Category Archives: Nature

Where have I been – you ask?

DREAMING PLACE: Marble Arch Caves Geopark

I’ve just returned from 40 days and 40 nights of “action research” and experiment above and below ground in a traveling residency at the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, Eire/Northern Ireland. (To locate the geopark on google maps click here.) Supported by Marble Arch Caves Geopark and funded by Arts Council England, DREAMING PLACE asks the question, “Does the land dream through us?”

During our “traveling residency” we camped at various sites throughout the Geopark and encountered an array of people, places and things which helped us to explore our three main focuses of the project: dúlra – ecosystem; dúchas– heritage; aisling – dream. We captured our experiences, ideas and insights both in sound with our trusty digital audio recorders and pen and ink through an evolving collaborative drawing. We also created a “DREAMING PLACE toolkit”, which we plan to share in the form of a book – more details forthcoming.

Our field work at Marble Arch Caves Geopark is now complete, but there is still so much we want to share so Anna and I are still blogging! Visit our blog at for daily audio, image and stories.

To give you a little background on the collaborative project: Anna Keleher and I met at Dartington College of Art in 2007 during our studies on the M.A. Arts and Ecology course, at which time we began our collaborative practice. When we finished our studies we vowed we would meet up again in Ireland one day to continue our collaboration and further research prehistoric ecologies. During our recent 40-day residency, we “made good” on our promise to each other.

Many thanks to all those who helped make DREAMING PLACE a success. We miss the people, places and things of MAC Geopark. We´ll be back! Our special thanks to Fermanagh Council officers Diane Henshaw and Rose Cremin, Geopark Manager Richard Watson and Education Director, Martina McGee of MAC Geopark, David Scott of Gortatole Activity Centre, Outland Arts and all the other wonderful people who gave us tea, lent us boats and shared their good craic with us.

Follow us on the DREAMING PLACE project blog as we bring our collaborative drawing into the public eye and transform our audio recordings into a three-part radio series…..

How Far From Home Are We? – Opens April 1st

“How Far From Home Are We?”
An illustrated Radio Journey

by Anna Keleher, Claire Coté and Rebecca Beinart

Opening Reception April 1, 6 – 8pm

Exhibition installed April 1 – 29, 2011
Harwood Art Center, 1114 7th St. NW, Albuquerque, NM
Gallery Hours: Mon – Fri, 10 AM to 4 PM, and Fri Apr. 15th 6-8 PM

Making its debut in the United States, this exhibition is the collaborative outcome of a voyage in a small van from Totnes England to Helsinki Finland via the Baltic States and back through Scandinavia, across 16 borders, over 5,700 kilometers and all in seventeen days. On-site recordings and creative reflection are woven together to provide illuminating glimpses of a journey by land and sea. Collaborative pen and ink drawings created over bumpy roads and by the light of headlamps offer illustrated glimpses. Whittled tally-sticks provide a sculptural “account” of the expedition. Come and experience this intimate multi-sensory journey and join the collaboration through listening, smelling and drawing!

Dates pending for broadcasts of this radio journey on Sound Art Radio 102.5 fm, Totnes, England and KRZA Radio 88.7 fm , Alamosa CO. / Taos, NM. Check our website below of updates and live streaming opportunities!

Sounds clips, drawings and more info at:

The Emerging Field of “Soundscape Ecology”

[Image: Students from Field Studies 2010 (N.b. link auto-plays sound) explore London; photo by Marc Behrens, courtesy of The Wire].

While preparing for my upcoming sound workshop, I came across the emerging field of “Soundscape Ecology”, close cousin to “Acoustic Ecology”. What a timely discovery!

Some of you may have heard about this on NPR’s Weekend Edition this past Saturday, March 26th. If not, you can listen to it here.

Apparently there are people and scientists out there (one researcher in particular from Purdue University, see below, has really capture the attention of the media and blogosphere of late!) who are coming to grips with the importance of sound and soundscapes in the study of place and ecology.

