Liz Stott is participating in the 2014 water resources summer internship program with Water Rocks!.
This summer working with the Iowa State University Water Rocks! team has been so much fun! I have learned so much about the beautiful state of Iowa. The internship sends us all over Iowa, from county to county with our fleet of Conservation Station trailers. We visit multiple town libraries and county fairs and use several different learning modules tailored to children to plant a seed of conservation mindedness in the rising generation.
In addition to these public outreach events, Water Rocks! has also produced several videos for children that are educational and entertaining. My individual project was to work on two music videos over the summer: a stop motion animation and another mixed media video, using Claymation, still photography, and hand drawn images. The stop motion video is called “Dino Water,” which talks about how the water on the Earth is the same water that dinosaurs drank and how the Earth recycles and reuses it over and over. The second video, the mixed media video, is called “Shout Out to the Trout.” Its focus is on the wonderful trout that live in Iowa’s waterways and conservation practices that help them to survive and thrive.
In researching for the production of these videos I’ve learned so much about the land and how we should treat it, especially if we want to continue to use its resources. I have also gained a profound appreciation for Iowa’s landscape and all of the many natural resources. As a California-born girl, I’m more accustomed to the desert. The most stunning difference is the vibrant green vegetation that is everywhere! The best part – it is produced on its own, there is no work required to have a grassy lawn… you simply wait for spring. Iowa has so much plush vegetation and the biodiversity of animals and creatures that live on the land is amazing, and so very different than what you would find in the desert.
As an artist I like to capture what I see; this internship has opened my eyes to the beauty of Iowa and has given me so much inspiration. I often fixate on different images or themes for weeks or months at a time, drawing similar scenes or characters repeatedly simply because I enjoy the way it feels to draw them. Strangely enough, as a California girl I do not like to eat any kind of fish and therefore did not have even a guess as to what an Iowa trout would look like. Google quickly became my best friend. I began looking up dozens of pictures of various kinds of trout jumping and wiggling through water and through the hands of some happy anglers! Needless to say I began to doodle fish …specifically trout, EVERYWHERE!
I also began to look at streams and creeks differently as we drove to our various events with the Water Rocks! crew. I began looking for ideas and details to add to my drawings to make them more accurate and more beautiful. Although I love my desert home, there is something wonderful in seeing new things all around you and learning what they are and how they work.
I do not have an agricultural background, quite the opposite: I have recently been accepted into the Integrated Studio Arts program in the College of Design at Iowa State University! I was hesitant at the beginning of the internship, not really knowing what to expect. I was not sure how this would apply to my major and wondered what an artist from California could teach children about Iowa conservation practices… However, I soon came to realize that I was given projects that were catered to my skill set and would in fact include art! I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity as an artist and as a rookie Iowan to compile these videos and my own individual work based off of what I’ve learned and seen this summer. Everyone should have the chance to explore the world they live in! I live in Ames, Iowa and I am glad to be spreading a message to anyone to help save this beautiful state and its great natural resources through my favorite thing in the world, art.