There is no shortage of studies that demonstrate the critical role beavers play in the ecosystem, or how humans can best restore salmon habitat and why they might want to. But all the science in the world can’t ignite the kind of deep passion for nature that leads to action. What can? Art, says Gearhart naturalist and photographer Neal Maine. In the final Listening to the Land presentation of 2017, Maine will explore how artists can connect us with the natural world and drive us to protect it. Join him Wednesday, May 17, at 6 p.m. for a program called “Wildlife: The Artist’s Eye and You” at Seaside Public Library. Admission is free.
As a retired biology teacher, Maine qualifies as a science geek. But since his retirement, he has turned his attention toward aesthetics: capturing wildlife on his camera and developing a greater appreciation for other art forms that celebrate nature. With video, still photographs, poetry and music, he will share his own journey to better understand the natural world through not just the logical left brain but the more intuitive, creative right brain. “If we don’t create a right-brain context for the wild,” he says, “we’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing: studying the beaver, studying the salmon, but with none of the emotion that causes actions that are consistent with how the solar system works.” Those would be actions that help, rather than hinder, conservation of habitat upon which all life, including human life, depends. Maine is one of dozens of artists taking part in the Beaver Tales Art Exhibit, which will be on display at Fairweather House and Gallery and other locations throughout Seaside beginning May 6.
After a 30-year career as an award-winning biology teacher at Seaside High School, Maine became the first executive director of North Coast Land Conservancy. Since his retirement in 2010, he has pursued his passion to make deeper connections to the coastal system, using photography to record some of his experiences and to develop greater public appreciation of living in what he considers paradise.
Listening to the Land is an annual winter speaker series presented monthly by North Coast Land Conservancy and the Necanicum Watershed Council in partnership with the Seaside Public Library.