Meg Chilidae, Prairie Sanctuary, Evanston Ecology Center, Ladd Arboretum, Evanston, IL, 2020, Corten Steel with natural material nesting boxes, 6’x2’x1.5’
With support from the Evanston Arts Council, Chicago Sculpture International, and Horigan Urban Forest Products, artists Janet Austin and Emily Moorhead-Wallace, have created a pollinator habitat sculpture Meg Chilidae, Prairie Sanctuary for the Evanston Ecology Center. The main purpose of this project is to create an interactive sculpture that functions as a pollinator habitat and artwork thereby joining art and science. Named after the genus species, megachilidae, of the native pollinator Leafcutting Bee, the artwork is intended to meet the optimal dwelling needs of indigenous pollinators, solitary bees, and other insects. Members of the Evanston community assisted in the creation of the habitats through programming at The Evanston Ecology Center. The main structure of the sculpture is fabricated in steel with wooden boxes for these habitat cells. Through the creation and maintenance of these pollinator habitat cells, community members will become educated on the proper needs of pollinator insects.
Evanston Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd., Evanston, Il 60201, (847-448-8256) www.cityofevanston.org
Additional project information
The main purpose of this project is to create an interactive sculpture that functions as a pollinator habitat and artwork. This project continues the mission of The Evanston Ecology Center: to foster a greater appreciation, awareness and knowledge of the natural environment and our interdependence with it through educational programs and services. The pollinator habitat sculpture will speak to the decimation of critical insects, how to care for them and how to create a habitat that will support their needs.
Designing artist’s motivational theme visualizes humans supporting nature. These artists are conscientious in construction techniques and aware of the optimal needs of indigenous pollinators, solitary bees, and other insects. The sculpture will be made with this in mind. Members of the Evanston community will be invited to assist in the creation of the habitats during scheduled through programming at The Evanston Ecology Center. During events, additional sculptors from Chicago Sculpture International will guide participants in creating optimal habitats using non-treated woods and eco-friendly materials. The main structure of the sculpture will be an artist fabricated steel structure with cavities in place for these habitat cells. Through the creation of pollinator habitat cells community members will become educated on the proper needs of pollinator insects.
A tertiary goal of this project is to engage future Ecology Center visitors and other community members who visit the artwork after pollinators have established homes within it. People using the pedestrian North Shore Channel Trail that runs through the property will experience a living sculpture with an ecological function. Didactics will educate the public of pollinator importance and the purpose of the sculpture.
Artwork completed with nesting material in April 2020. Check artwork for updates on pollinators moving in!
Interested in learning more about native bees, check out this amazing pamphlet by the USDA Forest Service: Bee Basics
Build your own Native Bee Habitats: Nests For Native Bees