Embracing our Environment

Integrating the Natural World with the Arts

This Series is supported by the NEH Humanities and Arts Fund

For questions about any of these events contact Dr. Kirsten Martin ([email protected]du)

Upcoming Events


USJ Art Museum Exhibition: “Embracing our Environment”

March 25 – May 28, 2022

Location: USJ Art Museum, Bruyette Athenaeum Building 

An installation of paintings and prints from the permanent collection that supports the Embracing our Environment programming

Past Events


Poetry and the Environment

The Peter Brazeau Poetry Event
Presenter: Margaret Gibson

Join us for this event featuring Connecticut Poet Laureate, Margaret Gibson.


USJ Earth Festival

Sensory Nature Trail Work Party

Join Dr. Josh Anderson on a tour of the proposed Sensory Nature Trail, Help clean up the area. Attendees will also get a chance to identify locations where bat and owl boxes will be placed. Attendees should wear long pants, shoes they do not mind getting wet, and bring bug spray.

Pollinator Garden Cleanup

Join Dr. Kirsten Martin and help clean up the USJ Pollinator Garden. Attendees will also help plant native plants that will help attract a variety of pollinators to the USJ campus. Attendees should wear long pants and bring bug spray.

Mindfulness in the Meadow

Need a calm moment in your day? Join Dr. Christina Alevras for this activity in the USJ Grasslands Habitat.

Interpretations Launch Party

Celebrate the 2022 edition of Interpretations.

Performance by USJ Dance Group

Join us for this special performance by the USJ Dance Group

USJ Phenology Project Presentation/Walk

Interested in learning more about your campus landscape? Join Dr. Michelle Kraczkowski for this informative presentation about the USJ Phenology Project.

Native Bee Houses Workshop

Native bees are vital to healthy environments. Attendees at this workshop will be able to build (and keep) their own native bee house.

Poetry and the Environment

Join us for this event featuring Connecticut Poet Laureate Margaret Gibson


How Nature is Integrated with Arts in Japan

Presenter: Toshiko Uchino

This presentation will focus on how the environment is an integral part of Japanese culture and art. In Japanese art, nature plays a very central role. There is beauty in the harmony of imbalance, asymmetry, and imperfection of nature. Japanese art also portrays the interdependency of all living things with us.  Toshiko Uchino is a representative of the Us & Japan Society of Connecticut, a group that coordinates a wide variety of cultural and environmental events.


Environmental Justice and the Law: One Activist’s Path to Protect People and the Planet

Presenter: Liz Jacob, Yale Law School Graduate student

Each year, the Department of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies hosts a lecture funded by the bequest of an alumna, Mary Munger ’39.

This year’s speaker will be a graduate student from Yale Law School. Liz Jacob is a passionate advocate for environmental justice who is deeply invested in her community and committed to advancing racial justice-centered solutions to build a safe, more sustainable world for us all.


Ask the River: An Interdisciplinary Movement and Visual Art Project

Presenter: Evie Lovett, Andrea Wasserman, Elizabeth Billings

Artists Elizabeth Billings, Evie Lovett, and Andrea Wasserman work at the intersection of making, community, and the natural world. Intertwining people and place, Ask the River is a movement and visual art collaboration building, reflecting, and deepening our relationship with water. Ask the River includes a 32’ x 86’ permanent kinetic sculpture bringing River patterns to the Brattleboro Transportation Center and a series of cyanotype banner-making workshops with a final choreographed performance gathering hundreds of community members in reconnecting with water. Ask the River is guided by the Abenaki understanding of understanding of oneness with the earth, the sky, and the water. The artists are currently the inaugural Climate Change Artists in Residence at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. They will share their recent projects and an opportunity for the community to make art together.


Art Workshop with Artists from the Ask the River Project

Presenter: Evie Lovett, Andrea Wasserman, Elizabeth Billings

Join artists Elizabeth Billings, Evie Lovett, and Andrea Wasserman in a hands-on art workshop.  Participants will learn about and create cyanotypes.


Medicinal Plants in Current Medicines

Presenter: Dr. Dayne Laskey, Associate Professor of Pharmacy

This presentation will talk about the history of medicinal plant use and will discuss some examples of plants used in current medicine.


EcoART: The City as a Living Laboratory (CaLL)

Presenter: Mary Pelletier

For over a decade, City as Living Laboratory (CaLL) has collaborated with citizens, artists, historians, and scientists to visualize and re-image landscapes along urban waterways. The radical inclusivity of City as Living Laboratory, (CaLL) offers a framework to host an exchange of interdisciplinary information and community enthusiasm, which has inspired eco-activism as well as site-specific art installations. This presentation will review strategies and outcomes of current CaLL projects underway in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and New York City, reflect on the willingness of Mary Miss, an internationally renowned artist, to engage local communities, as well as to share ideas ways to increase participation in the local CaLL, Park River watershed project.


Hemispheric Principles: Viewing the Environment Through Music

Presenter: Lee Mixashawn Rozie

Lee Mixashawn Rozie has been a practicing multi-disciplinary and internationally acclaimed Jazz artist for the past three decades. Mr. Rozie holds a degree in History and Ethnomusicology from Trinity College and is equally at home in academic and cultural settings. Beginning from the point of Indigenous artist, using ancient cultural principles, maritime arts, and historical data, both written and oral, he has developed a system of “Hemispheric Principles” to inform and guide his artform, more directly referred to as “Wave Art”: sonic, aquatic percussive and harmonic. Mixashawn offers musical performance and educational workshops on Indigenous music traditional and contemporary, as well as original, workshops that utilize his extensive experience as a performer, Indigenous artist, and educator to inspire creativity and natural expression for all ages.


International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Global Women’s Breakfast

The Global Women’s Breakfast is an annual event hosted by IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) whose aim is to celebrate the accomplishments of Women in Science and to inspire younger generations to pursue careers in science. The 2022 GWB at USJ has the theme “Chemistry Connections” with the purpose of connecting USJ students, faculty, and alumni to each other as well as to see how chemistry connects to their lives.


The Art of Landscape: The Olmsted Firm in Connecticut

Presenter: Christopher Wigren Preservation Connecticut

Frederick Law Olmsted was born and raised in Connecticut, and for more than 100 years the landscape architecture firm that he founded—and his sons continued—designed a wide variety of landscapes within the state, to serve a wide variety of purposes, from great estates to public parks to hospital grounds to city planning. A look at some of the firm’s works will show how they married artistry to function. 

Christopher Wigren is the Deputy Director of Preservation Connecticut, the statewide nonprofit dedicated to preserving, protecting, and promoting the buildings, sites, and landscapes that contribute to the heritage and vitality of Connecticut communities. His responsibilities include editing PCT’s newsletter, Preservation Connecticut News, and managing its preservation easements and awards programs. Currently, he is coordinating a project to document the heritage and works of the Olmsted landscape architecture firm in Connecticut. Mr. Wigren is the author of Connecticut Architecture: Stories of 100 Places and serves on the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Board and the Merritt Parkway Advisory Committee.