Appreciating nature from a scientific point of view may not seem like part of art education, but it’s integral to the Art Farm’s approach. Knowing how the elements of the environment interact gives students a deeper understanding of the world around them, and they can see beyond the individual parts to the dynamic whole.
The Art Farm’s 10 acres are home to a wide diversity of native wildlife: hawks, ducks, woodpeckers, herons and egrets; bobcats, raccoons, and coyotes; salamanders, frogs, lizards and crayfish. Many live in and around Agua Hedionda Creek (also known as Sunny Creek), which runs through the property year-round, creating a unique riparian habitat for students to explore.
In the daily natural science segment of summer camp, students are able to learn about the plants and animals of Sunny Creek and the importance of its ecosystem to the Art Farm and beyond. Water flowing through the creek feeds into the 400-acre Agua Hedionda Lagoon, one of San Diego County’s threatened coastal wetlands.
A trained instructor will show students how what’s in the stream affects not just the immediate environment, but also that of the lagoon and the rest of the area’s watershed. Students are challenged to imagine how different scenarios would impact the health of the animals and plants that live there.
In addition, students will learn the basics of scientific illustration and how this skill differs from the other kinds of artwork they do during summer camp. They take their sketchbooks with them to the creek and learn to make note of what they see there.
More information on the environment of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon can be found at http://www.aguahedionda.org/Watershed/Watershed.aspx and http://www.carlsbadwatershednetwork.net/
For photos and more information on the lagoon, see http://www.projectcleanwater.org/pdf/car/Agua4-3_L.pdf