Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sketching System Interactions

This iSite took place on an ecology tour through Tarpon Bay on the Ding Darling Natural Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel Island, FL.  A biologist, Brianna Coffman who turns out to be a distant unknown cousin of my dad (it's a small, interconnected world), led our tour with incredible knowledge and insight about this coastal marsh ecosystem.  In addition to the insights learned from the boat, our tour guide also gave us knowledge about how marine life interacts below the sea, interactions I've sketched below.  

Marine Life Interactions at Sanibel Island
(sketch by Amy Coffman Phillips)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sanibel Coastal Ecosystem

As a part of my Biomimicry Professional program, we do numerous iSites.  iSites are part of our practice of (re)connecting with natural environments and they involve going out and observing nature in order to deepen our understanding of her and through reflection and sketching, reconnect with life and strengthen our vision of a world empowered by nature's genius.

Jacob chasing birds on Sanibel Island
While on vacation in Florida, I did an iSite translating what I saw on the natural beaches of Sanibel into an engineering diagram of energy flows.  I noticed that all normal energy flows are cyclical - each organism's waste creates an input of energy for another.  The energy my son expended chasing shore birds is not accounted for on the diagram below, but I think it should be.  

Energy flows of a coastal ecosystem

The Laughing Gull on Sanibel Island

Laughing gull on Sanibel Island
We just returned from our vacation to Sanibel Island and Ft. Myers, Florida and it is so nice to get a break from the cold winters in Chicago. As a part of my work on the Biomimicry Professional Certificate Program, I get to do site observations called iSites. During this time, I have the luxury to think and observe nature while trying to tune out distractions - not always easy for a mom with two small kids. For this iSite, I was to imagine my life as an organism I observed, and the seagulls on Sanibel Island are ubiquitous.