Friday, May 2, 2014

A Trip to the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden & Fenner Nature Center

Today has been a busy day. I stopped off to visit the Endangered and Threatened Species Garden at MSU to see what's starting to pop. There are three plants with buds that will bloom in the next few weeks: Twin leaf (special concern), Jacob's ladder (threatened), and Prairie trillium (threatened).

Virginia bluebells (endangered) is already in bloom, so as soon as the sun comes out I'll go back with my professional camera to capture their shadows.

I was lucky to once again run into Hope, a botanical technician at the gardens. She has been a huge help in both pointing out where the plants are and in helping me identify and collect Common buckthorn. While she was showing me the Canadian burnet plant, I caught sight of this wonderful creature out of the corner of my eye. Hope said she'd been there for a few weeks now sitting on her nest. We were standing within 5 feet of her and she didn't move a muscle.

Afterwards, I made my way over to Fenner Nature Center in Lansing where Program Manager Katie Woodhams walked me down a trail to point out Garlic mustard, an invasive plant and one of the biggest threats to Michigan's native woodlands. Once we had identified it, I started seeing it everywhere. I pulled plants for about an hour and now have enough to try my hand at making Garlic mustard paper. I'm going to use the whole plant, roots and all. I've been told it will smell a lot better in the pot than the other plants I've worked with.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Michigan Nature Association and a Request for Plant Locations

Sunday afternoon I was honored to give a presentation about my project at the Michigan Nature Association's annual meeting at the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. What a beautiful park and day it was! It was great to hear about all the wonderful work MNA is doing to care for their more than 170 nature sanctuaries across Michigan and about their additional land acquisitions over the past year. If you are not already a member, please take the time to learn more about this wonderful organization at

After the meeting, I received several suggestions from MNA members on where to find endangered and threatened plant species that are soon to bloom. I am anxious and ready to start photographing the shadows of as many threatened and endangered plant species as I can. My short term goal is to collect at least 10 images of plant shadows (10 different plants) for two art exhibitions in Japan this September. The transferred prints need to be completed and ready to ship in July. The long term goal is to collect at least 25 images of plant shadows for an exhibition in 2016, but I'll post more on that later.

If you would like to participate in this project by suggesting where I can find and photograph endangered and threatened plant species, you can contact me through this blog or at More specifically, if you know of a plant that is blooming and are willing to share its location, I would be very grateful! I'm ready and willing to travel. :)