Sierra Nevada

The Sierra Nevada node of ArtSciConverge is spearheaded by UC Berkeley’s Sagehen Creek Field Station in partnership with the Nevada Museum of Art – Center for Art + Environment.

In 2015, the museum hosted the NSF Planning Meeting that led to the formalization of ArtSciConverge as an ad-hoc committee of the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS).

Sagehen hosts an artist-in-residency program that is typically populated by artists directed to the station by the museum. The work of these artists generally addresses themes and issues that are also of concern to the station’s science and public service programs; these issues include forest health and wildfire.

The 15-year Sagehen Forest Project (SFP) brought together scientists, land managers, environmentalists, loggers, state agencies and others in the local community to find a solution to destructive wildfire and collapsing forest ecology in their region. Reaching broad consensus, the team’s prescription produces more wood, more wildlife habitat restoration, and no less fuel reduction than traditional Forest Service forest treatments: everyone wins! The SFP strategy is now being scaled up to hundreds of thousands of acres in the central Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe.

But to achieve the deep policy and social change needed to act at the scale required to save our forests, scientific facts aren’t sufficient. Therefore, Sagehen and the museum joined with the Nevada County Arts Council, our other regional arts councils, and a broad and growing group of artists and community partners in 2018 to initiate an artistic response to forest issues at the scale of the science and management responses that are already well-advanced. That effort is called, Future Forests. Collaborations, events and responses are already underway but the effort will accelerate in 2020, anchored by a traveling fire-themed art exhibit, FOREST ⇌ FIRE, and associated events and activities.