Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
"Grizzly Man"
By Tessa Tapscott (04/26/13 16:09:39)
Related animals: Grizzly Bear, Human

In class last week we discussed people that try to own or live with dangerous animals, this made me think of the film, Grizzly Man, which I finally watched recently. The movie by Werner Herzog follows the tumultuous life of Alaska’s resident recluse, Timothy Treadwell. Treadwell spent 13 summers in the Alaska wilderness living with and trying to protect grizzly bears. He became like the bears, moving like them, making noises like them, marking his territory, standing his ground. He began to take video equipment with him on these trips in order to document his travels and the shed light on the plight of the Alaskan grizzly bear. All this footage was found at the site of his death.
While much of the documentary is made up of his own work, there are also many interviews with his friends, family, colleagues and critics. One comment each one of them makes is that Treadwell became “like a bear” in his personality and mannerisms, some believed that this lead to his imminent demise. A member of the local Native American tribe described the way in which he sought to become a bear to be almost insulting to the bears as separate beings. His culture teaches that the bears should be respected and honored as wild animals, humans should not try to infiltrate their sacred habitat, nor should they try to act as them. Treadwell felt that the only way to help the bears was to try to understand every aspect of their lives and the best way to do this was to live like they do. To him, even organizations trying to help the bears were not doing enough and he felt personally insulted that the plight of the bears were not taken more seriously.
In the end he pushed his luck over the limit by staying out in the wilderness past the time that he usually would, as the seasons changed new bears moved into his territory and they were far less accepting of Treadwell’s antics than the regular group of bears he came in contact with. One particularly ferocious bear attacked Treadwell and his girlfriend, whom had accompanied him on this trip. Their pilot found both of their bodies several days later, along with a camera that recorded the their final cries for help.
The film was haunting because you know Treadwell’s fate from the beginning, but you have to watch his steady progression towards this end. While many viewed Treadwell as fanatical or even slightly insane his passion and love for not just the bears, but all wildlife is apparent in his footage. One must respect his drive to go out there and do what he loves not mattered what or who might try to stop him from doing so. Yet, I also agree with the Native American from the film, perhaps his approach was too invasive and too extreme, it predetermined his death. The way to save the bears is to get others to see that there is a problem, but Treadwell’s character alienated most humans, especially those whose opinions he wanted to change. While death at the paws of his most treasured creature was probably one of the greatest deaths he could have hoped for, it did not benefit his cause. He needed to get his footage edited and out to people who could help improve the situation for the bears, instead he became just another crazy environmentalist that got killed. And while this film uses his footage, it is more focused on Treadwell than on the bears and does not have the intended effect that Treadwell would have hoped for. One can only hope that his close friend to whom all his video equipment was bestowed will follow through with his dream and edit the footage properly.

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Reflection: Interspecies Communication
"The Man Who Talks to Whales" by Jim Nollman
By Matthew Roy Reeves (04/12/10 13:38:58)
Related animal: Whale

The Man Who Talks to Whales Jim Nollman “The Turkey Trot”

Jim Nollman introduces his artistic passion for animals by describing childhood and losing touch with personal interests. “…[W]ith each passing year the chasm between us and humans and the rest of nature grows wider and wider” (5). The animal enthusiast became distracted by human culture as he grew up, and experienced his own personal evolution. “They say that a human fetus retraces the path of evolution in its development from one-celled creature to human being…I say that the process continues long after birth, but now on the level of culture” (5). Culture diverted Nollman’s passion, but it was reclaimed, nearly as nature had intended.
Where Nollman lost touch with animals he gained prominence in the American music subculture during the 60’s and 70’s. The call to return to his passion for animals, however, ended his performing career. “…[I]t finally dawned on me that there was no glorious future awaiting me in the rock and roll business” (7). After another setback, his wayward pursuit of his passions wound up in Mexico.
The casual lifestyle Nollman experienced in Mexico prompted a different approach to music, one that focused on playing and sharing music as an element of a community…of turkeys? Here was when animals finally returned to his wandering eyes in search of his passion. Turkeys next door would respond as he played his guitar, where he then actively began practicing in response to their reactions.
“I ceased to experiment on the turkey, and instead, began to play with it” (9) Nollman’s original pursuit of learning with animals was recaptured. From turkeys in Mexico came “bobwhites in Ohio, kangaroo rats in Death Valley, and a pack of wolves at a refuge in Nevada” (14). In each relationship, Nollman incorporated the medium of music into the art of collaboration.
Interspecies collaboration defines a breaking of the human evolutionary cycle that Nollman finally experienced, and was then free to engage in his passion by learning with animals as a human. He no longer represented a member in human society, like a zoologist or musician. He was an artist exploring his species identity, just as he did as a child. With the passion reaffirmed, Nollman’s art could then commence.

