Building off of this question on bioacoustics in art media, how can we effectively work with more creatives to help inspire conservation?

Music producer So Wylie had a bit of a viral moment when she mixed different bird sounds into her beats, for example the Boreal Owl.

She then used her platform to help advocate for the Piping Plover, an endangered bird in NYC, and put out a call for summer volunteers.

This was a really effective way to get not only a conservation message out to people that would not typically hear it, but also a call to action. Do we know of other instances where tactics like this have worked?

And perhaps, as a discussion, do we have any ideas on how to better engender relationships with creative people to help conservation efforts?

  • $\begingroup$ Hi @etgriffiths - I really like the ideas here, but I do feel we have 2 related questions: (a) examples of using animal sounds to inspire conservation, and (b) "how can we effectively work with more creatives"/"engender relationships...". Stack Exchange is designed for one question at a time, so I think in this case you'll get answers to the first one and probably not the second one. $\endgroup$
    – Dan Stowell
    Aug 10 at 7:59
  • $\begingroup$ Hey @DanStowell, I think you're right! However, I think the question that I linked to kind of covers the first question. I wanted to show that the two questions were related, so I guess my question really is the second one. How can I make it that clearer? $\endgroup$ Aug 10 at 8:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I see. I guess the question title could specifically mention "collaborations"/"relationships"/"How to work with creatives" rather than just "animal sounds"? I'm also not sure what the text "A useful example" is for, at the end of your question $\endgroup$
    – Dan Stowell
    Aug 10 at 9:33

4 Answers 4


I would also recommend examining Voices In the Sea, an interactive museum exhibit designed at Scripps Institution of Oceanography by a team led by Josh Jones. It does a nice job of blending bioacoustics, scientist interviews, and conservation science. They have the exhibit running on a server that is publicly accessible (follow the link above).

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Marie! :) $\endgroup$ Aug 17 at 5:51

Here's one nice example: the Shika Shika record label's "A guide to the birdsong of..." series. These are not exactly bird ID guides! They're albums in which each track consists of 1 species and the album is:

"music inspired by endangered birdsong. Each featured artist was challenged to make an original track using and inspired by the song of an endangered bird from their country. The album aims to raise awareness about the plight of these birds while raising funds for organisations that are working to protect them."

(Note that this is not an example of "manipulated" audio as in this other sound-art question - the sound recordings are largely woven un-modified into the music.)

This example is particuarly clear in how they aim to inspire conservation efforts: they're focusing on endangered species, in one geographical region at a time, engaging local artists, and raising money. How about that!

  • $\begingroup$ Oh this is cool! Thanks Dan. :) $\endgroup$ Aug 17 at 5:50

There have been a great interdisciplinary project, called Taking the bite out of the wetlands: Managing mosquitoes and the socio-ecological value of wetlands for wellbeing in the UK. This

4-year long research activities included contributions from the arts, economics, humanities, and natural and social sciences, which explored wetland values and possible disvalues with respect to mosquitoes, focussing on English lowland wetlands in urban, rural and coastal settings.

In this project, socio-environmental artist Kerry Morrison and sound artist Helmut Lemke explored

maligned species and landscapes and seek to uncover aesthetic and ecological qualities where they are neglected or vilified by some and where others may see ugliness, nuisance, or negative impacts. From the position at research sites of Alkborough Flats in North Lincolnshire and in Bedford, Priory Park and Millennium Park, their perception of the mosquito shifted from a nuisance insect that could be a potential danger to human health, to an insect that was a vital part of the ecosystem with many other species dependent on it and its eggs and larvae as a food source.

They took part of an exhibition in London and designed an installation in the wetlands, WoW, including audio and visual arts.

WoW: a macro mosquito Laboratorium; a space for wetland conversations; and a gallery of found knowledge from WetlandLife research sites. It was a Venue for: listening to wetland sounds and stories; watching clips; looking at photos, drawings, objet trouve and mosquitoes; and reading about wetlands and their inhabitants.

Citations from http://www.wetlandlife.org/project-outputs

  • $\begingroup$ Great examples! Thank you. $\endgroup$ Aug 9 at 6:18

An exhibit on the Isle of Mull, on the west coast of Scotland, is running for another week, and is entitled "Our Sonorous Seas".

The exhibition is of poetry, video, and visual art, and is inspired by a mass stranding that occured a few years back (2018) in the outer Hebrides. The exhibit explores the impact of sonar on the 45 beaked whales that stranded, and uses creativity to explore noise impacts on the whales. The artists collaborated with HWDT (Hebridean whale and Dolphin Trust), and even got to accompany HWDT folks on their sailboat for a few days.

I thought this was a beautiful way to engage folks with this conservation issue, and wish that other non-profits/science groups would be as open as HWDT was in terms of welcoming artists to collaborate.


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