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ART+ Science | Pelicans and DDT

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

Our ART+ project makes art experiences accessible digitally and connects the collection to a variety of fields of study including art history, science, social studies, and language arts.

After you have live on the island for a while, there comes a time when you realize that the pelican holds everything for you. It was the song of the thrush, the form and understanding of man, the tenderness and gentleness of the dove, the mystery and dynamic quality of the nightjar, and the potential qualities of all life.

– Walter Inglis Anderson

This installment connects Anderson's love and depiction of pelicans to the country's conservation history, including the effects of the pesticide DDT on the decreased pelican population. Anderson saw pelicans are vehicles for transformative understanding; he painted them, drew them, wrote about them, and even lived with them for periods of time on the barrier islands. He also experienced their decline on the Gulf Coast in the early 60s, which resulted in large part from the effects of DDT, which Rachel Carson chronicled in her landmark 1962 book, Silent Spring.

Lesson Plans and Resources:

Lesson Plan: Legacy of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring

Grades: 9-12 Subject areas: Chemistry, biology and environmental science Principal author: Erica K. Jacobsen

The Story of Silent Spring

Endangered Pelicans and their Recovery

Walter Anderson's Mysticism and Naturalism

Mississippi state standards served include:


ENV.1 Students will investigate the interdependence of diverse living organisms and their interactions with the components of the biosphere.

ENV.1.9 Evaluate and communicate data that explains how human activity may impact biodiversity (e.g., introduction, removal, and reintroduction of an organism within an ecosystem; land usage) and genetic variations of organisms, including endangered and threatened species.

1 Comment

Apr 01, 2020

These lessons are wonderful resources, especially in this time of Covid-19 when teachers must use distant learning with online means of teaching students. Thank you to those at WAMA for it’s assembly and distribution.

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