|IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS A VISION. If you imagine that you are seeing sea turtle angels, you are correct. They have not hatched from their nest. Instead, they were food stuff for pigs! (art by Hallelujah Truth)|
I'm laughing as I ask this question about documentation of new works! Forgive me for being rhetorical!
So in the beginning, there are these barrier islands off the coast of Georgia, USA. I will name them like the characters in Snow White: Tybee, Wassaw, Ossabaw, St. Catherines, Sapelo, St. Simons, Jekyll, and Cumberland (to name a few).
On these islands are invasive species! For now, I am focusing on the pig. Yes, pig. Pigs are invasive species on these coastal environments and they tromp and wallow on native plants causing a lot of habitat destruction. Worse, they prey upon native animals on the islands--for example--eating sea turtle eggs!
|HUNGRY PIG FAMILY. In addition to having ravenous appetites, pigs reproduce at rapid rates and in large numbers. A litter can have as many as twelve piglets! (photo by Jenifer Hilburn)|
"Feral hogs (Sus scrofa) have a special place in the rogue’s gallery of invasive mammals on the Georgia barrier islands, and most people agree they are the worst of the lot. Hogs are on every large undeveloped island – Cumberland, Sapelo, St. Catherines, and Ossabaw – and they wreak ecological havoc wherever they roam. The widespread damage they cause is largely related to their voracious and omnivorous diet, in which they seek out and eat nearly any foodstuff, whether fungal, plant, or animal, live or dead. Their fine sense of smell is their greatest asset in this respect: every time I have tracked feral hogs, their tracks show head-down-nose-to-the-ground movement as the norm, punctuated by digging that uses a combination of their snouts and front hooves to tear up the ground in their quest for food. In other words, they generally act like, well, you know what."
|FERAL PIGS EATING SEA TURTLE EGGS. (art by Hallelujah Truth)|
"Most importantly from the standpoint of native animals that try to live more than one generation beyond a single hog meal, feral hogs eat eggs. Hence ground-nesting birds and turtles are among their victims, and hogs are quite keen on eating sea turtle eggs. Mothers of all three species of sea turtles that nest on the Georgia coast – loggerhead (Caretta caretta), green (Chelonia mydas), and leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) – dig subsurface nests filled with 100-150 eggs full of protein and other nutrients, making tempting targets for any free-ranging feral hogs. Similarly, hogs also threaten another salt-water turtle, the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin); this turtle lays its eggs in shallow nests near the edges of salt marshes, which hogs manage to find. Conservation efforts to save diamondback terrapins from human predation have mostly succeeded (it used to be a tasty ingredient in soups), but hogs can’t read and don’t discriminate when it comes to eating eggs. Here is where feral hogs are particularly dangerous as an invasive species: unlike feral horses or cattle, which “merely” degrade parts of their ecosystems: feral hogs can contribute directly to the extinction of native species. As I often tell my students, if you want to cause a species to go extinct, stop it from reproducing."
--excerpted from "Going Hog Wild on the Georgia Barrier Islands"
So, when Jenifer Hilburn and I have been collaborating on ideas for telling a compelling environmental story in both words and images about the Georgia coast, one of the characters that emerged in addition to our lead character, the American oystercatcher, was the pig--or as my husband refers to it--the feral hog. Yes, pigs must eat. But must they eat sea turtle eggs?
|BABY LEATHERBACK SEA TURTLE. What a beauty! I used this iconic shape of a baby sea turtle for my drawing here. However, I made my baby sea turtles loggerheads. Do you see the difference in their shells? (photo by Gale Bishop)|
Certainly, I am not making judgments about my work at its genesis. Instead, am appreciative to my collaborator, Jen, and am repeating the mantra:
Not good. Not bad. Just is.
That's Coffee with Hallelujah. SOUL BLOG with me about how you begin projects. How do you make them fun and pleasurable? How do you gain momentum? Do you envision? Do you experience unconditional love?
|TAO FOR PLEASURE. While I draw at my dining room table, I burn incense, listen to music, dance, and invite our two cats to join me. Tao visits me regularly for play breaks! (photo by Hallelujah Truth)|