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By Christina Catanese

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    Above: Native Pollinator Garden - Marguerita Hagan, B.H. Mills and Magie Mills. Photo credit: John Woodin.   Putting the words “art” and “environment” together may conjure images of flower photography, landscape paintings, or Audubon’s famous illustrations.  But in the Schuylkill Center’s environmental art program (the only such program in Philadelphia and the most ambitious at a nature center nationwide), we widen our lens to work with the most cutting-edge indoor and outdoor contemporary visual artists who are engaging with the complex environmental issues and ecological topics of our time. At the Schuylkill Center, managing our forests presents seemingly insurmountable obstacles: invasive species, deer that overgraze the forest, erosion from increasingly large storms and the myriad impacts of climate change.  But these challenges present an opportunity to develop creative approaches that produce novel outcomes.  LandLab, a new artist residency at the Schuylkill Center funded by Knight Foundation, represents a new frontier in environmental art and land stewardship, asking artists to explore creative ways to respond to these pressing problems, and involve people in the solutions.