Prehistoric Planet

Dates: July 23 -August 3, 2018
Cost: $700.00

Plants and animals lived on this earth for hundreds of millions of years before humans arrived. What did those plants and animals look like, and how were they adapted to living in a world very different from our own? The earth has gone through many dramatic changes since the origin of life, from warm and oxygen-rich to freezing and covered in glaciers. How did plants survive in these different environments, and which ones went extinct? What about the animals who ate them? In this module, we will explore how the earth's continents and climates have changed over time, and how that affected which plants and animals survived. We will link prehistoric environments to prehistoric adaptations to learn how evolution and "survival of the fittest" leads to the great diversity of life on this planet.

In this module, we will focus on drawing and painting to learn about the earth's past. A trained artist will teach us skills with pens, pencils, and acrylic paints. Each student will receive their own sketch pad on the first day of class, and we will fill it up with drawings and paintings of prehistoric scenes. In our art, we will always focus on form and function: how do the adaptations in the plants and animals we are drawing allow them to survive in the environment we are putting them in? We will use books and the internet as references, and students will learn how to research specific time periods online and in the university library. But we will also venture outside for many field trips. One trip will be to the Large Animal Research Station, where the students will learn how to take good photographs for drawing references.The students will draw musk ox from their photos, and will also draw the prehistoric ancestor of musk ox side-by-side to see how these animals have evolved over time. Another trip will be the Permafrost Tunnel, where we will practice sketching fossils in real life. Lastly, we will also visit local art supply stores so students will know where to find materials for their future artistic endeavors.


Apply here - Link only works during application period, February 1 through April 15.


Meet the Instructors

Kendall Mills, PhD student, University of Alaska Fairbanks
I am a PhD student here at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and I am studying marmot adaptations to surviving in low oxygen. Last year I taught the Meet the Mammals module, and this year I am excited to be teaching biology again, but this time with an artistic spin! Although I specialize in mammals, we will also be learning about birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, fish, plants, and other extinct groups that made an appearance in the past. I did not get to learn about evolutionary biology until I was in college, and I am especially excited to be teaching this fascinating subject to young scientists.


Keaton Kachel, Professional Artist

I studied studio art at Oklahoma State University. I specialize in drawing and painting wildlife and landscapes. I enjoy sketching as often as I can because it makes art mobile. We will be taking our sketch pads outside where we will see how illustrators have used techniques to depict extinct creatures by drawing on inspiration from the animals we see living today.

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