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Here is some news shared with me by a reader in Washington, DC. Sign up soon, this class begins in September.

Here is the latest at Classes Near You > Washington DC.


United States Botanic Garden (USBG)

www.usbg.gov
The U.S. Botanic Garden was established in 1820 and is managed by the U.S. Congress. The garden serves as a living plant museum. The Corcoran College of Art & Design has partnered with the USBG and offers a certificate in botanical art and illustration through the garden. For details about exhibits, lectures, tours, and workshops at USBG, visit their Events page.

    Botany for Illustrators
    United States Botanic Garden
    Washington, DC
    Begins September 2, 2014

    Illustrators will learn plant morphology and taxonomy. This class will be held on Tuesdays through October and on a Saturday in October.
    Cost: $325 Friends, $375 non-members.

    View Details/Register

BioCommunication

I recently read a keynote address delivered at the 2010 conference of the BioCommunications Association. It was given by Domenic Screnci, Executive Director for Educational Media & Technology at Boston University. In his address he reflected on the field of biocommunication and how biocommunicators each rely upon a unique set of skills that took them years to acquire.

Everyone reading this is involved in biocommunication in one way or another and we all have an interest in using visual forms of communication. In his presentation, Screnci (2010) reflects upon the many jobs he had that contributed to his becoming a medical photographer. This made me wonder… How did we all get here? How did we become biocommunicators with a keen interest in plants and imagery?

I thought I would pose this question in this week’s teaching and learning column.

Let’s talk. I’ll start…

    In hindsight, I can now see that my experiences as a biocommunicator began 30 years ago when I worked in a college zoology lab. I used to travel to classrooms with the animals and give naturalist talks. This was followed by teaching experiences in K-8 classrooms and in college classrooms. My graduate research made me more aware of how people learn and how they make meaning. Wrap these experiences up with explorations into authentic interests such as cartography, children’s literature, books, plants, history, botanical illustration, journalism, informal education and other life experiences and you get AP.


How did you become a biocommunicator?

Briefly share your story. Please provide at least your first name so we know how to address you. You don’t have to post your last name.



Literature Cited

Screnci, Domenic. 2010. Darwin and the Survival of the BioCommunicator. Journal of BioCommunication. 36(2): E57-E63

By The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation

The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation invites you to view
Dangerous Beauty: Thorns, Spines and Prickles from September 18 to December 18, 2014. This exhibition includes artworks and books that depict the formidable and yet beautiful defensive structures of thorns, spines and prickles that have evolved to protect plants from predation. Featured are drawings, watercolors, prints and books displaying thistles, teasels, cacti, roses, berry brambles, stinging nettles and citrus trees.

The first step in appreciating these defensive structures is an understanding of what they are and how they differ from each other. In the most basic sense, thorns, spines and prickles can all refer to the sharp, stiff, woody defensive appendages found on some plants. Thorns are modified stems, as in Citrus Linnaeus. Spines are modified leaves, as in Echinocactus Link & Otto. Prickles differ in that they emerge from the epidermis, mesophyll or cortex of the plant, as in Rosa Linnaeus. Examples of these structures will be depicted in a variety of ways, from detailed scientific illustrations to loose interpretations, but all showing how beautiful these structures can be.

Left, Citron: Citrus medica [Citrus medica Linnaeus, Rutaceae], watercolor on paper by Marilena Pistoia (Italy), [pre-1984], 35 × 25.5 cm, for Laura Peroni, Il Linguaggio del Fiori (Milan, Arnoldo Mondadori, 1984, p. 53), HI Art accession no. 6773.20, © 1984 Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, Milan, All rights reserved. Center, Teasel [Dipsacus Linnaeus, Dipsacaceae], watercolor on paper by Celia Crampton (Africa/England), 2003, 37 × 28 cm, HI Art accession no. 7586, © 2003 Celia Crampton, All rights reserved. Right, Rosa canina L. [Rosa Linnaeus, Rosaceae], watercolor on paper by Petr Liska (Czech Republic), 1981, 24 × 16.5 cm, HI Art accession no. 6463, © 1981 Petr Liska, All rights reserved.

