Definition: “Art that celebrates the preservation of the native environment by taking either urban or agricultural land permanently out of production by the use of form, shape, material, resource, earth, vegetation, found, used and created objects. This art is to be accessible to the public and to serve as an aid in the education of the natural environment incorporating both passive and active participation. The permanent art installation in the environment is to serve as an impediment to returning the land to a developed or agricultural use and thereby reduce the impact of global warming." Prairie Works Design, 2016
MONARCH BUTTERFLY ECO-ARTS SPERE HABITAT
The focus of this eco-arts sphere was to create a permanent environmental installation on a portion of land that has been in Ann Zerger's family for over 100 years that would celebrate the Great Plains Prairie and the local and migratory wild life that depends on this environment for existence. The intent was to create an installation that would impede the returning of this land to agriculture or any other type of production as well as be a catalyst for a visceral conversation with the viewer on the beauty, diversity and serenity of the prairie.
At the time that we were beginning our research on this project, there was a great deal of news around the perilous decline in the number of monarch butterflies due to the loss of their habitat including milkweed and nectar plants. These plants were common to the great plains but as the grasslands have been tilled for crops and sprayed for noxious weeds, nectar flowers and in particular milkweed is disappearing. Because of this, the monarch butterfly is at a high threat of extinction. This information hit home as our family farm grassland is on the fly zone for monarchs and we have been noticing fewer and fewer monarchs over the years. After contacting www.monarchwatch.org at the University of Kansas we decided that we wanted to develop a monarch way station/habitat on 5 acres of our prairie. This then became the catalyst for the focus of our prairie “Eco-Art- Sphere” installation. The exquisitely beautiful and fragile monarch butterfly with its complex life cycle would be our metaphor for the complexity and beauty and the necessity of preserving the Great Plains Prairie.