Ms Margie Jenkin1
1Tasmanian Land Conservancy, Lower Sandy Bay, Australia
Connecting people with the environment is critical to progress nature conservation and the work of the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC). Discovery days on our private reserves provide opportunities for supporters to hear about ecological values and management from expert staff. Our volunteer program engages students, supporters and neighbours in various activities, both on and off the reserves, while regular newsletters and social media share news and stories on the nature we protect.
But the visual arts and creative expression provide a fresh and artistic lens through which audiences can experience nature.
In 2016, in collaboration with Bett Gallery, the TLC introduced nine poets and nine painters to The Big Punchbowl Reserve on Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula. In pairs, they have produced work interpreting the landscape, its stories and ecological fabric, and this has been exhibited and published in Poets and Painters – Celebrating The Big Punchbowl.
Gallery owners, Dick and Carol Bett hatched the Poets and Painters idea in the 1990s, bringing together writers and painters to collaborate in pairs. Their aim was to unite emerging and acclaimed artists of different genres, expose them to the same subject and then observe the response.
For the first time, the subject was replaced with a place, little known to the participants involved.
The results, edited and curated by Carol Bett and Pete Hay have been both intimate and grand, inviting us to ponder the role art can play in connecting new audiences to nature and its protection.