The Amazon territory is home of the largest rainforests on earth, a tremendous diversity of species, and hundreds of indigenous cultures. All of these inhabitant, plants, invertebrates, animals, are threatened by rampant and extreme deforestation practices. They are far more valuable to the global culture and health of the planet than the fleeting material pittance that comes from their destruction. I believe that this unique web of flora and fauna, indigenous cultures, and ecological processes are worthy of existence and protection. I support the Amazon Aid Foundation’s efforts to do this, acre by acre.
Much ecological degradation occurs at the edges of human awareness. Every hour, species quietly go extinct, wetlands, slowly disappear, and air subtly warms. Humans are deeply connected to these shifts, yet a false sense of remoteness pervades. I find a mutual resonance among all life forms, and through my work I explore the biotic realities of this planet that bind separate, repulse, and compel us. As an artist and conservation biologist, I engage with elements of ecological systems to investigate the complex and sometimes paradoxical relationships between humans and other living organisms.
My work addresses threats to nature that disrupt the patterns necessary for biodiversity to persist, such as habitat fragmentation and pollution. Field research is integral to my paintings, photographs, texts, and site installations. Informed through direct immersion, I document and mitigate the impacts of human constructs–perceived and concrete–on the environment and its inhabitants. I believe that integrated efforts are necessary to conserve wild places and organisms. Art is a potent means of observing, representing, and interpreting the surrounding world, and a powerful means of exposing and isolating particular qualities of a subject. As such, it has potential to effectively raise awareness and galvanize cultural attention. Effective conservation may require a clearer connection to and understanding of human identities, emotions, attitudes and values and how these attributes relate to concepts of the human place in nature. By joining the arts and sciences, a more resonant language of conservation possibilities may appear.
Hara Woltz is an artist and environmental scientist. Through her art and science practice, she addresses aspects of the destruction and conservation of ecological systems.
Her work addresses threats to nature that disrupt the patterns necessary for biodiversity to persist, such as habitat fragmentation and pollution.
Field research is integral to her paintings, photographs, texts, and site installations. Informed through direct immersion, she documents and mitigates the impacts of human constructs, perceived and concrete, on the environment and its inhabitants.
Hara has worked on a variety of ecological design projects throughout the world. Her paintings, drawings, and photographs are in a number of corporate and private collections, and past awards include an American Museum of Natural History fellowship, a Columbia University research award. In addition, her work has appeared in such publications as Biological Conservation, Popular Science, Landscape Architecture Magazine, and ORION magazine. As an undergraduate, she studied studio art and biology at Duke University. She has an MA in landscape architecture from the University of Virginia, an MA in conservation biology from Columbia University, and is currently pursuing a PhD at Columbia.