According to an article from Science Codex, the new “scientific field….will use sound as a way to understand the ecological characteristics of a landscape and to reconnect people with the importance of natural sounds. Soundscape ecology, as it’s being called, will focus on what sounds can tell people about an area. Bryan Pijanowski, an associate professor of forestry and natural resources and lead author of a paper outlining the field in the journal BioScience, said natural sound could be used like a canary in a coal mine. Sound could be a critical first indicator of environmental changes…..”
Read the entire article here.

A little more research led me to this fascinating semi-local resource in Santa Fe, the Acoustic Ecology Instite: Their blog/news site is also very informative: I have yet to speak with anyone from AEI, but I certainly will in the near future!

Another informative post on BLDGBLOG comparing similarities and differences between the bouquet of emerging audio-based ecological fields (and also where the featured photo for this post came from) can be found here.

Keep your ears open to the sounds around you and let me know what you hear!

‘Sounds Surround’ Sound Journeys Workshop

Harwood Art Center, 1114 7th St. NW, Albuquerque, NM
Saturday, April 2, 10 am – 12 noon

Workshop Facilitator – Claire Coté
Workshop is $15 – Preregistration Requested
Morning tea and scones provided

The sounds surrounding us are an often neglected, but very important part of our perceptual experience of places and the world in general. This workshop provides guidance on deepening our listening in each place and how to bring soundscape awareness and sound journeys into our work. The workshop will include brief introductions to sound, listening and sound art as well as providing participants with experience-based listening exercises in and out of doors, to open our ears and minds to the sounds surrounding us.

“Sounds Surround” is open to all, but is especially geared towards artists, teachers, park rangers and interpretation specialists.

To register for the workshop please contact Claire Coté at 575-586-2362 or by email at

‘Sounds Surround’ is presented in connection with “How Far From Home Are We?” an illustrated radio journey and a multi-sensory installation at the Harwood Center for the Arts. More information online at:

Free Download – Conservation Biology Textbook

Conservation Biology for All - it's free!

I just discovered this amazing free download of the conservation biology textbook, Conservation Biology for All, edited by Navjot S. Sodhi and Paul R. Ehrlich (Department of Biology, Stanford University) and published by Oxford University Press.

Conservation Biology for All was made available for free download in celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010 and is offered at, an environmental and conservation news site. The book is 358 pages in all and covers a wide variety of conservation biology topics including biodiversity, ecosystems, habitat destruction and fragementation, invasive species, fire and biodiversity and the roles of people in conservation.

Check it out and download it here.

Learn more about and explore other articles here.

The feel of vanishing mist….


How do I draw the feel of vanishing mist?

How do I draw the sound of bellowing cows?

How do I draw the smell of the morning?

I asked myself these questions while sitting under the vestibule of my tent, deep in the Valle Vidal Wilderness. Through an invitation from John Wenger, painter, explorer and Professor Ameritus at UNM, I was honored to join members of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance and Albuquerque Wildlife Federation for a weekend of volunteering and companionship in the beautiful and history-rich Valle Vidal. I was impressed by the sheer number of people who showed up to help and with the coordination of the event. Rocky Mountain Youth Corps youth were also onsite for a weekend of hiking and wilderness exploration. The mingling and cross-pollination of the various groups and communities from around New Mexico was wonderful to witness. The conviction, pride, knowledge, self-respect and commitment of the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and other kids at the site gave me hope. I look forward to attending other volunteer events and collaborating with NMWA in the future.

Rainbow Season

Chris and I call our homestead “Sky Berth” moored in the middle of the sagebrush ocean.

sky noun
1.    the area high above the trees, buildings, landscape, or horizon.
2.    the way the sky looks in a particular part of the world (often used in the plural)
3.    sky or Sky the plane, thought of as being high above the Earth, in which immortal powers or beings exist, such as God or immortal souls (literary) (often used in the plural)
4.    the topmost limit or the best and most it is possible to achieve

berth noun
1.    a bed, usually built-in, on a ship or a train
2.    a place, usually alongside a quay or dock, where a ship ties up or anchors
3.    sufficient room between a ship and the shore or between a ship and another vessel or object to allow the ship to maneuver safely
4.    a place for a motor vehicle to park or be loaded or unloaded

Under the wide open, ever-changing sky, the name always suits well, but in this rainbow season, it is particularly appropriate!

This is our cozy home!

This is our cozy home!