Desert Spring Series 2022

 

Join us at the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill for a colorful look at science through the vibrancy of spring in the desert. 

  • Seeing Red. February (2/12) will bring us bright red tubular flowers on ocotillos and other plants—what is the evolutionary reason for tubular flowers? For color? 
  • Purple Flashdance. By March (3/19 ) our hummingbird show will be in full swing, and the desert specialist is the Costa’s hummingbird with his brilliant purple gorget—how do iridescent feathers capture light and how do hummingbirds use these special feathers to maximize their reproductive success? 
  • Awash in Yellow. In April (4/16) the valley and hillslopes will be awash in the yellow of three species of palo verde trees—what is the significance of this plant to the indigenous people of our region, the Tohono O’odham and how do stories strengthen bonds with nature?
  • Ochre. Spring is almost over and the heat of early summer inching up on us by May (5/7), so we’ll take our final color look at the heat-baked desert soil, where we find the Tucson Mountains covered in deposits of iron-rich ochre soil—for how long have humans used ochre soils to make art, and what is the significance of pigment use by humans?

Our teams of scientists will delve into the fascinating questions of these color themes, while our artists, poets, and cultural ambassadors will take you on journeys of artistic learning and discovery.

The Desert Laboratory is pleased to bring you affordable, perfectly blended art and science learning experiences that you can find nowhere else.


Each color-themed online workshop is two hours long, on a Saturday morning from 10 am until noon (Arizona time), with a 50-minute science talk, an hour of art instruction and sharing, and a 10-minute Q&A.

February's session is 100% online; by March onwards we may be able to begin offering hybrid sessions with both in-person and Zoom-in attendance.

Pricing

$45 each or $170 for all four—including access to all recordings for six months. To register individually, please scroll down for links.

REGISTER FOR all four de colores workshops 

Student discounts (50%) are available; please email Art and Science Program Coordinator Roseann Hanson at roseannhanson@arizona.edu with details of your school enrollment.


Seeing Red: Evolution of Tubular Flowers 

Saturday, February 12 | 10 am to noon Arizona time 

 

Why did tubular flowers evolve, and how does flower color and shape influence pollination? Join us on Darwin’s birthday as we explore this fascinating relationship with University of California Riverside emeritus ecologists Dr. Mary Price and Dr. Nick Waser, who have spent their impressive careers studying—among many other subjects—pollination relationships between scarlet gilia and its pollinators.

Mary and Nick will then be joined by Jonathan Marquis, M.F.A., of the University of Arizona School of Art. Nick will lead a session on drawing realistic perspective of tubular flowers and the detail of their reproductive mechanisms.

 

REGISTER FOR SEEING RED 

 

Student discounts (50%) are available; please email Art and Science Program Coordinator Roseann Hanson at roseannhanson@arizona.edu with details of your school enrollment.


Purple Flashdance: Iridescence in Hummingbirds

Saturday, March 19 | 10 am to noon Arizona time

 

Learn the science behind iridescence and its ecological history with Dr. Chad Eliason of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. Chad will discuss why animals such as hummingbirds evolved flashy “structural” colors and how they use them to get ahead in the reproductive game. 
Inspired by the brilliant colors of hummingbird structural feathers, Tumamoc art and science program coordinator Roseann Hanson will help you learn to paint the iridescent purple gorget of the Costa’s hummingbird using watercolor.

REGISTER FOR PURPLE FLASHDANCE 

 

Student discounts (50%) are available; please email Art and Science Program Coordinator Roseann Hanson at roseannhanson@arizona.edu with details of your school enrollment.


Awash in Yellow: Palo Verde Blossoms

Saturday, April 16 | 10 am to noon Arizona time

 

April is Uam Mașad in the Tohono O'odham language, meaning “Yellow Moon.” And for good reason: the valleys and foothills are blanketed in the blossoms of three species of Parkinsonia, or Palo Verde trees. Join poet Logan Phillips and O’odham knowledge holder Amy Juan for a workshop exploring poetry writing, O’odham history and place.

REGISTER FOR AWASH IN YELLOW

 

Student discounts (50%) are available; please email Art and Science Program Coordinator Roseann Hanson at roseannhanson@arizona.edu with details of your school enrollment.


Ochre: Earth Makes Art

Saturday, May 7 | 10 am to noon Arizona time

 

The pigment ochre is often cited as the earliest form of human art and symbolism, but there’s more to it: ochre shows how our brains were developing, and that we were using our environment through early chemistry to create paints. It is the bridge between science and art. Tucson archaeologist Henry Wallace of Desert Archaeology Inc. will share with us the science of ochre pigments and look at our earliest history as artists, including uses for millenia in the Tucson basin in pottery and rock art. Then Roseann Hanson, Desert Laboratory’s art and science program coordinator, will demonstrate how to create our own ochre paint from local soil, and paint beautiful images in your field notebooks and nature journals with ochres and other earth pigments.

 

REGISTER FOR OCHRE EARTH

 

Student discounts (50%) are available; please email Art and Science Program Coordinator Roseann Hanson at roseannhanson@arizona.edu with details of your school enrollment.