As an educator, I believe that connecting art with nature is a powerful way to foster ecophilia: the biological desire to bond with the natural world. Whether I’m teaching in a concrete jungle or a real one, I employ many methods to bring the natural world into my art classes and nurture in students a love for the environment.
Environmental art can take many forms in my curriculum. From painting en plein air, to creating tree spirits with mud and leaves, to studying radial design through land art mandalas, the possibilities are endless. The tactile experience of creating with natural materials can awaken the senses and bring texture, smell, and even sound into the artistic process. Students have opportunities to play with balance, innovation, and impermanence as they create and experiment with these unconventional materials.
Engaging with nature is a powerful way to develop students’ connection to the planet we live on, and to encourage them to appreciate, connect, and ultimately strive to protect the world around them.