use this credit Joy Morgan

Photo by Joy Morgan


“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”
– Eleonora Duse

Discovering the Ecological Self

Welcome to the social practice art project Discovering the Ecological Self (D-Eco-Self). Led by artist and Monmouth University Associate Professor Kimberly Callas, this collaborative project focuses on developing a personal connection to nature cultivated through workshops and volunteer work.

Discovering the Ecological Self is a social practice project that focuses on discovering places within us where we are intimately connected to nature. Inspired by Kimberly Callas’ background in sustainability, the project is designed to foster environmental stewardship and create environmental leaders and Social Practice artists. Researching and creating art from personally and culturally significant nature-based symbols, patterns, and images, we re-awaken our deep relationship with nature. As part of the project, we create eco-portrait masks that combine a specific connection with nature with our own likeness, creating a visual expression of our ‘ecological selves.’ As we explore this relationship, we discover new understandings of ourselves and our place in the planet.

D-Eco-Self is reliant on partnerships between artists, college students, faculty, community non-profits, and volunteers. Current collaborators include Aslan Youth Ministry, faculty and students from the Science Department at Monmouth University, Callas’ Sculpture II classes, Monmouth University’s Artist for Change club members, and local environmental volunteers. D-Eco-Self leads workshops and residencies with universities, non-profits, and communities in New Jersey, Maine, Nebraska, California, and Spain.

Callas has recently become the Urban Coast Institute Artist-in-Residence. During this two-year residency, D-Eco-Self workshops will focus on symbols and research around the theme OCEAN.

Featured in the Huffington Post, this project is funded in part by The Pollination Project and an Urban Coast Institute Grant. Professor Callas also received a Service-Learning Faculty Fellowship through Monmouth University for this project.

Get Involved:
Start with the Eco-Self Survey! Discover images and symbols in nature that are significant to you and start digging deeper into your own ecological self. You can also volunteer or sign up for a D-Eco-Self Workshop.

Further Reading:
Visit our About page. There, you will find a video, detailed description of the project, read about the basics of Social Practice, learn about the artist and collaborators, and more.

Recent Blog Posts

Invasive Vines and Beach Plastic Cleanup

This Spring, Discovering the Ecological Self collaborated with the Monmouth University Climate Teach-In. Throughout the spring semester, DEcoSelf participants attended several Climate Teach In’s, where they learned about current climate crisis issues. The Teach-in, organized by Dr. Catherine Duckett, aimed to ” generate discussion about climate impacts and solutions with the goal of improving life […]

Leave No Trace – Death and Life

The goal of our project is to show that death is necessary to produce life.  Our idea changed many times throughout its creation. We originally intended to surround a flower with compostable materials to showcase decay giving way to life.  As we researched the nature of composting, we realized this was not the most realistic […]

Lending A Helping Hand

Feeding Chicken food scraps are not only good for the environment, but it is very beneficial for the chicken’s nutrition as well. Certain foods are proven to help speed up egg fertilization! Watermelon and other fruits carry Vitamins and antioxidants! Corn can help boost a chicken metabolism as well as regulate their body temperature! Any […]

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