Left, Citron: Citrus medica [Citrus medica Linnaeus, Rutaceae], watercolor on paper by Marilena Pistoia (Italy), [pre-1984], 35 × 25.5 cm, for Laura Peroni, Il Linguaggio del Fiori (Milan, Arnoldo Mondadori, 1984, p. 53), HI Art accession no. 6773.20, © 1984 Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, Milan, All rights reserved.
Center, Teasel [Dipsacus Linnaeus, Dipsacaceae], watercolor on paper by Celia Crampton (Africa/England), 2003, 37 × 28 cm, HI Art accession no. 7586,
© 2003 Celia Crampton, All rights reserved.
Right, Rosa canina L. [Rosa Linnaeus, Rosaceae], watercolor on paper by Petr Liska (Czech Republic), 1981, 24 × 16.5 cm, HI Art accession no. 6463, © 1981 Petr Liska, All rights reserved.

Artists represented are Marie Angel (England, 1923–2010); Diana Carmichael (United Kingdom/South Africa, 1926–2010); Louis Claude de Chastillon (France, 1639–1734); Celia Crampton (Africa/England); Anne Ophelia Todd Dowden (United States, 1907–2007); Raymond Dowden (United States, 1905–1982); Georg Dionys Ehret (Germany/England, 1708–1770); Henry Evans (United States, 1918–1990); Alejandro Gavriloff (Estonia/Argentina, 1914–1993); Lucretia Hamilton (United States, 1908–1986); Charlotte Hannan (Germany/United States); Jeanne Russell Janish (also Mrs. Carl F. Janish; United States, 1902–1998); Christabel King (England); Carl Ignaz Leopold Kny (Germany, 1841–1916); Paul Landacre (United States, 1893–1963); Dorika Leyniers de Buyst (Belgium); Chrissie Lightfoot (England); Petr Liska (Czechoslovakia); Stanley Maltzman (United States); Yoshikaru Matsumura (Japan, 1906–1967); Roderick McEwen (Scotland, 1932–1982); Joan McGann (United States); Jeni Neale (also Jeni Barlow; England); Gunnar Normann (Sweden, 1912–2005); Marilena Pistoia (Italy); Frantisek Procházka (Czechoslovakia, 1911–1976); Pierre-Joseph Redouté (Belgium, 1759–1840); Elizabeth Rice (England); Nicolas Robert (France, 1614–1685); Christian Schkuhr (Germany, 1741–1811); Geraldine King Tam (United States); Gesina B. Threlkeld (Netherlands/United States); Unknown artist (Mexico, fl.1787–1803), Torner Collection of Sessé & Mociño Biological Illustrations; Unknown artist (United States, fl.1900s), USDA Forest Service Collection; Frederick Andrews Walpole (United States, 1861–1904). A selection of rare books from the Hunt Institute Library collection also is included in this exhibition.

Join us Thursday, September 18, 2014 from 5–7 PM for an opening reception. At 5:30 PM Assistant Curator of Art Carrie Roy will give a short introduction to the exhibition in the gallery. We will also open on Saturday, October 11, 1–4 pm, during Carnegie Mellon University’s Cèilidh Weekend festivities. Docent–led tours will be available throughout the afternoon.



Related

Cabinet of Curiosities
During Fall 2014, The Hunt’s Cabinet of Curiosities will highlight books from the Library’s collection featuring plants with thorns, spines and prickles. Humans are often undeterred by these sometimes pain-inducing plant features, finding that their sharpness can serve a purpose or that the plant is useful despite the pricks and jabs one might incur. Visit the Cabinet in the library’s lobby to explore how these plants have been utilized.

The exhibition will be on display on the 5th floor of the Hunt Library building at Carnegie Mellon University and will be open to the public free of charge.
Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 AM to Noon and 1–5 PM; Sunday, 1–4 PM (except November 23 and November 27-30). Because hours are subject to change, please call or email before your visit to confirm. For further information, contact the Hunt Institute at 412-268-2434.


About the Institute

The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, a research division of Carnegie Mellon University, specializes in the history of botany and all aspects of plant science and serves the international scientific community through research and documentation. The Institute meets the reference needs of botanists, biologists, historians, conservationists, librarians, bibliographers and the public at large, especially those concerned with any aspect of the North American flora.

Looking for a fun summer excursion?

Begin your search on the Exhibits to Visit page. Many events have been posted during the past week. Birders, botanical illustrators and naturalists are sure to find something of interest. Here are the most recent entries:


Gretchen Kai Halpert

www.gretchenhalpert.com
Gretchen Halpert is a scientific illustrator and biologist with many years of experience creating illustrations for the medical field, for scientific research, and for commercial clients. Gretchen also teaches classes in the book arts and leads journaling classes.