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Reflection: Non-Art Interspecies Collaborations
"The Man Who Talks to Whales" by Jim Nollman Ch. 10
By Danielle Terhune (05/10/10 20:22:28)
Related animal: Dolphin

“And because of their unabashed friendliness towards humans, dolphins often seem like ambassadors from the otherwise secret world of nature. Of all the wild creatures, the large-brained dolphins seem the most willing to meet us halfway.” (Nollman 145). Ask anyone who grew up in the 90s and prior and they can tell you who their favorite dolphin is...FLIPPER. We have always been taught that dolphins are the nice friendly creatures of the sea who love humans and always want to play. It seems the media was not so far off in their presentation of dolphins. I remember when I was little my parents took a trip to Hawaii and came back with a video of my dad swimming with the dolphins. I was amazed and super jealous. I really would never expect any other ‘wild’ creature to be so openly friendly and communicative with a human being. I think dolphins are amazing creatures and super intelligent. As Nollman points out, they really are willing to be our ambassadors.
“We need to focus much more attention on the issue of human community- of working with a group of people who share the common vision, and who also possess the necessary skills and personalities to make it happen...As such, we had better acknowledge, right from the start, that the dolphins are active and equal collaborators in the process. That means learning to live on dolphin time. the project will take its own shape.” (Nollman 158). Working with animals becomes complicated when humans are involved. I myself feel a nervousness for animals, especially wild animals, when it comes to people interacting with them, and expecting a certain result. My fear of hurting an animal weather is be physically or mentally by doing projects with them leads me to want to take a more observatory interaction rather than a hands on interaction. Nollman describes the main issues with his interaction with dolphins happening when more people get involved, yet he is not opposed to community involvement as long as everyone is on the same page. Ideally this would work out, but humans are selfish creatures and I myself find it hard to be trusting of a community when dealing with other species, especially based on our terrible history of running many animals into servitude, endangerment or extinction.
“The gift given by animals is precious: a guide back to balance. On that level the gift is the basis of a profound mystery.” (Nollman 159).

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
"Walking with Giants" and "Grizzly Man"
By Sara Putman (05/10/10 10:50:14)
Related animal: Grizzly Bear

After viewing both "Walking with Giants" and "Grizzly Man," I realized that it was ironic that these two men did not get along according to Russell's response to Treadwell's death. If these two men are the same species and can't even get along, it seems ironic that they are attempting to successfully interact with a different species. I thought that they would have respected each other more, since they have a similar outcome in mind. Even though Russell tries to point out their differences, each of the mean wanted to ultimately have encounters with bears and get along with them so that they could be viewed in a different, more positive, light. I agree with Russell in that they have very different approaches to understanding and interacting with bears.
However, because Treadwell's death is seen as proof that bears can never be trusted, I can see how Russell would feel undermined, and not only angry at Treadwell but at the general public as well. If Werner Herzog had not depicted Treadwell in a negative light, the general public may have had more respect and understanding towards him, as well as the bears. Now the public only sees Treadwell's death as something that was inevitable, since bears are depicted as "totally unpredictable and ferocious."
I think that it is admirable of Treadwell to trust the bears enough to not have protection against them. I mean, he is going into their land and attempting to connect with them. In my opinion, it seemed like he knew there might be danger, but willingly gave up his own life so that he wouldn't be a threat to the brown bears in their own territory.
No one respects the fact that Treadwell had spent thirteen summers with grizzly bears and had not been hurt by them. It is sad to think about how Treadwell's way with animals and experience with the bears has disappeared along with his death. His death has undermined everything he had worked for, making it difficult to change people's minds about the nature of grizzly bears.

