Week of July 31, 2022 – August 6, 2022 (Originally published August 30, 2020)

Eliza Phillips, environmental educator

by Eliza Phillips, Environmental Educator

For as long as humans have been on this planet we have been making art. Creating drawings, carvings, paintings, sculptures, music, and more about the things all around us. Most notably about the natural world around us. And no wonder we have, nature is breathtakingly beautiful! From sunrise to sunset we have always been surrounded by bits of nature that when we stop to look at closely enough never fail to amaze us. Take the most common and mundane leaf, an artist’s brush or pencil can bring out its most delicate details.

But we are not the only creatures who create works of art. Nature herself does too. While a caddisfly larva may not set out each day to sculpt a masterpiece, that is exactly what it accomplishes. By doing what it must to survive a caddisfly larva creates an intricate sculpture from whatever it can find in its habitat. Sticks, leaves, and pebbles are carefully assembled into a delicate home for the aquatic insect. What may simply be a safe place to sleep to the caddisfly can be viewed as a work of art to us. Spiders as well, one of the most feared animals to humans, likely do not set out to create the perfect shimmering web for us to admire,  but create it for the need to catch a meal. When their sticky traps are covered in dew they tend to look like strings of jewels arranged in a beautiful pattern.

The music of nature is an art form, too! Most birds, like the hermit thrush, are calling out a greeting or maybe a warning to each other but we hear an enchanting flutey song. And when joined with others of its species and of different species the most beautiful chorus erupts from the best place to sing, the tree tops.

While we create art to mimic and praise the beauty of the natural world, nature is also creating art by simply doing what it does best, existing. So next time you head outside remember that nature is always around us and try to find the art that is already there. Maybe it is a pattern left by an insect on a leaf or a shimmering snail trail. Perhaps a sunset catches your eye or the voice of a stream sings to you. Nature is always around us and so is art. Share your stories and pictures of art created by nature that you see by tagging @baltimorewoodsnaturecenter on Facebook or Instagram.