Tag Archives: artwork

Inspiring Others Through Art

Today we’re hearing from Logan Sauer, a University of Maine student and former Youth Conservation Corps intern at Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Virginia. Logan shares his love for the outdoors with others through his artwork and culinary skills, and his story is one you won’t soon forget.

Logan is making waves, and certainly enjoying them while studying abroad in Australia. His experience with YCC has influenced his major and his daily life, while his artwork continues to inspire ours. When Logan gifted Potomac River NWR Complex his beautiful painting of native wildlife, it was too good not to share with everyone! We’ve asked him a few questions about his art, his time with YCC, and his connection to the natural world.

What do you enjoy doing most in the outdoors and why?

“I enjoy hiking, creating art, being with family and friends, and traveling. I enjoy hiking because it takes me to places I’ve never been and especially somewhere to escape all the noise. Hiking is a great time to think a lot of things over and it can also provide a place to not think at all and just embrace the beauty of the natural world.

“Whenever I am home for break I always visit the refuge. How could I not? The refuge staff gave me a priceless experience and I felt the need to give back. During the spring semester of my sophomore year I had the idea of creating a painting for the refuge. My initial idea was to create a painting that showcased one major animal from different refuges all across the country, but I felt that this painting needed to be more personal, so I came up with the idea of painting the major fauna that are found within the Potomac River NWR Complex.”

What inspires your art and what is your favorite medium?

“I’ve been interested in art ever since I was little and my artwork developed over time through a variety of mediums.  In grades 6-12 I was more interested in using pencils and I would never want to use any other medium. In grade 10 I got my first set of Prismacolor pencils, which are better at blending seamlessly and that is when my artwork started to transform. Animals and landscapes really inspire me. The natural beauty that we are surrounded by is unlike anything that can be replicated in our world of technology.

“Also, watching the Food Network might have influenced my artistic talents. My mother and I enjoyed watching baking shows together and over time I developed a love for baking.  Baking and cooking and creating art are awesome stress relievers for me. I often stress bake at school before an assignment is due. Both activities require patience and attention to detail which brings me to a calm state of mind. ”

Do you think Youth Conservation Corps has helped shape you or your academic or career choices or strengthened your relationship with the outdoors?

“I definitely think that YCC brought me closer to the outdoors. For most of the day our crew was outside completing our assigned tasks. One thing that our crew was interested in was species identification. We identified many plants, fungi, insects, reptiles, and birds. We even had a Facebook page dedicated to the work we had done on the refuge and the flora/fauna we identified along the way. Knowing what surrounds you in nature feels rewarding instead of just walking down a trail and passing all these amazing organisms.”

What would you tell someone who is interested in trying YCC?

“For anyone interested in trying YCC I would say go for it! I must warn you that not all YCC programs are the same. It was my coworkers and the refuge employees that made my experience enjoyable and worth every minute. I would say go in with an open mind just as with anything in life and try to make the most out of the time while being a part of YCC.

I want to work with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Park Service in the future. I want to do what I love while I search for the perfect workplace family and can recognize that I am happy and that I am in the right place. Only a few places that I have worked have I actually enjoyed but nothing comes close to being in the YCC at the Potomac River  NWR Complex.”

An Artistic Twist on Conservation

Art classes at Yarmouth High School in Maine are channeling their creativity in a new direction.  Students, led by internationally known artist Tim Christensen and Yarmouth High School Art Teacher Holly Houston, are creating clay masterpieces to showcase endangered wildlife from across the globe. The results are stunning and serve as an artistic display of the beauty in nature we strive to protect every day.

Students researched threatened and endangered critters to best convey their subjects through art. The students used clay to create sculptures, pots and tiles and later incorporated food and habitat needs and animal adaptations into their artwork using sgraffito, a carving technique. The contrast of light carvings on the dark surface draws the eye to every detail.

Each student approached the the assignment in a creative way to raise awareness for the species of their choosing. Not only did they develop new techniques for clay, but they learned how to share meaningful conservation messages through art.

Alex’s inspiration was the New England cottontail. “I was concerned with the endangered animals that live near and around me. This animal is found in young forest habitats which are depleted in this area and more habitat is needed to help it recover.”

Kelcie chose the piping plover as her focal species. “I chose the piping plover because it is an animal I am familiar with but did not know it was endangered before I started this project. The piping plover is found along the Atlantic Coast, including Maine. If you’ve been to the beach you have probably seen these birds before. They enjoy nesting on the beach near the dunes and forage for food near the waves. Unfortunately our presence of the beach has disrupted their habitat. In order for them to repopulate we need to give them space to breed and live.”

Daly describes how she planned to convey what she researched about the roseate tern through her work. “The viewer would be able to see where the roseate tern lived and what it ate, as well as their flight patterns. My primary goal with this piece was to convey this animal in the middle of an action, such as fishing or flying. The tern at the top was placed there in order to show how the Tern glided through the air, which would give the viewer clues about what kind of bird it was. The central tern was placed in order to show it capturing its food, something that also provides important information about this animal to the viewer.”

Many students had similar accounts; drawing attention to wildlife that need it most. Their work shows many species that are protected in many different ecosystems across the globe. For many species, work has been done to protect both wildlife and their habitat but much more is needed to ensure their survival. Click here to learn more about endangered species and how you can help!

 

Anisha Kundu.

Mass. 4th grader wins category of national endangered species art contest

Anisha Kundu.

Congratulations to Anisha Kundu of Sudbury, Mass., for winning the 3-5 grade category of the 2013 Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest! Anisha painted a humpback whale in watercolor. Read below to learn more about her and why she chose this animal. Credit: Kundu family

Watercolor painting

The art contest provides young people with an opportunity to learn about endangered species, like the endangered humpback whale, and express their knowledge and support through artwork. A prestigious panel of artists, photographers and conservationists judge the artwork.

Q. Why did you enter the Endangered Species Day art contest?
A. I love art and I love drawing. It’s fun, entertains you and helps you relax. I love drawing nature.

Q. Why are you interested in endangered animals?
A. I’m interested in endangered animals because they might go extinct soon. It is sad to see animals die, and we’ll have none left.

Q. Why did you choose the endangered humpback whale?
A. They make these noises that can be heard long distances. They are also very large and the females are larger than males, which is super cool. We went on a whale watching trip, and we got an awesome view of a few whales.

I added a fishing boat because whales are most endangered, like humpback whales, because they get caught in fishing gear like nets or anchors. So I thought I would add that too.

Q. Are you excited to have won?
Yes. I hope that by drawing a humpback whale, it can help the population of these whales increase by raising awareness.

Q. Will you do more watercolor paintings?
A. Yes. I also entered in the Junior Duck stamp contest with a watercolor painting. I love ocean life so I was thinking about painting turtles or other underwater animals.

Learn about the other winners.