Grizzly Man (Movie) [Write Comment]
"Walking with Giants," and "Grizzly Man"
By Royce Chun (06/07/10 18:29:06)
Related animal: Grizzly Bear

After watching "Walking with Giants," I thought that Charlie was insane yet courageous for being so close to the bears. Although, Timothy undoubtably took that insanity to a whole new level. Through both of their passion towards the bears, they were able to live with them for such a long time. This in itself was fascinating because I've grown up with the idea that bears are nothing but ferocious. Both ensured the audience that bears are, in fact, very dangerous creatures and are not to be trifled with but they were trying to convey the idea that as dangerous as they are, it is possible for humans to live alongside them to a degree. I found it interesting that Charlie and Timothy did not get along with one another since I believed them to be doing the same thing. I agree with Charlie that if Timothy got mauled by a bear that the years of progress in changing the attitudes towards bears would be undone. I find it extremely disrespectful for Herzog to portray Timothy the way he did but I suppose Timothy laid it out for him to do so fairly easily. Bears aside, I thought the foxes were awesome.

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By Luis Alberto Velazquez (05/18/14 12:51:35)
Related animal: Fish

I have commented in the past that in terms of art making most of my projects are born spontaneously, or at least that is how the idea is born. This time it happened while fishing at the beach with one of my friends, however now feel like I’m confronted with some kind of moral dilemma.
A few days ago was a very hot day, almost 100 degrees so my friend and I decided to go fishing. It was already sunset but the moon was almost full which allowed us to stay at the beach until late. My friend caught his first fish ever, it was a big beautiful surfperch. We were planning on catching and releasing but when my friend caught the perch we realized that the fish had swallowed the hook too deep to safely remove it so decided to keep it for eating.
Next, I caught a bat ray and fought to bring it to shore for about 20 minutes. We removed the hook and let it back in the water. It was now time for us to go home and decided to clean the fish there. When we opened the fish’s belly we realized it was pregnant, there were about 30 baby perch inside some sort of placenta. We felt terrible about, unfortunately there was nothing we could do. I decided to take them home and freeze them to create something with their tiny bodies.
This is where I have mixed feelings. Should I had just placed them in the water for other creatures to eat and try to forget that this happened? This is not the kind of collaboration I had pictured (if you can even call it that)
On the other hand, I’m also conscious that not every story and not every art piece I create evolves from a happy situation. I felt like I should just embrace it. I believe this relates to my desire with collecting dead birds and preserving their wings and feathers to use them in art projects as to somehow memorialize their dead and underline their beauty.
At this point, the fish are at my studio, I was thinking of covering them with polyurethane or other resin to preserve the bodies. Any suggestions, comments or thoughts about this?
I got a video I can upload of the fish while we were cleaning it but its very graphic.

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4/15/10 Response to Barbara Janelle
By Alli Harrod (04/20/10 17:26:23)
Related animals: Cat, Dog, Hermit Crab

Barbara Janelle’s activities to help the class learn more about animal communication were interesting and informative methods that anyone interested can use to apply to animals. I enjoyed her discussions on animal body language because I have found that many conclusions can be drawn about animal moods based on their body language and the individual personality of the animal in question. I think that since her workshop included animals like Ziggy, Napoleon, Snow-Bo, Leonard, and Hermes, we were able to very easily understand the differences in animals’ individual personalities, especially all of the named animals had such vastly different personalities. There was no way that the three dogs present could ever just be lumped under the category “dog” because they had such different energies about them. During Janelle’s exercise to help us to feel and imagine what it may be like to inhabit the particular body and experience of an animal that we know, I chose my cat Julius.

As I was attempting to get into the trance atmosphere that Janelle provided I imagined myself inhabiting Julius’ body and what it may be like to experience life through his eyes. Like I mentioned during the workshop, I felt that my face was a bit more triangular, like Julius’, and I could feel the pull of whiskers on my cheeks in my imagination. I can imagine that if I was able to feel this way during this workshop that with more practice and learning, I could learn more about feeling how a particular animal may feel. When I came home, I tried to imagine myself in Julius’ shoes again, this time both while looking at him and while not. I was not able to reproduce the same effect, but I’m sure in time, I might be able to. Other than that, I decided to use techniques that we were discussing in the workshop for communication with him face to face. Like I mentioned in class after her workshop, I was saying things to Julius in specific pitches and with each noise I made in that pitch, his tail would flick upwards in the same manner. Julius and I, however, are used to communicating in pitches anyways. For example, whenever he gets a wet-food can treat, I yell, “din” in a specific pitch, and he knows what is coming. The “din” pitch has come in handy a few times when Julius has been lost and I needed to find him.

