Art + Science

Ecology and the Art of Scientific Observation

How can we combine both artistic creativity and scientific investigation to understand the world around us? Students will explore this question and many others in this weeklong summer course taught by artist and conservation biologist Hara Woltz.

This course will offer an alternative to the traditional summer camp and will be a transformative experience for students looking to deepen their understanding of the environment where they live.

Weaving together science and art, this class offers students a unique opportunity to combine field ecology and artistic practice as they investigate the 2000 acres of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Through guided explorations of the Institute's forests, fields, and wetlands, and in-depth engagement with artists and scientists and their research projects, the class introduces students to a variety of observational and notational methods that are applicable to inter-disciplinary thinking and innovation.

Notes on Fragility and Stillness. 2009. Hara Wolz.

Throughout history, both scientists and artists have used field journals to note their observations of the ecological world and develop their ideas. The practice of recording and experimenting in journals engages and develops lateral thinking capabilities that serve students in a variety of academic capacities.

During the week, students will create visually layered experimental field journals, and engage in site-specific art creation based on scientific research. Students will experiment with a number of techniques including data visualization, sketching, collaging, writing, and critical questioning that make the process of notation compelling, creative, and highly enjoyable.

Art Week, Eco-Discovery Camp 2015.


Session 1, August 7-11: Students entering grades 6-9*
Session 2, July 10-21 (M-F):  Students entering grades 9-12*

*Parents of 9th grade students should work with Cary Institute staff to decide which session is best suited for their child's skill and maturity levels.

Because the Art+Science class is unique from Eco-Discovery camp, middle schoolers who attend camp are also eligible to attend the Art+Science camp.


The 1 week Art+Science Session 1 costs $375 per student.  The 2 week Session 2 is $600 per student. A limited number of partial scholarships will be available.

Questions? Contact Shelly Forster at 845-677-7600 ext. 303 or

About Hara Woltz

Cary's Fall 2015 artist-in-residence, Hara Woltz is an environmental artist and scientist that uses a variety of media to address the destruction and conservation of ecological systems. Her solo and collaborative projects investigate the complex relationships between humans and other living organisms. Field research is integral to the creation of her work. Informed through direct immersion, she documents, questions, and mitigates the impacts of human constructs—perceived and concrete—on the environment and its inhabitants.

Hara has worked on a variety of ecological and habitat design projects throughout the world, including the Asia Trail at the National Zoological Park in Washington, DC, habitat restoration for native species on the North Island of New Zealand, giant tortoise and albatross habitat assessment and restoration in the Galápagos, and bio-cultural resilience in the Solomon Islands. Her work has also appeared in a variety of publications, including ORION, Biological Conservation, Popular Science, and Landscape Architecture Magazine.

This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Arts Mid-Hudson.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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