ACRES Launches 200 Year Ecological Reflections Art & Science Initiative

ACRES Land Trust kicks off a 200-year Ecological Reflections art and science initiative with a celebration, 2 pm, Saturday, August 12 at Wing Haven, located at 180 W 400 N, Angola, IN 46703. Indiana’s oldest and largest local land trust will commission and share two centuries of work by artists and scientists investigating and reflecting on Wing Haven over time.

“It’s hard for most of us to visualize what forever means,” says Jason Kissel, executive director of the nonprofit. “This ‘short-term’ project of 200 years reinforces ACRES’ commitment to forever, gets people thinking about time differently, and demonstrates how ACRES views land-changes over two centuries.”

Ecological Reflections will focus 200 years of arts and science on Wing Haven’s rich diversity of plants and animals in 3 major ecosystems: glacially carved kettle-hole lakes bordered by a wetland fen system, upland forests, and rolling grasslands/meadows.

Ecological Reflections will document changes at ACRES’ Wing Haven preserve near Angola. The preserve, home to an artist’s studio, features a rich diversity of plants and animals in 3 major ecosystems: glacially carved kettle-hole lakes bordered by a wetland fen system, upland forests, and rolling grasslands/meadows.

“ACRES’ commitment to forever is reinforced through the ‘seasonality’ of coming back to the property,” says Kissel. “Nature is at Wing Haven every day, every season. We’re getting into the rhythm of this particular protected place by continuing this project for two centuries. It is a true ecological reflection on the land.”

To fund the initiative, the land trust has created an endowment that will generate interest to pay contributing artists and scientists. If the endowment reaches $1 million in support, it will fund a full-fledged artist-in-residence program with artists living and creating art at Wing Haven for 3 to 6 months, and robust ongoing science research on the property. With current funding, work will be commissioned annually.

To launch the 200- year science portion of the project, botanist Scott Namestnik of Orbis Environmental Consulting has conducted a plant inventory of Wing Haven. Namestnik will share his results at Saturday’s event.

For the inaugural year, ACRES commissioned artist Gwen Gutwein to create an oil painting of Wing Haven that will be unveiled at Saturday’s event. Humanities scholar Kevin McKelvey has written about the preserve and will be on hand to lead a writing workshop with event participants. Botanist Scott Namestnik of Orbis Environmental Consulting has conducted a plant inventory and will share his results Saturday. Manchester University and Purdue University are developing science protocols for the initiative.

“With robust investment, the project will grow to support the community’s vision for it and for land preservation,” says Heather Barth, director of fund development for the nonprofit. “ACRES’ Ecological Reflections initiative will inspire many generations to realize the value of protecting land for good.”

“When we talk about this project, business owners and community leaders pause to consider what longevity means, what this kind of planning looks like,” says Kissel. “What will happen from now until the year 2217? ACRES will be here protecting land and documenting what this means from the land itself.”

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