Ecology and Environment Interest Group (EEIG): Column: Feb/Mar 2022

NAEA News Feb/Mar 2022

The columns for this issue of NAEA News were written prior to the 2022 National Convention. As such, you may find information about Convention sessions and references to past occurrences in the future tense.

As the Ecology and Environment Interest Group approaches the end of its inaugural year, I would like to share and celebrate several learning opportunities associated with the group. First, the group hosted its first NAEA webcast in October, titled “Artists, Ecological Issues, and Activism.” I was happy to provide the introduction for a fabulous group of presenters: Mel DeFabrizio, Susan Dorsey, Megan Kounnas, Mary Stokrocki, Michelle Tillander, and Rachel Zollinger. In this well-attended webcast, these presenters shared art curricula they designed and implemented, primarily at the K–12 level, that aimed to cultivate ecological responsibility. Approaches were diverse, including online cross-cultural exchange, the development of ecological virtual environments, guerilla gardening, and collaboration with plants for social justice. For those of you who might have missed the live webcast, the recording is available on the NAEA website:

NAEA Webcast: Artists, Ecological Issues, and Activism.

Rachel Zollinger presenting in the NAEA Webcast.

With the new status of Interest Group, the Ecology and Environment Interest Group was able to receive NAEA Convention submissions this year. We had many excellent submissions that, like all NAEA Interest Group submissions, underwent a double-blind peer review process. I am delighted to announce our Interest Group’s sessions for the 2022 NAEA Convention:

The Arts and Conservation: Creating Handmade Books and Field Guides of Native Botanicals
Anne Ackerman, Beth Wilbur Van Mierlo, and Meghan Scribner
This workshop provides hands-on printmaking, drawing, and bookmaking skills, designed to integrate the arts with environmental studies of native botanicals through the making of handmade books and field guides. Create your own handmade book and gain strategies for engaging all students through this accessible and successful learning platform.

Data Visualization as Critical Place-Based Art Education: Access, Uncovering, and Action in Challenging Times
Joy Bertling, Ericka Ryba, and Lynn Hodge
How might data visualization empower students to engage with the issues directly affecting them and their more-than-human communities? Learn about one critical place-based education unit at the middle school level.

Community Arts, Research, and Exploring the Deep Time of Ecological Systems
Joshua Graham
Guided by our shared interest in object-oriented ontology and place-based education, we facilitated a collaboration between a high school and university classroom. The partnership culminated in a series of community-based exhibitions intended to draw attention to the destructive cycle of self-validating reductionism humans impose on the natural world.

Exploring Anti-Blackness and Black Life With Youth Through Spatially Oriented Art-Inquiry Practices
Laura Trafí-Prats
Discussion of a study developed with youth exploring issues of anti-Blackness as climate in a major UK city. Examples of activities centered on mapping, anarchiving, and walking are examined. The potential of working pedagogically with Afrofuturist aesthetics and temporalities to expand perceptions of the built environment are considered.

If It’s Broken, Fix It!
Edie Wells
When we repair, we embrace restoration, fixing, or mending something broken. This workshop dives into meaningful artistic approaches to repair while also considering repair as an act of social activism. Bring a clothing item to repair and explore the possibilities of visible mending and mending as a means to community.

In addition to these six sessions, we invite you to join us for the NAEA Ecology and Environment Interest Group Business Meeting, which is open to members and nonmembers alike. One important point of business will be the establishment of Interest Group awards. As the group transitions to its 2nd year, we look forward to supporting art educators further in their ecologically engaged teaching and scholarship and welcome your feedback on how the group might realize this goal.

Column by: Joy G. Bertling, Founding Chair, Ecology and Environment Interest Group

Joy G. Bertling, Founding Chair of the Ecology and Environment Interest Group
Assistant Professor of Art Education, Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Website: Email:

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