On October 2nd, Stony Brook University students celebrated the 50th ANNIVERSARY of the ASHLEY SCHIFF NATURE PRESERVE by gathering together to appreciate the nature preserve on campus and to honor the memory of Prof. Ashley Schiff (1932–69), whose sudden death on Oct. 1, 1969 inspired the campus to establish the Nature Preserve.

This student-centered arts procession started at the Staller Center for the Arts, and proceeded up the ramp between Staller and the Administration building, down the Academic Mall to the SAC, turning due South through the Engineering Quad to the bike path running along Circle Drive. Upon arrival at the Schiff Park Preserve the group discussed the woods and the future path to gaining a more protected status for the preserve. The procession concluded with tree-planting ceremony.

Undergraduate students from various academic departments conceptualized, designed and created artworks, many being wearable works, to address a specific environmental concern. Some students used natural materials gathered at the preserve itself. The main themes of the artwork range between the artist’s optimism about acknowledging Nature’s vital role to human and other species to their pessimism about our collective role in polluting and endangering shared ecosystems. Many of the materials used in the projects are recycled, found, or recovered products.

Once at the Schiff Park Preserve, participants were encouraged to identify the wide-range of native species, some of which have been largely destroyed elsewhere on Long Island, through the use of the free mobile app iNaturalist.

Many thanks to those who helped organize the event, including Assistant Professor David Mather and Professor Nobi Nagasawa from the Art Department, Lecturer Sharon Pochron from SoMAS and Undergraduate Student organizer Eve Metzger.

More information on Dr. Schiff and his legacy is available at the Friends of Ashley Schiff website.

Photos from the event are available on Google Photos.

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