This Artist's Designs Are For The Birds... Literally

© Lynne Hull
A 'tree' built for colony-nesting waterbirds near a reservoir in Derbyshire, England.

With the Arctic sea ice they depend on melting due to climate change, couldn't polar bears use a few solar-powered floating platforms to help them hunt? And wouldn't a river-going barge covered with plants, shrubs, and small trees provide a nice replacement stop-over for migratory birds that are getting squeezed out of their normal resting places?

Artist Lynne Hull's "Polar Platform" and "Bird Barge" are just concepts right now, but the Colorado-based sculptor has been creating real art installations that double as actual wildlife habitat for more than two decades.

Hull's "client list" includes "hawks, eagles, pine marten, osprey, owls, spider monkeys, salmon, butterflies, bees, frogs, toads, newts, bats, beaver, songbirds, otter, rock hyrax, small desert species, waterfowl, and occasional humans," according to her artist statement. (Thanks to Ecoartspace for tipping us off to Hull's work.)

© Lynne Hull
One of five small desert hydroglyphs scattered like bones down a mostly dry wash in Utah.

She has carved elegant hydroglyphs into the Utah desert that hold up to five gallons of rain or snowmelt, replacing natural water sources for animals that have been taken over by humans. In the forests of Wyoming, Hull has created winter dens for pine martens that mimic the tunnels created by fallen trees in old-growth forests, a habitat declining due to clearcutting. Floating islands covered with native plants serve as "biodiversity 'life rafts'" for aquatic species, while aerial sculptures give hawks, owls, and eagles a safe place to roost and nest "in areas where taking off and landing on older power poles may result in electrocution, or areas where human disturbance may make nesting difficult."

© Lynne Hull
An otter haven created along the Green River in Western Wyoming provides a place for the animals to hide until native vegetation grows back along the degraded riverbank.

Over her career thus far in what she calls "trans-species art," Hull has completed projects in 14 states and eight countries, often collaborating with government agencies, including state wildlife departments, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service. She taps the knowledge of wildlife experts, such as raptor biologists for the roosts, and secures environmental impact approval to do work on public land.

"I am convinced that the loss of biodiversity is the most important survival challenge that we face as a species... in order to survive, other species need a change in human values and attitudes," Hull told the website artdesigncafé in an interview. "I’ve come to think of my sculptures as eco-atonement for the loss of wildlife that humans have caused... I hope that my work offers models for more equitable solutions."

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Tags: Animals | Artists | Arts | Birds | Colorado

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