This website uses cookies and similar technologies to understand visitors' experiences. By continuing to use this website, you accept our use of cookies and similar technologies,Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

Apr 24 2019 - 04:19 PM
Teaching About Species - Cafe Collection Book Display

Our new Cafe Book Collection Display is installed last week at Everett Cafe, 1st floor of Gottesman Libraries. And we are happy to see three books were checked out two days after the display installed, and half of the books are gone up to now.

Concept of the Collection

Is it true that we care mostly about giant, often tropical or subtropical animals when thinking about endangered species and conservation? There's the Amur Leopard, Black Rhino, Hawksbill Turtle, Sumatran Elephant .... but what about the smaller fauna and flora -- the honeybee, American burying beetle, Louisiana quillwort, Georgia aster ... that are also disappearing from our landscape?

In support of this year’s Earth Day, whose theme is "Protect Our Species", we nurture deeper educational awareness and human sensitivities to the whole world around us. Featured are works that probe the meaning and debate over species, extinction, and the Anthropocene through research, narrative, and lessons from Nature.

Visualizing the Theme

The two points we tried to focus when designing the collection were:

  1. Getting people's attention on the books when they pass the Cafe entrance area
  2. Showing the long-term effects if we keep losing species in an understandable and compelling way

We decided to make a multi-layer system where the endangered species are on the same handle with the objects they effect in the environment, so that when the species are "turned off" (hidden behind the static layers), connected elements also disappear.

The decoration and color in Everett Cafe are mostly dark red and is kind of heavy. Therefore, bright color mixed with hand-craft style was chosen as the visual style to cheer up the Cafe environment a little bit.

Honeybee and American burying beetle are the two species we chose to show.

About Honeybee:

  • They are critical pollinators: they pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. Honey bees are responsible for $30 billion a year in crops.
  • We may lose all the plants that bees pollinate, all of the animals that eat those plants and so on up the food chain.
  • Our supermarkets would have half the amount of fruit and vegetables.

When the Honeybee is turned off, trees & plants disappear with a dead flower shows up.

About Burying beetle

  • Burying beetles are important recyclers of nutrients in terrestrial ecosystems. By burying and eating carrion , they remove a source of food from flies, which are often pests and health threats. Burying beetles also feed on fly eggs and larvae, helping to reduce their numbers.
  • American burying beetles are among the many small critters that decompose (break down) the bodies of dead animals and plants. Without these decomposers, we'd be up to our eyeballs in dead stuff!

When the Honeybee is turned off, green trees are gone while a dead body appears.

How the display worked

2 Days after:

1 Week after:



Curated by Jennifer Govan

Designed by Carlie Zhang

Research - Trisha Barton & Carlie Zhang

Fabrication & Installation - Trisha Barton, Zoe Logan, Ruta Kruliauskaite & Carlie Zhang

Documentation - Carlie Zhang

Posted in: Exhibits|By: Carlie Zhang|1522 Reads