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Watershed Education: Artistic Rain Barrel Program

About the Artist: Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, Lana Johnson, "The Benefits of Trees"

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About the Artist
Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, Lana Johnson

The Five artists included:

  • Karina Helm, Graphic Designer/Illustrator for Arbor Day Foundation
  • Rick Simonson, Scientific Illustrator; Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Biology, UNK
  • Elizabeth Rieke-Hefley, Rieke Metals, Inc and ERH Artist Studio
  • Michelle Hansen-Daberkow, Art Educator K-5, LPS
  • Jessica Kelling, ReTree Nebraska Coordinator

Members of the GNSI Great Plains Chapter are professional scientific illustrators and educators with an informal goal of education and outreach to generate awareness of our unique regional prairie ecosystems. Our work is to disseminate science information using realistic and detailed drawings or graphic images in an aesthetic and visually pleasing format.

"Scientific Illustration is a marriage of science and art in a way that's elegant and informative. I want the information to be beautiful, but if it doesn't deliver the information, it's ultimately a failure." - Edward Bell, Art Director of Scientific American magazine

For more information, contact

Artwork Interpretation
"The Benefits of Trees"

Location: Campbell's Nursery & Garden Center, 5625 Pine Lake Rd.

As residents of the Arbor Day state, Nebraskans recognize the value of trees. Forests foster economic development by supporting businesses, creating jobs and generating rural and urban income. Trees clean the air, extend the life of roads, save tax dollars by reducing the need for expensive "hard" infrastructure and reduce heating and cooling costs. In fact, properly placed trees can reduce cooling costs by up to 25 percent. Trees preserve "The Good Life" in Nebraska by creating more livable communities situated in a predominantly agricultural, prairie landscape.

J. Sterling Morton said, "Each generation takes the earth as trustees. We ought to bequeath to posterity as many forests and orchards as we have exhausted and consumed." Our barrel is a cross-section view of a riparian forest, one of Nebraska's largest forest resources while incorporating humans within the natural ecosystem. As Nebraskans, we must protect and replant trees so that future generations can benefit from the trees which growing in our communities and rural landscapes.

As trained scientific illustrators who relish and live for extreme detail and accuracy in their artwork, this project challenged a few of us who had to get those last little tiny spots of paint 'just so'.


Watershed Education: 2010 Artistic Rain Barrel Program