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Sam Bower, Henry Corning and other Artists of Meadowsweet Dairy collaborating with The Farallon Research Station of the Point Reyes Bird Observatory

Award: $32,523 Visual Arts grant awarded in 1998

Presented: November 2000

Collaborating with scientists from The Farallon Research Station of the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Sam Bower, Henry Corning, Dan Ustin, Glenda Griffith and Alan Leavitt–all artists of Meadowsweet Dairy--created a site-specific sculpture on Southeast Farallon Island. The sculpture provides as an enhanced bird habitat for Cassin’s auklets, Rhinoceros Auklets, Ashy storm-petrels, and other cavity nesting sea birds, while helping to facilitate scientific study. The finished piece is approximately eight feet tall and encloses a steel blind with 32 artificial bird nesting boxes. It is covered by concrete rubble found on the Island–a familiar material to the sea birds that nest in the island’s rocky crevices. As the island is quite remote, “For the Birds” reached a broader human audience through a six-minute video documentary and some news and online coverage.

Southeast Farallon Island is the westernmost point of the City of San Francisco. It provides habitat for approximately 200,000 seabirds, the largest and most biologically diverse colony south of Alaska. Since 1968, Point Reyes Bird Observatory scientists have monitored wildlife populations and conducted long term research on the islands. For this project, the artists collaborated with the Fish and Wildlife Service Refuge Manager and biologists from the Bird Observatory. Ultimately the project was popular with its primary audience, the seabirds, who began nesting in it soon after it was installed.

Meadowsweet Dairy is a collaborative arts venture started in 1993 by Sam Bower, Henry Corning, and a varying assembly of others. They make outdoor, site-specific projects using local materials assembled with volunteers from the community close to the site.