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4/20/10 - Response to “Fear of the Familiar”
By Alli Harrod (04/20/10 17:27:15)
In “Fear of the Familiar” Steve Baker discusses post-modernism in relation to interspecies collaboration, speciesism, and environmentalism as he examines fear and favor of animals and inconsistencies that surround that dichotomy. As post-modernists attempt to rid binary thinking and categories, Baker examines their successes and shortcomings in relation to individuals of any particular species, collaboration and speciesism. Baker claims that post-modern artists may experience an underlying “fear of pets” or rather an “anthromorphobia” which derives from the construction of the “pet” in a category that may be humanlike. However it is vital to the reader’s understanding of the text to note that since “anthromorphobia” may exist for some, it is necessary to realize that the category “pet” lies in a space that is sub-human and non-(“wild”)animal, therefore the “pet” in question finds home in neither. But, thinking of the “pet” in these terms suggests that the “pet” is absolutely an individual. It is utterly biased to critique the socializing that any animal undergoes because there is no definition of “natural” according to a post-modernist framework. So whether an animal grows in the “wild,” in a household, or in a (perhaps) harsh environment that has been affected by human or natural growth or disaster, they are an individual animal regardless of the environment that “normalized” them. It is imperative that a post-modernist understand this fact. Every animal is socialized in some way or another, just like a human is, and this socialization brings them into their individual existence in the world. Whether animals have relationships with humans or other animals or both, it is speciesist to assume that every animal has the same experience, just as it is racist or classist to assume that every member of any particular socioeconomic location lives the same experience.

Baker also found similarities between post-modern artists and animal activists/advocates who both considered to view animals through a framework of individuality. He claims that both artists and activists/advocates search for new ways to interact with animals in their “natural” habitat, in an attempt not to “taint” them. He writes that love has a lot to do with knowledge and I think that this is an important philosophy when debating over “wild” v. domestic animals and the objectivity/subjectivity binary. Love can affect the way that someone views animals as individuals and species as a whole. People like Jim Nollman and Barbara Janelle radiate love for animals as individuals within their work and the way that they discuss their relationships to animals – and this certainly enhances the ability for one to view animals as subjects and not objects.

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
A Bee or Three (And Me)
By Erik Shalat (05/06/13 01:39:12)
Related animal: Insect

I’ve been taking a lot of pictures of bees recently. I have a crippling fear of bees that developed when I was seven and I was stung on the foot entering a car. Bees are, visually, one of my favorite creatures. The gold and black patterns of their fur makes them look for lack of a better word, really cute. I enjoy seeing them in still images, but when I hear buzzing I instinctually react by panicking. My girlfriend and I have argued about bees, which is a silly thing to argue about but it has happened to me so I suppose my life is just silly like that. She wants to get a matching tattoo of a bee to match one that her sister is getting. When I told her I didn’t like bees she didn’t understand why. I said I was afraid of the stingers and she said that she had never been stung, which I called her out on.

I am frequently in the art building because of my major, and recently i’ve noticed an abundance of bees lying on the pavement of the second floor of the building. In this docile state, i’ve been able to sit down, take pictures of them, draw from them, and really just examine their habits. I make sure to check that they’re not just dead, but I still have no idea why there are so many in that location specifically. The bees don’t fly away, they don’t try to escape on their little legs, they just stay in one spot and make their little bee movements.

I’ve seen the little undulations of their thorax, the way they clean themselves with their front arms, and the way their wings occasionally flutter. For me to get so close to something that I am so afraid of has made me rethink my fear. The terminal pain of a bee sting seemed daunting as a child when I had a lower pain threshold, but now I have been through much worse pain. I take my shots without fear when I go in for a check up. What does a bee sting amount to? Not much.

