Greening the Curriculum: Art and Biology in Belize
This paper addresses the importance of interdisciplinary education as a means of impacting students about environmental concerns within a liberal arts community. As arts areas are increasingly shrinking at the small, private school level, bridging with other fields is a way of enhancing learning and making art more relevant. Today’s hot topic of going “green” was recently explored through a unique curriculum experiment at Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) in Harrogate, Tennessee. Cross-listed courses in both Art and Biology were offered during the Spring 2010 semester. The class culminated with a 10-day field experience in the country of Belize. Students studied both the tropical ecology and art and culture of the country both historically and currently. Various communities met in country specifically in the savannah, in the rainforest, on the coast, and at marine centers, are all actively involved in preserving the natural resources of Belize. LMU students were engaged and encouraged to work with local flora and fauna for making art as well as becoming activists in protecting the various resources Belizeans value. Partnering the arts with the sciences is a logical way to highlight the importance of the interconnectedness of environment and culture.
Keywords: Art, Biology, Environmental Awareness, Cultural Enrichment, Interdisciplinary Education
Assistant Professor, Humanities and Fine Arts, Lincoln Memorial University