Posted by: Reena Ramos

  • 05/24/2017

Ecological Reflections: The Art & Science of a Place in Forever

“It’s hard for most of us to visualize what forever means. This ‘short-term’ project of 200 years reinforces ACRES commitment to forever, gets people thinking about time differently, and demonstrates how ACRES views land-changes over two centuries.”
– Jason Kissel

ACRES Land Trust’s Ecological Reflections

WHAT: A 200-year project compiling commissioned work by artists and scientists, an investigation into and reflection on how a particular place changes through time.

WHERE: Our Wing Haven preserve near Angola with an artist studio and rich diversity of plants, birds, mammals, and aquatic species in 3 major ecosystems: glacially carved kettle-hole lakes bordered by a wetland fen system; upland forests; rolling grasslands/meadows.

WHEN: 2017 – 2217

WHY: A short-term project of 200 years helps you and future generations of ACRES members visualize land in the unfathomable scale of forever. Curating work in the arts and sciences from a specific place over two centuries will provide a wealth of content, inspiring people like you to see land and its protection in a new way. 200 years of reflection will cultivate great joy, affection and support for this place, and for protecting land.

HOW: ACRES is working with professionals to outline guidelines for commissioning art. Manchester University and Purdue University are already developing science protocols.

To fund the project, ACRES has placed seed money in an endowment: The Lupke Foundation has pledged $100,000, and an additional $60,000 in pledges and gifts has also been secured. Interest on this endowment will pay artists and scientists to create artwork and conduct research. ACRES’ goal is for the endowment to reach $1 million. At this level, the project will support a full-fledged artist in residence program.

HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE: You’re invited to launch the project with a Kick-off Party on Saturday, August 12, 2 pm at Wing Haven.

Edna Spurgeon was a woman with vision.

A half century ago she donated her beloved Noble County land to a new, little-known organization. The Edna W. Spurgeon Woodland Reserve became ACRES’ first preserve. Spurgeon’s motivation? Not the land’s economic value, but our promise to preserve it forever.

Hathaway Preserve at Ross Run by Terry Pulley

Just how much can land and how we relate to it change over two centuries? Take a deep breath.

1817 | Indigenous peoples lived here. “A primal forest covered some twenty million acres of the Indiana territory, one of the greatest stands of hardwoods anywhere on earth” (Scott Russell Sanders. Wild and Scenic Indiana. 2005).

1917 | The great hardwoods had become rare: “Only 6% of Indiana was covered in woodlands, the rest stripped of trees…most wetlands drained to yield millions of tillable acres” (Sanders).

2017 | Wing Haven’s original old-growth forest, which had become pasture land, is now returning to a mature forest. Jason Kissel calls this “a pretty big shift in just 200 years.”

These time-line snapshots demonstrate incredible change in a short span of 200 years. To highlight the alternative, dramatic story of preservation, ACRES is creating an Ecological Reflections project. Kissel explains that “ideally, we’ll reach a million dollar endowment so we can support a full-fledged artist-in-residence program (each artist living and creating art at Wing Haven for 3 to 6 months), and robust ongoing science research on the property. This two-century stream of documented information coming from Wing Haven will make a clearer, closer connection to this land.”

Kissel says ACRES commitment to forever is reinforced through the “seasonality” of coming back to the property.

“Nature is at Wing Haven every day, every season. We’re getting into the rhythm of the preserve by continuing this project for two centuries. It is an ecological reflection on the land.”

Artists inherently seek inspiration through nature. In this project, you will see something distinct through each artist’s eyes. You will have opportunities to enrich your life through the arts generated, and the scientific data collected. And those who follow you will also have this
legacy of information to help them see, feel, understand, and value natural places.

People will be inspired to protect land. 

Vandolah Nature Preserve by Audrey Riley for ACRES


Saturday, August 12, 2 pm
180 W 400 N, Angola, IN 46703

Celebrate the kickoff of a 200-year study of Wing Haven through both art and science. Learn more about Ecological Reflection, participate in hands-on activities, and enjoy the musical musings of The Goat’s Beards — “a dynamic and ornery duo featuring fiddle, banjo and guitar.”


Millie Hue - November 1, 2021 - 7:17 pm

Thanks for pointing out that artists would usually seek inspiration through nature. I guess scientific investigation art would help tell where or what kind of inspiration an artist has regarding their work. It would be interesting to know the history and story of the art and not just the story it actually tells on the graphics, because it will tell us about the artist themselves. https://www.artdiscovery.com/material-testing/