    Botanical Illustration in Watercolor
    August 7, 2014
    10 AM – 4 PM
    An introduction to scientific illustration, drawing with accuracy, attention to detail, and a watercolor technique of slowly building layers of mixed color. This workshop will be held at Running with Scissors artist studio in Portland, Maine.
    View Details/Register

This information can also be found at Classes Near You > New York and
Classes Near You > Maine.

Morning Light (Theodore Payne Headquarters Building), Oil, © 2014 Frank Lennartz. All rights reserved.

Morning Light (Theodore Payne Headquarters Building), Oil, © 2014 Frank Lennartz. All rights reserved.

Plein Air Painting of Theodore Payne Foundation by the San Fernando Valley Art Club
Theodore Payne Foundation
Sun Valley, CA
July 3 – August 16, 2014

This past Spring, members of the San Fernando Valley Art Club gathered at the Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley, CA to sketch and paint en plein air. The paintings created during these springtime visits are now on view in the Theodore Payne Gallery. The Foundation invites you to visit the Gallery to view this special exhibition.

The Theodore Payne Arts Council explains:

En plein air is a French expression meaning “in the open air,” and is used to describe the act of painting outdoors. Artists have long painted outside. However, in the mid-19th century, working in natural light became increasingly important to multiple schools of art, including the Impressionists, whose work focused on ordinary subject matter and the changing qualities of light. 


The popularity of plein air painting increased in the 1870s with the introduction of paint in tubes, which replaced the task of grinding and mixing dry pigment powders with linseed oil. The box easel was invented during this period, increasing the ease and portability of art supplies. In the mid-20th century, the invention of fast-drying, water-based acrylic paint added yet another convenience.

Visit the Theodore Payne Gallery

This exhibition has been added to the Exhibits to Visit page.

There is a new resource for educators introducing students to coastal ecosystems, wetlands and watersheds. This new resource is CA Outdoor EDU and it was created by Ian Bernstein, an Environmental Studies graduate from UC Santa Cruz whose passion is education and environmental stewardship.

The CA Outdoor EDU website is brand new and resources will be added on a continuing basis. Visit CA Outdoor EDU and you’ll discover activities about the following topics: ocean tides, intertidal zonation, tide pool ecology, plant ecology and nature studies. You may be especially interested in the handouts for the plant ecology and nature study activities because both involve observation, drawing and writing.

Today we have the opportunity to learn more about this website and its creator.

Please join me in welcoming Ian Bernstein!



Ian, why did you choose to major in Environmental Studies?

I always knew I wanted to get into something involving the environment and didn’t know what I wanted to do at first. I started taking environmental studies classes on ecology and the environment and environmental literacy and fell in love.


You have lead environmental programs for California State Parks, Ballona Wetlands and are now at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. What have you learned about creating programs for the public?

Creating programs for the public you have to know your target audience and also be aware of how you approach any subject so that you can speak not only to your target but also anyone that happens to wander in and want to take part.


Sometimes parents, grandparents or guardians find themselves in the position of having to lead a group of young naturalists in an activity at summer camp or scout camp. What advice do you have for individuals who suddenly find themselves in the position of being a front-line interpreter?

Open ended questions are the best way to encourage scientific discovery and fuel creative exploration of the outdoors. Simply asking questions that ask them how and why will make all the difference.


I see you are also a photographer and an avid traveler. How have your photography and travel experiences informed your environmental education programs?

I have been all over the world and seen so many sights — but the most stunning thing I have found isn’t the number of places, but the quality of time I have spent in those places enjoying what was around me instead of trying to make sense of it. This has definitely helped me develop my nature experience and in turn my approach to how to best facilitate this in formal and non-formal school situations.


What are your plans for CA Outdoor EDU? What kind of a resource do you want to create?

I hope to create a resource that helps people to have a nature experience. This can happen anywhere from seeing an ant on the sidewalk in downtown Los Angeles to walking through the redwood forests of northern California in Santa Cruz.



Readers,

Do you have questions for Ian about CA Outdoor EDU and how you can use it in your classroom or program?

You are invited to ask Ian questions.
Please type your questions or comments in the Comment box below.



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