Creativity in Science, la segunda parte

Recently, I ran across this TED video Boniato Studios in Spain produced on whale song. They produce other such videos, like this one on tardigrades and this one on the search for life elsewhere in the universe. Bravo to TED, the scientists involved and Boniato!

See my previous post about creativity on science here.


The Life of a Biologist


Coho Salmon, Gyrfalcon, Coyote, Sage Grouse, Black-footed Ferret, Swift Fox, Piping Plover, Black-capped Chickadee, White tailed Deer, Striped Skunk, Yuma Rail, Western Grebe, Island Fox, Cutthroat Trout, Motmot, and Sloth.

Often, biologists work many years as a seasonal worker, moving from assignment to assignment. Above is a piece I made for some friends cataloging the many places they have worked and the organisms with which they have worked.

Snow Leopards


Snow leopards, Bar-headed geese, Blue Sheep, Himalayan Gentian in the Himalayas.

I recently sold a piece of my art to friends whose family has been active in the Snow Leopard Trust, a conservation organization that works in snow leopard habitat in Asia and works on zoo breeding programs. They sold it at a silent auction, and the proceeds can pay for “two kids to go to eco-camp, or buys a GPS unit for our frontline field staff, or provides training in conservation handicrafts for one woman”, they said.

Cats and birds don’t mix.


Listen, I love my cats.  But, I know, just by looking into their blood-thirsty eyes that they would like nothing more than to get their furry little claws around the neck of every bird that visits my feeders. So, they stay inside, unless they consent to a brief foray around the yard at the end of a leash.

Previously, I detailed all the ways that you can make your backyard more wildlife friendly, including curbing your cats’ roamings.  In addition, Birdlife International detailed the ways to keep your cat happy and the wildlife safe.


I lived in Oregon for 15 years, partly in Portland and partly in Corvallis where I went to school at Oregon State University.  This place has great importance to me, but it started long before I moved there in the late-’90s.

When I was 10 years old, my family visited the Oregon coast where I complained about the cold and rainy June weather.  If only we had visited in July, I would have realized that the rest of Oregon summers are perfect (except perhaps for this year).

In high school, I visited a friend in Bend and fell in love with the high desert.  I recently made a shadowbox of the Deschutes River Valley with the Three Sisters Mountains in the distance.

Sisters Wilderness OR: Osprey (with trout), Clark’s Nutcracker, Elk, Yellow-bellied Marmot, Bobcat, and Seep Monkeyflower.

Then, after I moved to Portland in the late ’90s, I grew to appreciate the temperate rain forest of the Pacific Northwest.  I made a shadowbox which is below:


Portland Backyard with Coyote, Varied Thrush, Northern Flicker, Bushy-tailed Woodrat, Banana Slug, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and Anna’s Hummingbird.

Then, in my final years in Oregon when I was a wildlife biology student at OSU, I visited Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, a vast wetland tucked into the surrounding sea of sagebrush with the Steens Mountains as a backdrop. It was the first place I saw a nighthawk. Here’s a shadowbox I made:


Malheur National Wildlife Refuge with the Steens Mountains, American White Pelicans, Common Nighthawk, Jackrabbit (ear tips), Bobolink, Western Grebes, and Weasel.

Whoop for Whooping Cranes!


Photo: Sara Zimorski/Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries via Audubon

This summer, the first wild Whooping Crane hatched in Louisiana. That’s great news!  Years ago, when I was an undergraduate student at University of Wisconsin, I was looking for a biology work study position.  I ended up working for the Harlow Primate Lab, as part of the enrichment program. Essentially, this consisted of giving out fruit and vitamin-spiked Koolaid to the Rhesus Monkey descendants of Harlow’s studies and to NASA’s breeding colony of Squirrel Monkeys.  One other position I considered was at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin. My job would have been to dress up in the big crane costume (so that cranes don’t habituate to humans) and feed juveniles.

Ah, what we do for science!