The Artists-in-Residence program paves the way for LTER scientists and others in the KBS community to explore the intersection between art and science. We are excited to learn more from our artists and scientists as the KBS LTER explores options for creating a long-term program in art and science collaborations. This program is one of several art-science collaborations taking place across the LTER Network.

Erin Schneider, farmer writer in residence at KBS.

Our first-ever artist, a self-described “people, plants, and dirt-lover”, Erin Schneider, co-owner of Hilltop Community Farm in La Valle, Wisconsin. Erin visited KBS and worked with the community to examine the interstices between science, nature, and art through poetry. The culmination of her first week was a poetry workshop where Erin shared her work and invited others to do the same. On her following visit, she will help to organize the Allurement Salon, and evening showcasing the art and science from KBS to the broader community.

Two poems by Erin, inspired by her visit to the LTER, are below:

Poplar Destinations

    Isn’t it funny
    When suddenly
    after a decade of vigor and climb
    You were razed overnight.
    I didn’t raise you
    Though I remember planting you, a slender whip, 
    with a rooted tuck
    A gentle press and off you went
    All spindly, chalk-white, and nodal
    And when you leafed out to scintillate silver, alchemize the sun 
    I stood winded, sighed
    the sapling years were through
    Before I knew you surpassed 5’ 10’’
    explored new heights underground,
    ran amok with neighbors.
    Roots groping, branching out, testing boundaries, 
    Leaves settling for sun allotment
    Trunk sequentially spaced
    and turgidity in check.
    Wonder and Movement came naturally to you.
    I knew resisting change causes the past
    to present memories
    on quaking platters.
    I take to analyzing the remains;
    Age is a number
    Gravity a wave
    Tree breath a miracle
    Attractions sometimes strange.
    I love these poplars and this world!
    Ten years ago, such a proclamation would’ve 
    upset control, emancipate research.
    But now, appreciation for decays’ arrival,
    And transformed research,
    I reach for a fine sip of soil
    As timbre goes underground.
    Sporulating nightcaps of mushrooms reclaim stumps and pollards
    And everywhere I look, fuel for renew. 

    -Erin Schneider 7-17-19

Tilia Philia

    I used to chase windmills,
    Held wooded expectations not even lake winds and gull cries could stir.
    Now, I embrace Tilia time,
    Discover where data might end and reverie begin.

    And learn to answer the kinglets whisps
    with my listening voice
    Stilled by the immensity of it all.

    I step into your robed canopy of 
    heart shape leaves, the way you branch and breathe
    into the soft spaces behind my ear and
    Offer your stump to rest
    In gratitude

    I unwind into your lime green
    That must have massaged temples, 
    Welcomed strangers avian, human and Other, wise
    Softening worries, absorbed and etched in
    Your furrowed trunk and brow beats, 
    I pause, attempt to write your shape, witness your arboreal expectorants
    Florets posited on petioles poised, at the ready
    To soothe coughs, enhance drumbeats, feed bees,
    blur lines where canopy and clouds part ways.

    Basswood, linden, little leaf, big heart
    Tilia philia

    -Erin Schneider  5-21-19

The interest and participation in the artists-in-resdience program motivated the publication of a Summer at KBS Anthology’, wherein students, staff, and researchers shared artwork and writings highlighting their scientific discoveries. Those who worked at KBS were invited to submit their pieces, inspired by their experiences that made a lasting impression on them. The anthology features poems, sketches, and writings inspired by events that took place in summer 2019.