HILTON’S Angela Rossen uses her unique mix of art and environmentalism to teach kids about backyard biodiversity in her latest video series for the 2022 Environmental Art Project.
Designed to get primary school students engaged with local and global environmental issues, the first two videos show Rossen creating a thriving native garden and increasing soil biodiveristy in a veggie patch, while the third shows her making an artwork based on the nature in her backyard.
It’s hoped the videos will inspire WA primary school pupils to create similar “backyard” artworks for the annual Environmental Art Project, run by Mundaring Arts Centre, with all entries showcased in a virtual exhibition and selected entries displayed at the Mundaring and Midland Junction Arts Centres.
“Nature is lovelier and more complex than we can possibly imagine,” Rossen says.
“That is why it is so rewarding to stop, sit down and just gaze at the plants and all the tiny creatures that live within their leafy canopy.
“It is a wonderful thing to make artworks that investigate, document and celebrate the beauty of nature. Art in any media can be a starting point for learning more about nature for everyone.”
With urban infill decimating the bushland that provides a natural habitat for native animals, Rossen says creating a sanctuary for insects, birds and animals in your backyard is more important than ever.
“Planting local native plants that are suited to the local soil is very important,” she says.
“Adding birdbaths that are always topped up and cleaned regularly, bat boxes, bird boxes, shady gardens, frog ponds, insect hotels and logs and mulch for animals to burrow into will create safe places for animals to shelter and feed.
“Functioning gardens need high biodiversity not only with the plants but also the animals that act as pollinators, soil aerators, the sub soil detritivores who chew up plant matter, birds that producing fertiliser with their droppings and the list goes on.”
An experienced artist and biodiversity educator, Rossen has just returned from Esperance and Denmark where she delivered two community biodiversity festivals.
Now she’s back in her studio and indulging her other passion – art – working on a series of paintings of the temperate reefs nearPerth’s metropolitan area.
But after a few months away from home, she’s also looking forward to getting back into her garden and planning her next biodiversity project.
“My little garden was planted with local native plants only one year ago and the bird song is now so loud that it interrupts conversation,” Rossen says.
“We need urban cover to mitigate against the longer summer heat waves. Every one of us can be part of creating this either in our own gardens or local reserves and community gardens like Hilton Harvest Community Garden. Even tiny gardens and balconies can be transformed into micro climates with plants in pots and careful shading from sun and wind.”
For more info on the 2022 Environmental Art Project see mundaringartscentre.com.au/eap