Islands highlighted in UF student’s submission to biodiversity project
A former Fort Myers resident attending college at the University of Florida chose to spotlight Sanibel and Captiva in her artwork as part of a campus-wide project focused on biodiversity.
Brianna Collins, a freshman studying art and technology, submitted a mixed media piece called “Sanibel and Captiva Island” under the student engagement component of UF Biolink. A Creative Campus initiative funded by a UF Catalyst Grant, the interdisciplinary project aims to cultivate connections via biodiversity.
According to the project website, the future of humanity hinges on meaningful public engagement about the importance of biodiversity, as represented by the Tree of Life. The tree is a metaphor for the interconnectedness of biodiversity and a unifying theme across art, biology, genetics, history and religion. Using the Tree of Life concept, Biolink is a platform to connect diverse teaching and training efforts and encourage collaboration and trans-disciplinary scholarship.
Biolink will generate new activities, promote creative work inspired by biodiversity, recruit instructors to utilize relevant resources, such as exhibitions at the Samuel P. Harn Museum and Florida Museum of Natural History, and facilitate interdisciplinary course lectures and the sharing of student products.
The website reports that there is important and innovative work being done by UF students across disciplines about biodiversity. UF Biolink is working to archive and share the research. As part of the engagement component, students could submit their related work to be shared with the community.
Student projects and research could take any form, such as: lab science, field work, engineering, architecture, journalism/photojournalism, essays, theoretical or creative writing, poetry, visual art, music, dance, theater, medicine and socially engaged/community work.
A graduate from Fort Myers High School, Collins wrote the following about her piece:
“For this project, I really wanted to connect with my own personal life in some aspect. I was inspired by Rachel Sussman’s themes of mapping and photography to create a geometrical print map of an island where I have spent my childhood. I wanted to celebrate the biodiversity of the landscapes, wildlife, and flora that make up Sanibel and Captiva island. The islands are very well protected, as keeping wildlife alive and flourishing is something that is very important in the area. It is pleasant to know that there are not very many negative issues that the islands struggle with.
“The map itself is made of 35mm film photos I shot on location and are purposely placed on the map depending on where the photo was taken. The map is also made of paper, which is an ephemeral medium, and this also serves as a reminder that preservation is not always guaranteed, as our Earth is forever changing. My piece is personal, but I think any viewer can have an appreciation for its general beauty. I believe we should do the same with our Earth and the species that inhabit it. Biodiversity is something to be celebrated.”
An interdisciplinary panel will award some of the submitted student projects.
The UF Biolink Student Awards Ceremony will take place on April 26.
For more information, visit www.ufbiolink.org.