An interdisciplinary group of students, ranging in majors from Ceramics to Architecture, were invited to explore the relationship between clay and wildlife ecology in the inaugural Año Nuevo Island course at CCA.
An interdisciplinary group of students, ranging in majors from Ceramics to Architecture, were invited to explore the relationship between clay and wildlife ecology in the inaugural Año Nuevo Island course at CCA. Oikonos Wildlife Restoration sought a durable, ecological solution to the destruction of nests for the Rhinoceros Auklet, an endangered bird species whose traditional habitation beneath the sand is often crushed by sea lions that share the beaches of Año Nuevo Island. Working with Matthew Passmore of Rebar, an expert in tactical urbanism and sustainable design, CCA students created ceramic nesting modules to protect incubating Rhinoceros Auklet eggs. This class provided students with an opportunity to explore ceramic materials while having a tangible impact on the local environment through their creations. The experience on Año Nuevo Island also introduced students to unique career trajectories, as well as helped illuminate the versatility of the skill-sets gained through their arts education.
Students in the Spring 2010 course crafted a total of 10 nesting modules. Oikonos ecologists continue to maintain and monitor these modules, resulting in a marked uptick in the survival of Rhinoceros Auklet chicks. In addition to making a positive environmental impact, participating students gained studio-to-real-world connections and built relationships with the ecologists on Año Nuevo Island, exemplifying the potential of merging the fields of Art and Science. The Año Nuevo Island class was such a success that Oikonos asked Professor Lynch and Matthew Passmore to return in 2015. As such, the CCA Ceramics program, MoreLab, Oikonos, and CAPL have entered into a partnership in 2015 to build upon the success of the first two classes.
Año Nuevo Island has received the attention of the American Craft Council Magazine and The Atlantic Cities.
While commenting on his ENGAGE class with the American Craft Council Magazine, Associate Professor Nathan Lynch shared:
“There are all these other ways of using the skills they learn in art school to do interesting things. We try to stress agility, being nimble in the way they approach life after school.” American Craft Council Magazine, November 2011