I’ve taken really close-up pictures of all the bees i’ve come across, as well as a few videos. This has been going on for about 2 weeks now, and it’s inspired a lot of my artwork for my other classes. If I keep taking pictures of these bees, I figure I can blow them up and display that as an exhibit by the end of the year. The artwork is more about how I have managed to come so close, in terms of physical distance, to something that I have a pathological fear of. I’ve also in the process been learning much about these small creatures; for instance, they don’t die instantly after stinging. Thats a common myth. The truth is that when they sting you the barbs can get in so deep that pulling it out will pull off their abdomen, but that only happens when the sting-victim has really tough skin. Which means that bees can sting and not die, over and over again. This reinstates my fear a bit.

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Comment by vkittle (05/22/13 20:41:34):
I had no idea that bees don't necessarily die after they sting someone! Personally, I'm always paranoid that they're going to sting me. And now I guess they can regrow their stingers! I suppose I've gone 22 years now without being stung, so maybe my fear is a little misplaced. I also agree that they are really cute. Usually I find the small creepy, crawly, flying things pretty disgusting, but bees are an exception.
Reflection: Non-Human Animal Perception and Cognition
A Fish in Isla Vista
By Jorden Hirsch (04/15/10 17:35:15)
Related animal: Fish

Throughout the whole discussion in Barbara in class I was thinking of different animals I had in my life and their living environments. New to my life in Isla Vista to my roommates and me is a Beta fish, named P. Diddy. P. Diddy has brought a lot of joy to our house, a beautiful deep blue and purple, he swims around his fish bowl (with rainbow colored pebbles) and we'll make sure to interact with him a couple times a day as a group. After doing the meditation in class and trying to put myself in another species place I was inspired when I got home to try and do this with P. Diddy. As a fish I felt an immediate loosening of my body and this feeling of being completely open for visual scrutiny. I was only able to really physically feel this for a brief second before I started putting my own ideas of what I believed P. Diddy would be seeing as a fish in my kitchen. Out of this though I feel like I did learn something really important, and that was the anxiety that P.Diddy probably feels when we put our fingers on the glass of his tank and/or put our faces really close to his tank.

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A Note About My Comment in Discussion with Deke Weaver
By Rachel Fleming (04/14/14 19:03:47)
I just wanted to elaborate on my comment about being better able to pinpoint sharks in the water on my kayak trip once I "pretended" I would see something. Although we were discussing fascinating "ghost stories" and such, I did not mean to imply anything mystical about this technique. I mostly meant to imply that the act of pretending probably had some effect on my mind's ability to pick out signals in my environment.

For example, pretend someone hands you an image and tells you that there's definitely something interesting hidden in it. You will probably we quicker to find that interesting thing faster than if that person told you that there "might" be something interesting in the picture.

I've found that the technique of assuming there is life somewhere in my surroundings (if I look hard enough) is true. Looking with a careful eye for even a second longer might reveal more than you expect :)

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Reflection: Non-Art Interspecies Collaborations
Admiring the Hammies
By Erik Shalat (05/06/13 20:22:47)
Related animal: Pig

The biggest animals I see on a daily basis are dogs (or humans if you’re looking for a twilight zone answer). There is a certain homogenization of animals that you end up seeing in daily life. For me, seeing a raccoon is out of the ordinary. What i’m getting at is that seeing such a relatively atypical animal like a pig is really cool. We went on a class field trip to Little Orphan Hammie’s pig orphanage to interact with all the pigs therein.

Pigs have always been more of a concept than an actual species to me. Seeing pigs in real life is very different from seeing them adapted into media. My experience with them comes from movies like Babe and cartoons like Hey Arnold. Pigs in acuality are huge. And most of them aren’t pink. And they don’t have curly screw shaped tails. Their hair isn’t soft and short, they have long stiff bristles and tough flakey skin. One thing that really fell into place for me was why the image of the pig rolling around in mud was so prominent. Seeing the pigs get in a big wet mud hole made perfect sense as I could feel the heat bearing down on me. I came to think of things from the pig’s perspective, they’re really not so different from dogs or cats, maybe just a little more top heavy. That puts them in a frame of reference i’m more comfortable with.

