Ollanta Ruins ©2011 Robert Johnson

Plenary speakers include Robert Johnson (renowned NC painter with paintings in many museum collections throughout Southeast), Nancy Lowe (Director of Art + Science in the Field), John Pickering(Co-founder of the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory of Great Smoky Mountains NP, Discover, and Save All Species initiative), Todd Witcher (Executive Director of Discover Life in America), Paula J. Ehrlich, DVM, PhD (President & CEO of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation), and Ron Miller (renowned astronomical artist and former art director National Air & Space Museum's Albert Einstein Planetarium).

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson Working Method

Show and explain how Robert takes Nature Notes and uses them to develop paintings.

(c) 2015 by Ron Miller

A typical scene on Pluto. Ron Miller, digital illustration.

Ron Miller

Illustrating the Universe: Stars, Planets, Moons and Galaxies

A brief history of space art from the 19th century to the present, followed by examples of my work and how I go about interpreting abstract scientific data into visuals.

AS IF Center, an art-science center in the Southern Appalachians

Picture supplied courtesy of Nancy Lowe

Nancy Lowe

Art + Science In the Field: AS IF Center

AS IF Center is a center for artists, scientists, and hybrid artist-scientists to work in collaboration or in parallel with others who share their interests. Our mission is to develop curiosity and creativity through collaborative and participatory art and science.

We are located an hour northeast of Asheville, at a nexus of unparalleled biological diversity, rare world-class geological exposures, dark skies for stargazing, and more artists per capita than any other region of the US.

We envision AS IF to be a hybrid between a biological field station and an artists community. Our vision is that when artists and scientists can work in the same community for a short, focused period of time, we will inspire each other and find new areas of common ground. We also hope to catalyze projects in which artists and scientists collaborate. And of course, there is a growing population of hybrid artists-scientists who work across boundaries.

Join Director Nancy Lowe to find out how you can be a part of this exciting new endeavor.

Moth diversity. ©2012 Discover Life

John Pickering

Save All Species—Moth Lights A Way?

Inspired by Half-Earth—Our Planet's Fight for Life, in which E.O. Wilson calls for half the planet to be devoted to preserving nature, Discover Life has started 'Save All Species' (see Our goal is to ensure that by 2050, the world has the scientific knowledge, environmental policies, protected areas, trained resource managers, technology, funding, and public support to protect species. Because the task of inventorying the world's biodiversity is huge and would take centuries at the current rate of study, we will study a dozen representative taxa to speed the selection of enough parks and protected areas to save all species. Here we consider moths and results from Discover Life's Mothing project to understand how weather patterns, urbanization, latitude, and other factors affect moth communities. Since 2010, participants have photographed over 600,000 insects in the United States and Costa Rica, documenting nightly differences in the seasonal activity and abundance of 3,000 moth species. Our educational objective is to involve the public in all aspects of the project. As part of this we are developing Moth Math to teach students how to analyze real-time moth data. We provide online identification guides to 12,000 moth species. See Please join us.

ATBI EO Wilson Visit! ©2012, DLIA

Todd Witcher

All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Scientists estimate that the Smokies contain an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 forms of life, of which only 18,000 are known. Each day, scientists and trained volunteers focus their microscopes and magnifying glasses in the national park’s forests and streams to discover the remaining 42,000 or so life forms. This effort is a program called the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, or ATBI.

The ATBI in the Smokies is being coordinated by Discover Life in America (DLIA), a non-profit organization established on Earth Day 1998. New discoveries are being catalogued at a pace of more than one per week, and the inventory’s immensely valuable data is then utilized by park management, and can be shared with conservation organizations and the international scientific community. In a few short years the ATBI has far exceeded all expectations. DLIA-supported scientists have discovered an astonishing 951 species new to science, 8,095 species that were not previously known to exist within the park. The species new to science include 36 moths, 42 spiders, 78 algae, 56 beetles, 26 crustaceans, 58 fungi, 20 bees and bee relatives, 16 tardigrades, and 270 bacteria.

Half-Earth Project logo. Supplied courtesy of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.

Paula J Ehrlich

Half-Earth Project: Half the Earth for the Rest of Life

Our survival is inextricably entwined with the survival of all species that call our planet home, yet our current destructive trajectory is resulting in mass extinction of species and irreparable damage to our world. With his Half-Earth call-to-action, E.O. Wilson has created the groundwork for one of the grandest conservation efforts of our time, the Half-Earth Project. Join Dr. Paula J. Ehrlich, President & CEO of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, for this lecture about the Half-Earth Project, which will work to provide the urgently needed research, leadership and engagement necessary to conserve half the planet for the rest of life.