During my second week at Lakeside, I spent a lot of time exploring specimen collections here and made some drawings based on my findings. In King Lab I found drawers of taxidermy birds, a cabinet housing an entomology collection, and a variety of plant specimens dried and labeled in clear boxes. I’m curious about collection as a way of documenting the world around us. The collection represents an accumulation of knowledge, but browsing a collection is a very different experience than going out into the field. In a collection, organisms are objects: catalogued and labeled as symbols of their species. Out in the field, we might not get to study each organism as closely, but we get a more active firsthand understanding of an ecosystem. I enjoyed the opportunity to compare and contrast two modes of learning.
I also joined ecology students on trips out to Excelsior Fen, Silver Lake Fen, and throughout the wetlands surrounding Lake Okoboji. I took photographs and videos of the plants, animals, and landscapes I saw along the way, and this visual research will inform new projects back at my usual studio. I’m excited to return home with a new supply of sketches, photographs, and notes and to incorporate everything I learned at Lakeside Labs into my body of work.