I came to know some of the pigs by their personality. Petunia was always trying to impose herself into situations, expecting food and attention. Judge was more reserved and stoic but would shake people’s hands when prompted. Another pig would squeal when you brushed her. Finally we went to go see Valentine, a farm pig. Valentine blew my mind, she was ludicrously large. She was the size of two large dogs stacked on top of each other. She was the nicest of all, licking people on the face and getting petted. The shame is that almost all these pigs come from bad homes. Pigs are often raised by people who don’t expect them to grow to the size they are at Hammies. I can definitely understand where the desire comes from, all the media i’ve seen growing up gave me a unrealistic expectation of what a pig is actually like. Pigs need space and attention that they don’t get enough up in a cramped house or apartment.

The trip to the Little Orphan Hammies was illuminating, inspiring, and a lot of fun in the end. I feel like i’ve broadened the range of animals that I think of as “real”. It’s easy to get trapped in a little bubble. Comfort Zone seems like the right term for it. This quarter in particular has been great, seeing pigs and cows and horses and everything in between. This would not be the last time I saw pigs in particular, and i’m glad for that because pigs are amazing animals.

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Animal Attraction
By Sara Selmic (04/13/13 00:26:57)
Related animals: Cat, Chicken, Dog, Goat, Horse, Llama, Pig

The film we watched was rather interesting and insightful. It was definitely a great way to start off this course. I didn't realize how involved people become with animal communication. These women had an entire farm of animals with whom they could interact and even speak with. In the beginning of the film I wasn't sure what to expect and if I was going to be convinced. As the film progressed it seemed as if there was a unique connection between the women and the animals of the farm. The movie really got interesting when one of the women left to London and could tell the horse what she had been doing who would then recite it to one of the other women. That was unreal if it wasn't staged. For one, she was communicating with the horse from miles away and then the woman who had stayed could understand what the horse told her. I just find all of this very surreal and interesting. It's also smart that they used it as a form of proof by not checking what she had done until after the horse had spoken.
Animal communication is an interesting topic. I hope that through our interactions and collaborations with animals that we may learn to communicate with them. I do believe its possible. Animals communicate with each other, and humans often forget that they too are animals, so I don't see why we all can't speak with one another. It might sound farfetched to some, but I find it inspiring and innovative. Hopefully in some future humans will realize the fact that we are all animals and everyone has a voice that should be heard. The non-human animals are not at fault, because they are surely trying to communicate with us, it is humans who choose to ignore this fact.

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Reflection: Animal Communication
animal communicating
By Hilary Elizabeth MacDonald (04/21/10 21:10:14)
Related animal: Tree

Barbara Janelle Visit: Hilary MacDonald

When Barbara Janelle invited the class to go outside and communicate with trees I was extremely skeptical. I walked out the door and headed for a tree in the shade that had vines wrapped around it. I slowly went down the hill towards the tree. When I reached the tree I stared at it the slowly walked away, then re approached it. I tried lying against it but this didn’t seen right then I tried facing it with my hands on the trunk. Still no connection. I was with the tree for about 10 minutes and didn’t feel a single thing or get a question answered.

So after a first failed attempt at communicating with a tree I tried again. It is a tree near my apartment. I was determined and ready to accomplish communication or just any feelings at all. I again approached the tree slowly. Once I reached this tree I again stared at it then walked away then re approached it. I tried sitting this time, with my back against it and asked it questions. Still I felt no connection to this tree. I went home and tried to figure out why I failed so miserable at communicating with the trees. I decided that I would probably just connect better with my dog or parrot. Unfortunatly these two animals are 60 miles away with my parents . I plan on trying to communicate with my dog the next time I go home.

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Animal Communication
By Ashley Dawkins-Garcia (04/27/09 16:16:54)
Related animal: Cat

For my communication with the animals I first used my roommate's dog Cody. I tried to send messages to Cody but I don't think they went through no matter how I tried especially when I tried the first time, I was completely ignored. There were times I thought I was getting messages but I believe they were messages I was putting in my own head from watching him.

When I went back home this weekend, I tried to communicate with my cat that is most close to me, Patches. Like before, results were pretty much the same as the last one except I wasn't ignored, instead I think my cat gave up on me plus I think she had something do one of those nights.

