: Mt. Cuba Center; Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library; Longwood Gardens; and Chanticleer. Master photographer Allen Rokach leads an intensive garden photography workshop at the height of spring bloom. Exclusive access at sunrise to all four gardens allows students to explore and capture the special qualities of early morning light with an expert. Return to Mt. Cuba Center for lectures, review sessions, and individual consultations. Participants at all levels of photographic experience will receive in-depth instruction on the technical and aesthetic aspects of digital garden photography. Bring your lunch.
    Contact education@mtcubacenter.org for more details and a recommended equipment list.

    Allen Rokach is an experienced and active photography educator whose photography assignments have taken him around the world. His images are included in numerous national publications such as Horticulture and Popular Photography.

    Cost: $500
    View Details/Register

    Create a Living Violet Wreath

Wednesday, June 4

    10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Design a living circlet of plants using Mt. Cuba Center’s recent plant introduction, Viola walteri ‘Silver Gem’. Learn how to plant and maintain a beautiful living wreath. Add a stunning accent to a shady area of your garden as a centerpiece on a patio table or as a wall hanging. All materials are provided, but please bring garden gloves.

    Donna Wiley is the horticulturist for Mt. Cuba Center’s Formal Gardens. Her expertise includes container gardening and floral arranging.

Cost: $65 (materials included)
    View Details/Register

    Essentials of Plein Air Painting

    Dates of Class:
    Saturday, June 7: Getting Started with Plein Air
    Saturday, June 14: Composition and Perspective
    Monday, June 23: Painting the Landscape
    Tuesday, June 24: Painting Florals and Plants
    Wednesday, June 25: Painting Plein Air

    8:30 am – 3:00 pm, each session

    Learn plein air techniques while enjoying the beauty of Mt. Cuba Center’s gardens. Each day, Jacalyn Beam will discuss and demonstrate different skill sets for painting with oils or watercolors. Whether you are a novice or an experienced artist, Jacalyn will help bring out the best in your work. Attend all five sessions or select individual days. Bring your lunch. Please contact education@mtcubacenter.org for a materials list.

    Jacalyn Beam, PhD is an active member of the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painting Association where she serves on the Board of Directors. She always had a passion for painting and specializes in images of the Brandywine Valley.

Cost: $450 for the series or $100 per day
    View Details/Register

    Fabricate a Trillium Postcard

    Tuesday, July 1
    9:30 am – 12:00 pm

    Create a work of art inspired by the natural world: make a unique trillium postcard using paper and cloth. Join local fabric artist, Terry Kramzar, as she guides you through this delightful and novel craft. Trillium patterns and all materials are provided. Just bring your curiosity and creativity to class!

    Terry Kramzar is a local art quilter who exhibits widely in juried and invitational shows. Terry’s quilts can be seen in numerous publications including 500 Art Quilts by Lark Books, and she was recently featured in TheQuiltLifeMagazine.

Cost: $$45 (materials included)
    View Details/Register

This information can also be found at Classes Near You > Delaware.

Lewisham Arthouse, London

The Lewisham Arthouse once served as the central library of Deptford. Designed by architect Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas (1868-1948) and funded by Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), this former library is now a public gallery and studio space for professional artists. Artist studios are open to the public once per year. Exhibitions in the gallery are open to the public year-round, free of charge. Botanical illustration classes are taught by Alison Day.

    Drawing from Plant Life:
    An Introductory Course in Botanical Illustration for All

    April 28 2014 – July 7, 2104
    Mondays, 1:00 – 2:30 PM

    This introductory course aims to provide an opportunity to explore the art and science of botanical Illustration. Students will have the opportunity to explore both drawing and painting plants, whilst learning a range of graphic techniques used to represent plant material. Some basic theory is taught and, where relevant, historical and contemporary practice is referenced. This course is taught by a practicing artist who has a background in the science of botany and the practice of fine art.

    Students are asked to bring their own ideas and specimens to the course. Basic materials are provided, together with reference literature. Students must provide their own sketchbook pencils and colours.

    All are welcome, no experience needed. Class size is limited so to provide a supportive and relaxed learning environment.

    Cost: £95/90 concessions for ten weeks

    The Lewisham Arthouse
    140 Lewisham Way
    New Cross, London SE14 6PD

    Pre-registration is required. For more information and to register, contact Alison Day.

This information has also been added to Classes Near You > England.

Northern California Readers, click image to download flyer.

Northern California Readers, click image to download flyer.

The Gardens at Heather Farm will host their annual Mother’s Day event on May 11, 2014 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at The Gardens on 1540 Marchbanks Drive in Walnut Creek.

Relax and enjoy soothing music provided by InSteel Caribbean Steel Drummers.

Bring a blanket and have a picnic in the Meadow Garden, stroll along the winding paths of 24 unique gardens, or simply sit on a bench and soak up the natural beauty of the breathtaking surroundings.

Storytelling sessions will be held in the Gazebo at 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm. There will also be root beer floats for $3 and fundraising prizes. Tickets will be available for purchase on the day of the event.

The craft activities for all ages and gift items for sale by local Bay Area artists are not to be missed!

All proceeds from this event support garden programs for youth, adults, and persons with disabilities.

Directions to The Gardens at Heather Farm

Stories. Timelines. Visual data. Photosynthesis. Botanical art.

You’ll find them all in Historical Plant Studies: Tools for Enhancing Students’ Understanding of Photosynthesis by Dr. Stephen Thompson, professor of science education at the University of South Carolina.

Using the 5E learning model, Thompson helps students connect with scientists who, centuries ago, worked diligently to explain the source of plant matter.
Thompson (2014) prepares historical accounts of their studies and assigns one scientist to each student group in his class. Thompson’s students learn about the research of Jan Baptista van Helmont (1649), John Woodward (late 1600s) and Stephen Hales (1727), Joseph Priestly (1770s), Jan Ingenhousz (1790s) and Nicolas-Theodore de Saussure (1804).

After reading about the contributions made by their respective scientist, each student group begins the task of preparing an informational poster featuring their scientist’s hypothesis, materials and methods, results and conclusions.
Thompson (2014) encourages students to create their posters using mostly visual information and only the amount of text necessary to explain key information.

When completed, student posters are placed along a historical timeline and are presented in chronological order. As students present their poster,
Thompson (2014) gently corrects student misconceptions. Students are then asked to create a graphic organizer summarizing each study and are asked to draw models and write a description for one of the studies (Thompson, 2014). Thompson uses the drawing and writing exercise as an assessment tool to evaluate student understanding.

Photosynthesis is not an easy concept to grasp. Fortunately, Thompson (2014) makes this topic easy to understand and easy to teach, thanks to him sharing his written passages with fellow teachers. Get a copy of Historical Plant Studies and you’ll be ready to try this activity yourself and be ready to help students tell the story of how plants make food.

Thompson (2014) can be purchased online for 99¢ from the NSTA Science Store. You can also look for this article at your local college library.

Literature Cited

Thompson, Stephen. 2014. Historical plant studies: Tools for enhancing students’ understanding of photosynthesis. Science Scope. 37(6): 43-53


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