Creating a "Love Motel" for Insects
New York City is the most densely populated city in the United States; however, it is also home to hundreds of species of plants and animals, as well as Brandon Ballengée, a man passionate about art and science.
For more than a decade, Brandon has combined his passions by offering public field trips, primary research biology, educational curricula training, and art exhibitions to engage the public in a variety of communities in the Americas, Australia, Europe, and Asia. His aim is to inspire and increase public awareness of ecological issues and to tap into what he thinks is a human common denominator: compassion towards animals and a desire to improve local environments.
For Brandon’s Toyota TogetherGreen fellowship project, he constructed large outdoor sculptures called Love Motel for Insects in both New York and Washington, DC. These works utilize ultra-violet lights along with native flower gardens to attract urban insects and act as a public platform for varied insect and local ecology themed events. In addition, Brandon conducted workshops, engaging the public, including youth, to maximize their research and observation skills. People are drawn to the Love Motel for Insects; through their interaction with the sculpture and native fauna here they discover the science behind the art, and the ecology of their own back yards.
Brandon understands that for conservation to work, people have to care. The “Love Motels for Insects” inspire people to care about local ecological issues and contribute to long-term habitat restoration throughout their communities.