Despite my simple failures, I believe it is because I was learned to work with animals like a zookeeper or zoologist by observing, behaving and learning from the animal(s). I believe, one can learn so much and have such a bond with another without communicating through the mind.

But I am still curious about communication with animals through the mind.

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Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Animal Communication Exercise
By Erik Shalat (04/17/13 00:50:31)
Related animal: Sea Lion

After sitting through the lecture from animal communicator Barbara Janell, I went out in search of an animal to try to break through the language barrier and communicate with. A few days later, I went jogging with my roommate. Unfortunately I didn’t bring my phone with me because I find carrying it while i’m running is too cumbersome. As we went walking back home along the beach, I saw a young sea lion cub sitting on the rocks. Immediately I sat down on the sand, closed my eyes, and tried to breath out through my legs. After a few minutes I could feel the lower half of my body slipping away, but I could not fully escape my full body with all my senses. I tried as hard as I could to put myself inside the sea lions’s body, thinking of all his joints as my own. For a brief moment it seemed as if I was looking at myself meditating on the beach as I was sitting upon the rocks. I think this was more of myself projecting thoughts into my own head than an actual metaphysical experience. I awoke from meditation and tried to make sense of what just happened. I looked at the cub a bit longer to try and sense something. I had the feeling that the sea lion thought of itself as imposing, liking the attention it was receiving from nearby surfers and people strolling along the beach. At the same time, I sensed that it did not want anyone to come too close. It just wanted to show off. I feel that these were just me trying to characterize the sea lion rather than honest explorations in animal communication. Still, it was the first time I saw a sea lion on that beach and it was an exciting experience.

I didn't take any pictures so the one i'm adding is a placeholder.

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Reflection: Animal Communication
Animal Communication Response
By Alison Meggs (05/01/14 11:31:48)
Related animal: Dog

On Friday I attempted to communicate with my dog Daisy during a long walk. We stopped at a wooden bench and both sat on the bench, which faced the ocean. I wanted to meditate with Daisy. As I gave a couple minutes for us to both relax, we sat close next to each other listening to the ocean waves. I attempted to match my breaths to hers, and I could hear her slowing down her breathing. I pictured happy thoughts of me and her, and tried to send them over to her. I felt a wave of relaxation sweep upon me, and also happy, positive vibes. I think I may have been feeling Daisy’s energy come back to me.

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Animal Communicator
By Travis Jepson (04/21/10 23:09:23)
Related animals: Dog, Tree

I thought the advice the animal communicator had to share with us was overall very interesting. Though I may not believe everything she said, I do really believe that her take on approaching animals as well as basic animal philosophy is something good to know

I liked her advice on how to deal with dogs. She pointed out that the characteristics of a scared/nervous dog is, stiff body, eyes wide open and no breathing. In order to make yourself seem more approachable by a dog, Janelle advised us to have a loose body form, breath easily and readily. Perhaps the most valuable piece of information was to blink, its so easy but I found it made a great difference.

I approached a dog outside a restaurant, blinking somewhat quickly as I came close and extended my hand loosely. The dog was very calm and to my surprise it extended it's paw to my wrist, not to do the "shake" trick but just to put it there. I am not saying the dog might have been well trained, but I feel it really helped me approach the dog in a non-threatening manner. Though I am not sure I know the best way to approach an animal, I found Janelle's advice on dealing with dogs to be great advice.

The last piece I wanted to bring up was her statement that "Animals are not people." In our society, we find it appropriate to romanticize the condition of animals, both as pets and in the wild. We are able to connect with animals but it is important to not try and project our own society's values onto another species. I believe it is important to respect living beings, but we must remember that we cannot hold an animal accountable to human standards, nor can we expect to make a connection comparable to a bond on a human level.

