April 13, 2024


You are Your Only Limit

Exactly where Artwork and Science Satisfy

5 min read

Growing up I always doodled. I scribbled on every thing and all the things I could get my fingers on (even items I shouldn’t, like my bed room walls). It was how I was capable to categorical myself and share the environment by means of my eyes. 

Drawing of waterfowl by Mesha Wooden

As I moved from crayons and natural designs, I commenced to uncover a deep passion for drawing. This was in middle college when I was in a position to pick out an elective of possibly artwork or band. Each 1 of my older siblings experienced realized to perform new music, but I preferred to acquire artwork. And so, whilst my siblings did not feel it was fair, I was afforded the space to go after my fascination.

From that age, I observed that though other art varieties were pleasurable, drawing was where I felt most related to the artwork I developed. I began entering contests and transcribing what I observed all-around me to paper.

I went to higher education seeking to train art and math, with my correct need to teach artwork. I left school with degrees in Graphic Style and Marketing however, as my desire throughout that time shifted to be additional targeted on the business side of the artwork globe. It was my wish at that issue to do the job for an “outdoor company” as a artistic. What I did not fully grasp at the time was that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Company was a place the place I could perform for an organization focused on the outside where my passions and capabilities in communicating as a result of the arts also experienced a dwelling.


As a Park Ranger for the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Sophisticated, I provide a number of roles to assist assure site visitors, volunteers, and associates partaking with the Refuge Intricate really feel welcome, supported, and their associations with the outdoor are increased. For several, fulfilling this role is finished by primary schooling area journeys and volunteer restoration initiatives. Whilst I support options for community engagement, exactly where I genuinely really feel I shine is in the progress of outreach products, educational handouts, and visual designs to assist the neighborhood much better understand the Provider, engage with the Refuge Intricate, and nature in typical.

More than the 9 yrs I have labored for FWS, I have increased my very own understanding of birds, phenology, and wildlife in basic by drawing the species, observing when specific plants bloom and recording it, and photographing the refuges for several multi-media initiatives. Utilizing the arts to hook up me to nature has served me to not be confused in trying to memorize each bird’s identify, but to spend focus to features of these types of. I can recall the names of birds when I have offered my own title to them dependent on the shades of their feathers, just as Black-capped chickadees and Purple-winged blackbirds are named. This offers me the means to remember them dependent on my curiosity and what I can speedily remember. A person instance of doing this is a male Northern Harrier seems to be like it is putting on a pair of white underwear to me, so which is what I glance for when attempting to decipher if the fowl of prey traveling overhead is these types of or a Red-tailed Hawk (which truthfully, I imagine it really should be referred to as a Rust-tailed Hawk instead to be accurate).

What we see and how we select to interpret that in artwork, often is a thing we can leave to the artist. When drawing a male Wooden duck (banner image), what colors are depicted will count on the gentle I saw it underneath, the angle, and the distinction of the history or home it was observed in. When traveling in California, I sat with a fellow Park Ranger mesmerized by a Scrub Jay. We couldn’t position the name of the chicken, but just considered it was stunning. The blue of the birds’ head and body paired with the vivid orange rocks and drier soils of Joshua Tree Countrywide Park, just designed the colors pop, substantially more so than when viewing a Scrub Jay again at the Refuge…  

Junior Duck Stamp Best of Clearly show for Washington’s 2022 contest, submitted by Yvonne, age 13

The Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest is a absolutely free contest for K-12 pupils in formal, Tribal or homeschools throughout the nation. It is held annually by each and every condition and U.S. territory to supply a way for college students to share what they have learned about wetlands and waterfowl at the fruits of the Junior Duck Stamp Method. See some submissions below.

The contest just demands that any college student submits their initial artwork of a native North American duck, goose, or swan. Though there are quite a few species of waterfowl located throughout the nation, it appears that often the most colorful species are picked out by learners for their submissions.

For the 2nd yr in a row, Ridgefield NWR Complicated is internet hosting the 2023 Washington State Junior Duck Stamp Artwork Contest. As the Washington Junior Duck Stamp Coordinator, I see this contest as a valuable and impactful way to connect extra youth to mother nature, just as I did developing up. And a way to introduce learners to STEAM careers that emphasis on artwork.

I wasn’t knowledgeable of the Junior Duck Stamp Artwork Contest when I was more youthful, and so whilst I did not take part in it, it is now a target of mine to broaden who is familiar with about it, to ideally garner additional students to specific their observations of waterfowl as a participant. Every single entry earns a certification of participation and a likelihood to compete for top rated honors in their age team. One “Best of Show” entry from all submissions will be entered in the National Competitiveness, in which the major entry in general will be made as the Junior Duck Stamp and offered to assist the program and conservation.

To master additional and find free formulated academic curriculum based mostly on the contest, go to: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/ridgefield/pay a visit to-us/routines/education-applications. The deadline to post artwork and the accompanying demanded types to the Ridgefield NWR Sophisticated Admin Workplace in Ridgefield, WA is February 15, 2023.


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