March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

Wyland: Merging Art, Science, and Conservation

Posted: Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Dean Gilbert

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to meet marine conservation artist Wyland at an Earth Day event in the San Fernando Valley.  We were both there to celebrate the winners of the Robert Bateman Get to Know Environmental Science Art Contest. After the awards presentation, Wyland and I had lunch and discussed a variety of topics.  I shared my interest in science; he shared his passion for art.  Oddly enough, the topics we discussed were very much similar in nature, no pun intended.

I have always been an admirer of Wyland’s art and how he so elegantly captures the beauty of the marine ecosystem.  We spoke of whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, the kelp forest, and how we both use scuba diving as “down time” – to relax and to take time to appreciate the awesome beauty nature offers.

Wyland and I found a common denominator that not only defines who we are, but also what drives us in our respective professions.  Wyland uses his talent to create masterpieces of the marine creatures that we both admire when exploring the underwater world with our compressed air lifelines.  And I, as a former marine biology teacher, marvel at the diverse taxonomy of marine life, from the simplest cnidarians to the largest mammals, the whales.  Looking through different lenses, we both find unique ways to express our visual perception of marine animals.

Since that initial introduction, I have visited the Wyland studio in Laguna Beach numerous times, and had the opportunity to meet with Wyland and his staff from the Wyland Foundation. Each time we meet, we seem to pick up the conversation where we left off, as if no time has elapsed.

I invited Wyland to be a part of the Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair last April.  Experiencing the World through Art & Science became the theme of the Science Fair. The highlight of the three-day event for over 300 students who participated was painting a 40-foot mural alongside Wyland.  It was the perfect fit – the integration of art and science.  Students of all ages grabbed paintbrushes and acrylic paint to express themselves, with Wyland at the helm.  Yes, science students were creatively expressing themselves!  At the day’s close, we had a finished product that would become part of Wyland’s personal collection.

Wyland even stayed late into the evening for the awards ceremony.  He amazed the audience as he created Chinese brush paintings which he auctioned off as a means of fundraising for our non-profit Science Fair organization.

As Co-chair of the upcoming CSTA Annual Conference in Pasadena, I again sought to partner with the Wyland Foundation. I wanted to extend art and science opportunities to my science colleagues. I want them to meet Wyland, witness to his passion for nature, art and science, and to have first-hand experience and hands-on interaction with the Wyland Clean Water Mobile Learning Center. This center is a project of the Wyland Foundation focusing on the preservation and conservation of water.

Wyland’s Mobile Learning Center connects science and art. It is a great location to view Wyland’s phenomenal work up close and to learn about the life stories behind each painting, sculpture, and photograph.

So there you have it.  The world renowned marine conservation artist Wyland is coming to Pasadena to be a part of the CSTA’s California Science Education Conference.  Don’t miss this opportunity to meet Wyland, and hear him speak about his passion for art and the integrated connections between art and science.  Coupled with the other fantastic focus and keynote speakers, workshops, field courses and vendors, the CSTA Conference will prove to be a great professional development experience for everyone.

Wyland’s work will be on display throughout the conference, with affordable prints for purchase and collector pieces for bid at auction as a fundraiser for CSTA.

Dean Gilbert is science consultant with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, is CSTA’s region 3 director, and is co-chair of the 2011 California Science Education Conference Committee.


Written by Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert is the science coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education, and a member of CSTA.

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For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.

The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.

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