All Tied Up in Knots: Seven Years with Calidris canutus-- Zoom Live on Tuesday, October 27, 7:00 pm
In a slide show of her original paintings, Janet Essley explores the fascinating life cycles of these long-distance migrants, the amazing physiology, and the conservation challenges they face. The Red Knot (Calidris canutus), a medium-sized sandpiper, is a regular guest along the Oregon Coast during its spring and fall migrations. Extremists among sandpipers, Red Knots migrate longer distances, breed farther north, display faster beach-probing feeding maneuvers, and ingest harder shelled mollusks than other sandpipers.
Recording scientific knowledge through art forms from around the world, Essley’s Cultural Cartography of Red Knots is a unique collage of human and avian natural history. Research for this project has immersed Essley in shorebird scientific studies and an astounding variety of human artistic expression from around the world. If nothing else, she says, studying migrating birds teaches us that the world is one shared home.
Of her paintings printed here, she reports that “Faithful Foraging” depicts site fidelity of migrating Red Knots at Willapa Bay in Washington state. “Stopover Bohai Bay” records the critically important migration stopover site in northern China for Red Knots migrating from New Zealand and Australia to the Siberian Arctic.
Janet Essley is a painter, muralist, and teaching artist with 30 years of experience creating collaborative murals with youth and adults. Her personal art work has consistently focused on environmental issues. Prior to studying painting at the University of Oregon and settling into an artist’s career, she worked for 15 years with the worker-owned reforestation cooperatives of the Pacific Northwest. In 2018 she completed the mural, “We Weave Our Future,” on external walls of Oregon Woods, Inc., 299 Garfield in Eugene. The commemorative tree-planter’s mural enlivens the yard of a former lumber mill. Janet also embraced opportunities as a seasonal volunteer on a variety of wildlife studies that included Brant geese and California Gray Whales in Baja, and Orcas in British Columbia. It was in the marine estuaries of Baja that her interest in avifauna took form. “A Cultural Cartography of Red Knots” has been a collaborative project with long-term friend and shorebird biologist, Lee Tibbitts. For those interested, the entire Cartography can be seen on the website theredknotsproject.org.
Janet and her husband, Paul Moyer, a bird listener, reside in White Salmon, Washington, and on the Columbia River Gorge.