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Course #:

3 credits
Course Instructor: Amanda Lechner
Office hours:
Class time: Monday and Wednesday 8:00 am- 11:00am (example)

Course Proposal:

The Amateur Naturalist

To observe, decipher, analyze, and process the natural world focusing on taxonomy, botany, geology, etc.
In an art and/or design context. This course will focus on the minutia of the landscapes and ecosystems in
areas surrounding the studio and regionally. Students will learn to observe, transcribe and log their
experiences with environs and specimens and different explore methods to communicate their
discoveries. Each Student will serve as part Naturalist, part illustrator, part designer, part inventor.

*This course will maintain a sensitivity towards all

collecting methods from traditional specimen
collection to non-invasive/vegan appropriate
approaches. Method will be at the discretion of each

Each student will maintain a field note book for notes,

sketches, field observations, specimen collection, etc.

Over the course of this class students will be exposed

to the history of scientific observation as it relates to
visual art through presentations and lectures on
Collecting, Representation and Interpretation.

While many projects in the course will be open ended

in methods of recording and interpretation, each
student will take an interdisciplinary approach by
including in at one project eac h of the following: Drawing/painting, photography, Sculpture/3d, an
indirect/time-based approach.


Col lect i ng i n t he F ie ld Duration 3 weeks/ 6 sessions

The Forrest, The Ocea n, The Desert, The City 1 session each
Class will travel as a group to each of these different locals, make observational sketches, collect
specimens, take notes. Each student will decide on their own method to catalogue their findings. A full
class period will be provided to work on the interpretation of collected data. Students will present their
findings and research about each biome to the class.

The Didact ic Landscape - Duration 1 week/2 sessions

Students will work perceptually from a fixed landscape during the class session. They will then use their
drawing/work as a literal map to explore several aspects of this environment, collecting data, and
specimens from each site, documenting what they discovered. Individual meeting to discuss project.

AMANDA LECHNER 304 Meserole Street, unit 2D, Brooklyn, NY 11206 Ph# 401-575-3192
F i ve Ki ngdoms 1 week/2 sessions
Students will earn about aspects of the
five kingdoms of life on earth as they
can be observed and collected locally.
Interpret this information n to five
different ruminations. Group

King Phillip Crossed the Ocean

For Great Sex
1 week/2 sessions
Students pick one
kingdom/rumination from “Five
Kingdoms” and respond to the order
of taxonomy: Kingdom, Phylum,
Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species
Individual one-on-one Discussions
and mid-ter m progress report.

Make a Dent: A l teri ng your surrou nd i ngs 1 week/2 sessions

Objective: create an effecting an environ for better or for worse. This could include clean-up, signage,
propaganda, testing, vandalism, destruction, etc. Student makes the decision to impact the environment,
document the impact and is solely responsible for outcome. Group discussion.

Close Inspect ion - Next 3 projects take place in ta nde m. Class will be divided evenly for individual
investigations within small groups. All students will responsible for field or lab work in each discipline.

Geolog ica l Divis ion 1 week/2 sessions

Students will learn about the geology of a local environ. They will use
this information to to create a project in which the primary focus has to
do with this specific geology. Individual or small group crits.

Impr i nts/Fossil s 1 week/2 sessions

Students will learn about and if possible find fossils. They will react to
the imprints made by nature and imprints left by humans. Individual
or small group crits.

Micro Ma na ge me nt 1 week/2 sessions

Students will utilize microscopes, magnifiers, lenses, digital zoom, view and observe natural structures on a microscopic level. In
addition to working in their field note book students will present a
project that reflects of micro structures. Individual or small group crits.

You are t he P ark R anger 1 week/2 sessions

As individuals or in groups, students will present and give a
tour/presentation/performance onsite to the group about their chosen
environ. 10-20 minutes per student.
Also during this time students should be using their field note book to
prepare a proposal for their final project.

Proposals/Hypotheses/Flowcharts for Final Projects Due. 1 session.

Students sign up for individual one-on-one meetings regarding proposals.

AMANDA LECHNER 304 Meserole Street, unit 2D, Brooklyn, NY 11206 Ph# 401-575-3192
F in a l Long Term Projects - Procedure, Resu l ts 3 weeks/6 sessions
Each student will propose a self directed projects as their final with the following questions in mind:
How does this project affect the environment or species focussed on?
Am I trying to convey a specific message, create a story or react to stimuli?
Who is the appropriate audience for this work?
How does this differ or expend on information collection?
What aspect of Nature study does this project work with or react to?
What kind of methods does this project employ?
What results do I expect to accomplish?

During the 3 weeks leading to the final crit the students will work on their projects in and out side of class.
The group will also travel to local Natural History Museums, Print collections and Nature Centers.

Concl us ion 1 week/2 sessions Course will Conclude with a group critique discussing the final projects,
self evaluations and course evaluations.

Grading Policy: In Class Participation and Studio Projects 70%

Field Notebook 10%
Final Project 20%

A 90-100% Student is exemplary, demonstrates full class participation, focus, exceeds

assignments, thoroughly grasps skills and concepts
B 80-89% Student participates in class, fulfills assignments, grasps skills and concepts
C 70-79% Mediocre participation and assignment completion
D 60-69% Unsatisfactory participation and assignment completion, hardly grasps skill and
F 00-59% **Fail** student lacks self discipline, does not try to participate or try to
grasp assignments, skills or concepts

All materials must abide by the list of permissible materials that will be discussed in class.

AMANDA LECHNER 304 Meserole Street, unit 2D, Brooklyn, NY 11206 Ph# 401-575-3192