Sunday, September 13, 2009

Biosystems - How do we visualize and inform about biomes

Hello students and friends.

(*images taken from the Como Zoo's Web site)

My students have a 2 week assignment to give a 5-7 minute presentation of different biomes of the world and make sort of a zoo-environment-research -learning facility of this biome - which they will later link up with 2 other biomes and make sort of mini-zoos.

They learned a lot about what a zoo is, and should be.  They proposed a lot of changes, making it less of a place where kids get there energy out, but a place where people learn, and there is a lot more respect for the animals. 
Some of them went to the Minnesota zoo as well to compare  - but in the end.... It's all about wanting space, a natural life, and a way that the animals can ignore us.  

It is something that is hotly debated often.  Do zoos help or hurt our understanding of life on Earth.

The Smithsonian has a whole website dedicated to what they are doing to change zoos, and working towards conservation - rather than collection.

There is a great discussion on Radio Lab's about Zoos, and they had a really great debate on them.  In the end I did feel a little bit better, and most definitely because I have a friend who works at the Como Zoo - and I can say from what I've seen behind the scenes there - the people who work at zoos TRULY CARE for these animals and want to give them the best experience possible. 

I have never been so informed about animals and the changes - most of which the viewers don't get to see, but the overall evidence is that these people are working very hard to save the species of the world.

to interact with them - well that was life changing!

this 18 foot fella from the Como Zoo behaved like a slow moving dog - bright, careful, and caring.  I suddenly was overcome with the urge to save  their world, because a world without Giraffes - I didn't know before this experience how lonely and wrong that would be. 
(*pictures taken by Pete Lee, and Owned by Abbi Allan,  at the Como Zoo in May, 2009)
It makes me think how many other species we would miss and not know it.  So what to do?  

--------------------------Anyway - for those thinking about their presentations tomorrow - here are some things to think about:--------------------------------------------->>>

Here's a great 7 minute video about all the biomes of the world. (with music that is Really Starting to annoy me)  but the video is great, informative and lets you see the different biomes and creatures within them

wanna nerd it up with some classification for species?
See the Classification Rap.

But this is a must See!
An Art project by  Theodore Watson and Emily Gobeille.
(*this image was taken from his web site -->
What they did was create an artificial / virtual  biome that was fed by sound, making it grow and change.  Perhaps this is something you can adapt to your own experience?  

Karen Wirth
"Framework: Architectural Books"
Work displayed at Kholer Art Library, and image taken from the website:

Tomorrow we are going to have Karen Wirth, Artist, Educator and Chair of Fine Arts and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design come speak to our class about her experiences working with Helen and Newton Harrison.

All these images come from their website where you can see all the tremendous work they have done over the years and years of their work.

Their work is about finding the ecological problems of the world and offering solutions!  Designing what will work, and what won't work.  They give us visual explanations of what is to come of the world as we have it. 

Karen worked with them for a few years and I just CAN'T WAIT to hear what she has to say about it. 
Please take some time to look at their web site:

Good luck on your biomes!

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