Wired to the Natural World
You can easily make the art- science connec- tion in your art
curriculum with ecology if you know
where to look. Begin your eco-journey
by exploring the following online
resources, and bring the outdoor environment into your artroom.
Ecology and Art
Learn how to integrate ecology into
your curriculum starting with the
Green Museum ( greenmuseum.org/c/
aen). This website hosts a variety of
cultural tools for teachers in addition
to a great online exhibition showcasing
contemporary ecology art and artists.
Discover blogs related to art and
ecology from which you can draw lesson inspiration. Some of my favorites
include Design Squish (www.blog.
designsquish.com), Ecoviz (ecoviz.
org), and Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (
Eco-Art Practice and Multimedia
Explore how artists have connected
with problems that face our natural
world through Art21’s online “Ecol-
ogy” episode ( goo.gl/wUUIv).
You can also teach your students
about ecology on a daily basis as you
take eco-friendly practices directly
into your artroom. Watch the student-created video “Let’s Be Green When
We Clean” and connect paper and
water waste to societal problems
such as deforestation and water
quality around the world (vimeo.
The Museum of Science offers another
online interactive, Aviary Architect,
which emphasises the importance
of good design for animal habitats
( tinyurl.com/AviaryDesign). This
allows users to utilize design concepts
while creating a sustainable home
for birds living in different regions
throughout the world. Use Aviary
Architect as an online activity alone,
or extend these virtual habitats into
an art production.
Another online interactive called
Phototropism ( goo.gl/8CtzZ) lets you
create sculpture inspired by plants. This site allows the manipulation of futuristic materials that react to environ- mental conditions, cre- ating a unique sculpture installation in cyber-
Explore Our World
Teach about texture,
line, and composition while exploring
our natural world with Photosynth
( photosynth.net). This online tool,
organized by categories such as for-
ests, insects, and archaeology, allows
you to pan around the image or zoom
in with great detail.
Use Google Maps (maps.google.
com) and Google Earth (earth.google.
com) to learn about eco-art installations from around the world. Begin
your tour at the map, Environmental
Art Around the Globe ( goo.gl/oux9D),
which includes embedded views of art
installations and beautiful abstracted
Online resources and technology can bring students closer to the
natural world when a field trip isn’t
possible. These are a few approaches
to raise awareness of our natural environment and our relationship to it as
Theresa McGee is art teacher at Monroe
Elementary School in Hinsdale, Illinois.
She also co-authors an art education blog
( teachingpalette.com). firstname.lastname@example.org