Art, Nature and Conservation Applied Minor (AM)

For hundreds of years art has been used to raise awareness on environmental issues and conservation. Both art and nature have the potential of evoking similar emotional and deep personal responses that could result in actions that benefit oneself and/or the environment.

The art, nature and conservation applied minor (AM) is designed for you to explore the intersections of art, creativity, nature and conservation. Through a combination of coursework, hands-on and experiential learning, the designation emphasizes natural history, experiences with/in nature, and the use of artistic expression to support nature and habitat conservation, biodiversity, sustainability and environmental education.

Photo collage of habitat conservation

Program Details

For this AM, you will examine the natural world through experience, careful observation and a uniquely creative lens. You will learn about the environment and use inspiration in nature, wildlife and natural landscapes to produce pieces of art in a medium of your interest (painting, drawing, ceramics, weaving and photography). Artistic expression is a powerful way to relate a scientific understanding of the importance of biodiversity conservation to a broad audience. Such work can capture a wide spectrum of biodiversity and the essence of threatened habitats and ecosystems, making our natural heritage more accessible and relevant.

Applied minors (AMs) are distinctive programs allowing you to personalize your education and to help you make direct connections between academic interests and co-curricular activities.

Learn more about applied minors.


  • BIOL 111 Ecological Biology (prerequisite for BIOL 360 Conservation Biology)
  • BIOL 360 Conservation Biology

Two of the following art-related academic courses:

  • ART 115 Context & Meaning
  • ART 200 Ceramics I
  • ART 205 Drawing I
  • ART 220 Metal I
  • ART 225 Painting I
  • ART 235 Photography I
  • ART 245 Weaving I
  • ART 282 Modern Art and the Environment
  • One or two ART Studio II courses
  • May Terms will be considered by petition
  • Other courses will be considered by petition

One of the following (natural science wildlife/natural history) biology courses

  • BIOL 226 Biological Diversity
  • BIOL 348 Ornithology
  • BIOL 350 Field Botany
  • BIOL 357 Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 362 Insect Biology
  • BIOL TBA Vertebrate Zoology
  • May Terms will be considered by petition
  • Other courses will be considered by petition

Co-curricular activity
You must complete at least two of the following:

  • AWPE 210 Trail building and invasive species control (at least 21 hours of work)
  • Presentation of wildlife/nature projects in art venue (e.g., art display in on/off-campus exhibition)
  • Presentation of field project research (e.g., Earlham Annual Research Conference, Earlham Science Research Conference, Butler Undergraduate Research Conference)
  • Volunteer at wildlife refuge, sanctuary, state park, botanical garden or equivalent, etc.—at least 20 hours of work
  • Volunteer at zoo, aquarium, nature center, museum, state park, fish and wildlife service, art museum, wildlife exhibit—at least 20 hours of work—at least 20 hours of work
  • Applied group at Joseph Moore Museum (e.g., interpretive exhibit creation, Eco-tour development) or Leadership in wildlife/nature club (bird club, insect club, or wildlife/nature relate field)—at least 20 hours of work
  • Leadership/Participation in Vicki Penziner Matson Natural History Expedition—at least an overnight
  • An outdoor experience where they reflect and observe nature and engage in at least two journal entries (e.g., outdoor trip, Vicki-Penziner Matson Field Trip, wildflower walk, their own Thoreau walk, etc.)—at least 48 hours of involvement
  • Other experiences to be considered by petition

Culminating experience

The entire capstone portfolio must be submitted electronically in PDF format to the program point persons (Wendy Tori and Judy Wojcik). To graduate with the designation in art, nature and conservation, the portfolio must be submitted no later than March 31 of the graduating year. The faculty highly encourages students to complete the portfolio before this deadline. Applied minor faculty will review portfolios and schedule a feedback meeting prior to approving the capstone requirement.

The capstone portfolio should contain:

  • Title page with student name
  • Rationale for pursuing this designation
  • Critical reflective practicum essay that connects the work that has happened throughout the courses taken, co-curricular components, and connections among them and to the theme—art, nature and conservation of nature
  • Sample of artistic work (art, video, and paper) developed from their classes: An art portfolio with at least three pieces that reflect the connection between their work and conservation of nature (e.g., a PowerPoint with pictures of art pieces, the actual pieces on display, the photos, etc.)
  • Updated resume that includes their designation work in a meaningful way

This applied minor is a good fit for those interested in art, field biology, environmental sustainability, outdoor education, natural historians, wildlife biology and museum studies, among other areas.

Our faculty

Our faculty understand how art and science can be a source of inspiration, creativity and stewardship of nature. We’ll work closely with you to combine scientific accuracy with artistic expression to maximize the impact of student projects.

Have questions?

Learn more about declaring your interest in an applied minor and find answers to other questions you may not even know you have.

Next steps

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.