School Programs

MOPARRC Residency at Alpha Secondary School in Burnaby: Alpha’s Beautiful Garden in a Diverse Bio-Region

Sharon Kallis and Lori Weidenhammer will be working with art and science students from grades 8 to 12 as well as the eco-club. Students will develop an awareness of the environment – not just on a large, global level but in an immediate, “streetscape perspective”. They will develop awareness of the interconnectedness of plants, animals, insects and humans in both urban (manicured) and wild settings.

Lori Weidenhammer will lead the students on a study of biodiversity and identity using techniques including mind mapping, drawing, improv, silhouettes and stencilling. Students will choose a native plant that they study in depth, researching its ecology, mythology, and ethnobotanical history.

Sharon Kallis will be creating ephemeral mosaics with the students, gathering ephemeral materials in the neighborhood and creating paths and patterns. Students will create stencils which they will use to create birdseed mosaics on the school grounds and seedling mosaics in the school gardens. Science students will perform research on cover crops to determine which seeds will be used to create those mosaics.

Simon Fraser Bio-Construction Company: Building Wildlife Habitat and Experimenting with *Biomimicry

MOPARRC is pleased to present an ArtStarts project at Simon Fraser Elementary in Spring 2011. Artists will be working with students to create projects that will help attract wildlife to the school grounds and the students’ back yards. Furthermore, Robin Ripley and Diana Burgoyne will be creating interactive art pieces which will be installed in the MOP Garden for the Twlight Tea Party. For more details, see below.

Artist Biographies and Workshop Details:

Lori Weidenhammer is a Vancouver performance-based artist originally from Saskatchewan. For four years she has been appearing as the persona Madame Beespeaker on a regular basis. Her Artist Run Bee Garden at the MOP (2009) has inspired other Vancouver gardeners to create their own bee gardens and hold bee-related community celebrations. As a food security volunteer and activist Weidenhammer works with colleagues and students of all ages on identifying native plants, eating locally, gardening for pollinators, and guerilla gardening. She is passionate about art that that transforms the relationship between the artist and the viewer and creates community bonds.

Bug Hotels: For the ArtStarts residency in schools Weidenhammer will give workshops on creating sculptural bug hotels with green roofs using recycled fabric, soil, stones, and recycled plastic bottles. Students will learn the roles certain beetles play in the eco-system and how to attract beneficial insects to their gardens. Students will study insect architecture in order to gain insight and inspiration in the design process. Students will learn how to identify common bugs in our neighbourhood and the roles they play in the urban ecosystem. (Grades: 1/2)

Bird Habitat: Lori will work with students to create bird feeders out of recycled and natural materials and facilitate the creation of weavings that will provide songbirds with materials they can use to build their nests (ie wool, twigs and straw). Students will participate in the design process as well as the creation of the work. Students will learn how to supplement the natural diet that the trees in the school yard provide the local songbirds. They will study the architecture of song bird nests, gaining inspiration and insight for the design process. Part of the process will be bird watching in the school yard before and after the eco-art for birds is installed. Students will learn how to identify common birds in our neighbourhood and the roles they play in the urban ecosystem. (Grades 1/2)

Bee Habitat: Students will design, build and decorate mason bee houses and drinking pools for bees. Older students will work with and mentor younger students in this process. Students will learn to identify common members of the hymenoptera order and things they can do to create habitat on our new school artist garden and in our back yards for our pollinators. They will study and mimic insect architecture. (Grades 5/6 with kindergarten buddies).

Pollinator Seed Packets: Students will decorate seed packets to take home seeds from plants that attract beneficial insects. They will also grow some of these seeds in the classroom which will be planted in our new school artist garden. (Kindergarten)

Diana Burgoyne refers to herself as an electronic folk artist. Her performances and installations have been exhibited in Montreal, Toronto, New York, France, Holland, and Estonia. She was commissioned by Telus Science World to collaborate on a permanent piece which is exhibited as part of Contraption Corner. She has been the artist in residence at the Surrey Art Gallery’s Tech Lab, participated in SCANZ in New Zealand and has just finished working on a work entitled “Audio Quilt” as artist in residence at the Roundhouse Community Centre. “Audio Quilt” is an interactive installation that reflects the sounds and voices of the Roundhouse community by utilizing one hundred audio chips, each recording 10 seconds of sound.

Buzzy Light Bugs will begin with a workshop at a local elementary school in which students will learn to create visual artworks with an electronic component. The conclusion of the project will be an event at MOP in which the pieces created by the students will be installed in a garden setting where they will be “discovered” by the viewers.

Installation/Interactive Event: The pieces will be then taken to MOP to be integrated in the garden creating an installation. On the evening of the event each viewer will be given a flashlight and asked to navigate the garden. When the flashlight’s beam illuminates the artwork hidden within the garden it will activate the sound circuit enabling the viewer to experience both the audio and visual aspects of the pieces.(Grades 4/5 and 5/6)

Robin Ripley is a Vancouver artist who often works with recycled and natural materials as they reflect her environmental concerns. Gathering sorting and reconfiguration are all processes she uses to draw attention to the often overlooked details of our world. Her works have been widely shown throughout British Columbia.

Workshop/Installation: TRACES employs a specific site, the Means of Production garden to draw attention to the complex web of often unobserved activities found in nature. Transparent plastic sheeting provides a surface to trace and illuminate the multitude of activities within the Means of Production garden. The patterns of activities will be delineated with phosphorescent and photochromic materials recording the ongoing transitory records left behind by insects, birds, and animals. Slug trails, paw prints, woodpecker holes, insect chewed leaves, bird and insect flight paths are some examples of the elements of the patterns to be transcribed. Using a variety of resources, participants will investigate local flora and fauna and their patterns of their activity. Painting on individual transparent sheets with phosphorescent paint participants will create specific patterns to portray an aspect of the garden which intrigues them. (Grades 5/6)

The first session would be an intro to project and site visit to MOP to look for “Traces” and collect ideas. In the second session the students will work on site map in class.

Julie Sawatsky is an accomplished carpenter and an artist that has experience working in a variety of materials. Julie has taught woodworking classes for children and adults at the Roundhouse Community Centre for several years. She is a passionate gardener and mentor and she has volunteered for several years in the Simon Fraser eco-club, most recently helping students create stepping stones for the City Hall community garden.

Bat Houses: Students will create and decorate wooden houses for bat habitat. They will learn carpentry skills and develop an appreciation of the importance of bats in the local ecosystem and details about their behaviour and diet. (Grades 4/5 and 5/6 )

*Biomimicry (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate) is the examination of nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to solve human problems sustainably.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi

    I was at your tea in June and met Brian. I was very excited by the garden, I’d be interested in possibly participating in some way, certainly having my yard which is biggish and wildish as a bee friendly yard. On a practical note there is a wasp hive inside the wall beside our front door at the corner of a beam. I called the honeybee Centre and they are not taking calls in Vancouver. Before I call a pest control company I thought I would ask if you have any suggestions. It is too close to the door to leave and is not visible but it is very clear where it is.

  2. hugh says:

    I am an urban, west london beekeeper, I like your ideas and would bee interested in sharing your views, I build beehives from recycled materials and have just started on using top bar hives that look like old chests/ or cupboards, so that they bear no interest to kids/vandals
    I would be happy to help in any way I can with your projects.

  3. Megan says:

    We are living in rural area and want to support a healthy bee population. Is it still possible to be involved with your organization?

    1. beespeaker says:

      Hi Megan,
      We are based in Vancouver, but many of the projects we do would certainly be applicable to rural areas. Please keep in touch.

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