When Art and Birds (Don't) Collide: Local colleges use student works to save birds

Temple University students walk past windows decked out with bird-saving decals designed by Molly Denisevicz. Photos by Christian HunoldA four-inch smudge marked the spot where, last fall, a zipping bird smacked into a window on Temple University’s campus. Today, birds flying toward the same window in the corridor connecting the Paley Library and the Tuttleman Learning Center will see silhouettes of feathered friends perched on a musical staff—a student-designed, research-based pattern that warns them of the solid obstacle in their path.

A four-inch smudge marked the spot where, last fall, a zipping bird smacked into a window on Temple University’s campus. Today, birds flying toward the same window in the corridor connecting the Paley Library and the Tuttleman Learning Center will see silhouettes of feathered friends perched on a musical staff—a student-designed, research-based pattern that warns them of the solid obstacle in their path.

“When I would walk home, I would see birds on power lines, and I thought about how they look a lot like notes on a staff,” says Molly Denisevicz, a senior in Temple’s Tyler School of Arts’ Fibers and Material Studies program. Denisevicz submitted her film design as part of a sophomore design class and beat out more than 90 entries in a juried competition. Now birds on Temple’s campus will see Molly’s design and pull up before it is too late.

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Avant Gardener: Horticulture educator has been a longtime champion for urban gardeners

Doris Stahl, here at the Horticulture Center at the Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, built hundreds of urban gardens around the city. Photo by Dan Murphy.After Doris Stahl’s two sons had moved out of the house in 1985, she was looking for a change. As a professionally trained fine artist and educator, she taught art sporadically at community centers and summer park programs while raising her two sons. But now that they were grown, Stahl wanted something more full-time. An avid home gardener, Stahl was drawn to accept a position as a horticulture educator with Penn State Extension. Little did she know the change she’d instill by bringing the Master Gardener Program to Philadelphia and building hundreds of urban gardens during her 26-year tenure.

The Master Gardener Program, which was established in Seattle in 1972 to meet the demands for urban horticulture and education, provides extensive training to volunteers who then go on to serve their communities through beautification projects, educational workshops, community garden maintenance, and providing gardening advice and education. Penn State adopted the Master Gardener Program in 1982, and implemented it in Pennsylvania counties where farming was already prevalent. But when Stahl came on board three years later, the Master Gardeners were nonexistent in Philadelphia, a city blighted by 33,000 vacant lots and minimal green space. 

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Keep It Fresh

 

Photo by Emily Teel

Warmer weather draws an appetite for flavorful spring salads 

As the spring days get warmer and evenings stretch out, it’s not all that appealing to spend an hour in the kitchen preparing a big meal. So opt to limit your time in the kitchen by whipping up these easy savory salads. These three colorful alternatives to a big meal don’t even require that you mix up a dressing. 

Pickled shallots lend a punch to roasted beets and show that you don’t need greens to make a gorgeous salad. The earthiness of the beets is punctuated with creamy, salty feta and sweetness from a few of last fall’s lingering apples. Strawberries balance the bite from balsamic and the spicy Asian greens. Slaws may be the easiest of all salads, and this one made with carrots, scallions and lime juice is no exception—even as you quickly caramelize sunflower seeds with a salty slick of soy sauce.

 

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Made in the Shade: Buying shade-grown coffee helps the region’s migratory songbirds

How can you help local birds at breakfast? Think beyond the chickens that laid your eggs, and look at what’s in your coffee mug. Many of Philadelphia’s local birds spend their winters where I would if I had wings: in the lush forests of northern Latin America’s coffee country. Unfortunately, many of these migratory songbirds are in decline.

“One reason populations can decline is because of threats they are facing on their wintering range,” says Keith Russell, Philadelphia outreach coordinator for Audubon Pennsylvania, drawing the connection between our birds and where we get our coffee. 

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