West Coast Region Science in the Studio Award
The Science in the Studio Award aims to use art to demonstrate how our cumulative actions affect the health of marine and freshwater resources and actions people can take to protect them.
In 2013, NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Northwest College of Arts joined forces to advance a shared vision: bridging environmental science and conservation with art to create social change. The Science in the Studio Award aims to use art to demonstrate how our cumulative actions affect the health of marine and freshwater resources and actions people can take to protect them. Each year, a select group of students work closely with NOAA Fisheries’ staff and scientists to address a specific concern and inspire the public to make changes in their daily lives.
2016-2017 Award: Salmon Culture
The 2017 Science in Studio award was designed to foster salmon culture in California. Millions of wild Chinook salmon once returned to spawn in the foothills and mountains of California’s Central Valley. Today, many salmon—including Sacramento River winter-run Chinook—are facing extinction. There are also healthy salmon stocks that benefit from habitat protections and other conservation actions. Recovering endangered and threatened salmon and ensuring that healthy salmon stocks remain sustainable all require increased public awareness of the cultural, economic, and ecological importance of salmon.
The 2017 Science in Studio awardee, Anke Gladnick, developed illustrations for our children’s book, An Incredible Journey. This book aims to ensure that salmon are a deep and rich part of California’s culture and that people are inspired to protect the watersheds on which salmon depend.
About the Artist
Anke Gladnick is an artist and illustrator who grew up in California and found their way to Portland, Oregon. Through a mix of collaged analog and digital elements, Anke’s work is both visually and conceptually layered, with a focus on the surreal. They are inspired by dreams, nostalgia, and the small yet impressionable moments found in everyday life.
“I was really excited to get the chance to work with NOAA Fisheries for the Science in Studio award; As a student in the arts, it’s easy to wonder why you’re creating work, if it serves a purpose beyond the scope of a classroom assignment or personal expression. I wanted to participate in Science in Studio to utilize my creative thinking and illustration skills in service to a project for a cause that I believed in, and that is exactly what I experienced. Working with NOAA Fisheries allowed me to transition from student to creative professional along with the incredible opportunity to be immersed in and communicate the salmon’s struggle for survival in California.”
2015-2016 Award: A Tale of Two Species
The 2016 Science in the Studio award was designed to promote safe whale viewing. Boaters, kayakers, jet skiers, and paddle boarders often approach whales at close distances and attempt to interact with them—posing significant threats to the wellbeing of the animals and to human safety.
People often approach these animals because they want to get that thrilling experience of being close to a whale. We also live in an era where posting your latest adventure on social media drive people to get as close to these majestic creatures as possible. Unfortunately, close encounters can interfere with the natural behavior of the whales, particularly their feeding, breeding, and migration. Excessive or prolonged disruption can cause behavioral changes that can harm the health and survival of these animals.
About the Artists
Michelle Guthrie and Shelby Smith were selected as this year’s Science in Studio award winners. Together, they addressed the theme “Whales and Humans: A Tale of Two Species.”
They engaged in research-based art practice, traveling through southern California to meet and interview a diverse range of audiences and NOAA Fisheries collaborators.
Shelby and Michelle worked together to develop the postcard and decal below. They also distributed the postcard and decal to beach communities in California. Michelle and Shelby also hosted “Whale Talks,” a forum to share research and dialogue about human interaction with whales. To start the series, they screened the documentary film, A Life Among Whales, which featured the work of marine biologist Roger Payne.
2014-2015 Awards: Watershed Toxics
The 2015 Science in the Studio award centered on water quality and the impact to fish and marine life of pharmaceuticals and toxic runoff in our watersheds and landscapes.
Prizes were awarded in four categories: animation, illustration, mural, and poster. Take action—learn how you can keep toxic runoff out of our waterways.
Watershed Toxics Mural
Esteban Camacho Steffensen created an artistic and educational design for a large mural that focuses on protecting watersheds from toxic runoff. As you look at the mural, the images inside the Chinook salmon represent interwoven habitats and the many human activities that bring toxics into our waterways.
As of 2022, six of these murals have been painted across the West Coast to inspire awareness, appreciation, and stewardship of salmon. See the West Coast Salmon Murals story map.
- Mural mockup
- Mural coloring sheet
- Paint the mural in your community
- West Coast Salmon Murals story map
About the Artist
Esteban is a muralist with commissioned artwork in Costa Rica, Spain, and the United States. His subject matter is environmentally focused, bridging biology, education, and fine art. Most of his artwork has been produced in public spaces, such as universities and city institutions, where he works with community leaders during the design process and involves local youth and students in the painting and production.
Watershed Toxics Animations
Beryl Allee developed three animations to convey how human activities impact the health of local watersheds, which drain into coastal and ocean waters where they can affect marine life, and actions people can take to keep toxics out of local waterways.
Beryl worked with Grace Murphy to create the #CitizenOfYourWatershed social media campaign using animation and illustration to convey the importance of human actions on the health of watersheds.
About the Artist
Beryl Allee understands that animation has a unique ability to communicate with the world. Beryl is interested in investigating ways to effectively appeal to a wide range of audiences through the moving image, and uses art to reach out to the world. Beryl's animation crosses into the disciplines of illustration and painting, and most recently she has developed digital 2D animated short films.
Watershed Toxics Illustrations
Grace Murphy used scientific and creative research to produce three illustrations depicting toxics produced in urban landscapes. Each illustration speaks to one of several themes, including roads and homes. The campaign depicts particular environments, the source of toxics, the impacts on the watershed, and simple behavioral adjustments people can make to limit the effects.
About the Artist
Grace Murphy is an illustrator working in Portland, Oregon. She specializes in digital illustration and is currently studying animation design with the intention of transitioning into the animation industry following her time at the Pacific Northwest College of Arts.
Watershed Toxics Posters
Stephanie J. Fogel designed a poster campaign that centers on clean watersheds, highlighting the presence of pharmaceuticals in our natural water sources and the subsequent effects on salmon and aquatic resources.
- California poster - PDF to come
- Idaho poster- PDF to come
- Oregon poster- PDF to come
- Washington poster- PDF to come
Learn how to print these posters in different sizes.
About the Artist
Stephanie J. Fogel is an interdisciplinary artist based in Portland, Oregon. Her work is driven heavily by research, resulting in images that revolve around political critique and environmental activism. Through her images, Stephanie seeks to promote community awareness and environmental responsibility.
2013-2014 Award: Nearshore Habitats
In 2013-2014, students were challenged to produce an animated short story to communicate the importance of shorelines to salmon.
Bridging Art With Science to Protect Salmon Habitat
Young salmon need vegetated, shallow water where they can stay cool, eat bugs, and grow larger while hiding from predators. Nearshore habitats with woody plant debris and rocks are crucial as salmon transition from freshwater to life in the ocean. Unfortunately, this is not the ideal picture of a modern home or waterfront business. These places favor order and cleanliness: a nice lawn with a clearly defined border, perhaps a stout bulkhead or a slope of gravel to prevent erosion.
Balancing waterfront development with the needs of salmon is a continuous challenge that requires innovative thinking. Working together, NOAA Fisheries and students at the Pacific Northwest College of Arts bridged art with science to create a call to action. The students produced an animated short story to communicate the importance of shorelines, looking at traditional methods for protecting them so they can be modified to support healthy salmon habitat.
NOAA Fisheries is proud to present this beautiful animation by the Pacific Northwest College of Arts’ very own Beryl Allee and John Summerson. Colorado native Allee wrote the story and created the illustrations, while Summerson is the student behind the animation and sound design.