Assistant Professor of Art & Art History Elijah Huge designed a module for "ARST 436: Architecture II" for which students studied bird migration habits to inform the design and fabrication of a sustainable bird blind. Bird migration is one of the most observable changes of human impact on
the earth. Over the last 15 years, ornithologists have shown bird
migration to be consistent with global climate changes.The students' bird blind was unveiled at the Feet to the Fire Festival and permanently installed at the Helen Carlson Wildlife Sanctuary in Portland, CT. Huge partnered with two scientists: Patricia Brennan, Ph.D., a post-doctoral researcher in ecology at Yale, and Kristof Zykowski, Ph.D., Collections Manager at Yale’s Peabody Museum.
"Ornithologist Kristof Zyskowski, Ph.D. introduced students to the general ecology of the Helen Carlson Wildlife Sanctuary in Portland, CT (proposed building site for a bird blind) and identified some of the range of bird and amphibian habitats present within the 19 acre former cranberry bog. Students then participated in a guided tour of the Peabody Museum where they were introduced to bird anatomy, nest construction, and the local species range in the context of the project's site, then performed research at a conservancy site in Litchfield to learn about waterfowl, observe live birds in close proximity and to learn about behavior, movement, and potential considerations for the design of observation structures. The last field trip to Hammonasset Beach State Park focused on understanding and analyzing both the uses of these structures and their relationships to the environment of which they are made a part. The resulting student-designed and built bird blind was intended to draw attention to the 29 different birds whose populations are currently in danger of disappearing from Connecticut and reveal rather than replace the patterns of a changing world. "
- Excerpt from Faculty Report by Elijah Huge