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Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Animal communicator
By Evan Hynes (04/22/10 21:42:10)
Related animals: Dog, Tree

I believe Barbara Janell is slightly crazy. I went into the workshop with an open mind. I honestly thought she would each us how to communicate with animals to a certain degree. As a pet owner myself, I am well aware of the desire us humans have for animals to have the same emotions as we do and to love us back as much as we love them. Barbara Janell seems to use this form of projection as her main way to communicate with animals. I believe that she believes that she is communicating with the animals and trees and other species. But I am not convinced she is. I think she is guessing what the animals is feeling and interpreting her own guess as fact. I asked her about there maybe being a chance that she is just projecting her own feelings onto the animals. She retorted by simply saying that there is no way that could be the case, that she has a special connection to animals. She also spoke at a rate similar to that of a slow-motion video. This made the whole lecture even more ridiculous. Maybe I would have been drawn in a little more and taken it a little more seriously had she been able to have a normal discussion with us students, as opposed to her lecturing on abstract spiritual ideas with minute-long passes in between sentences. Its not that I don't respect her, i just cant take her work seriously. But then again, if she has convinced people that what she is doing is legitimate and she feels the same way about her work, then who is to say it isn't legitimate. Isn't that what all artists do? So in some strange sense, I suppose her work could be considered art in some strange way... Then again, I for one am not convinced, so I see her work as neither artistic nor legitimate.

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Reflection: Animal Communication
Animal Communicator
By Laura Santizo (04/22/13 00:00:10)
The concept of interspecies communication has always intrigued me so finally meeting an animal communicator was a great experience. All my preconceived notions about psychics and communication between two different realms could finally either be challenged or my doubts finally be put to rest.

I thought it was interesting that she that began with exercises that made us aware of our own bodies. I am an avid believer that most of our actions and interactions are subjected to levels of processing that occur at subconscious level. I think few people really take the time to connect with their inner selves, to join their body and mind. I particularly like the exercise where she had us imagine different scenarios. I found them to be enlightening as they revealed the different ways in which we process information and/or stimuli. I think this reveals the subjective nature of human experience. I found that these exercises really made us in a way, "stop to smell the flowers," that is really take time to engage and focus on how our environment acts upon us.

While I do believe that all living things possess a unique energy and that sometimes this energy can transfer between species, I don't know how much of the intended message is truly communicated. Sure, we could try to imagine what it would feel like to be a certain animal and how it might react to in a given situation, I can't help but feel that this humans way of trying to bridge a barrier that has been set by nature itself. I don't believe that humans will ever know what an animal is actually saying but agree that through interactions we can become sensitive to an animal's way of being. That is we can learn of its tendencies and personality and in this way come to understand and interact in a more positive manner.

For this reason I think that animal communicators don't have a special mechanism that allows them to speak to animals instead I think they have techniques for quieting their mind which therefore allows them to be more observant and attentive to the animals needs.

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Reflection: Interspecies Communication
animal communicator Barbara Janelle
By Jennifer Lee Lin (04/22/10 19:25:35)
Related animal: Dog

I think i felt much more of a connection with the tree i chose (or mutually chose each other?) than i did with any of the animals people brought in. when i left the classroom i immediately started walking to that tree (tree in the middle of the lawn by lagoon, with 5 trunks), but midway i got distracted by a group of 3 trees with a lot of shade and ivy. i literally just came to a stop and i kept looking back and forth, but i eventually stayed to my original choice.

When i was with the tree, i dont know if it spoke to me, but just feeling the firmness of the trunk supporting me and the warmth of the sunshine on my face, i felt myself settle down and be at peace. I just said out loud the things that were pressing on my mind, and im pretty sure it didnt know what i was talking about, but i felt better, and i felt more able to deal with the problems. when i walked away from the tree and i decided to lay on the grass in the sunshine for a while, and while resting i could feel the roots of the tree underneath me growing and living. it might have just been my imagination but in any case, i felt what i felt.

trying to connect with the 3 dogs, cat and hermit crab in the room later on didn't do much for me. I think i will continue with the tree therapy and collaboration...

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Animal Relations
By Jenny Roberts (04/14/13 19:45:22)
Related animals: Australian Shepherd, Bermuda Sheep, Cat, Chicken, Dog, Fish, Hamster, Horse, Human, Rabbit, Rat, Rooster, Stray Cat, Tortoise

To be honest when I showed up to the first day of this class I had no clue what this class was about, It fit into my schedule and I was hoping for the best. I was very intrigued in learning that the topic was interspecies communication however I was initially very worried, thinking, "Oh no, I don't have enough experience with animals!" my train of thought being in the formal sense. This, however, was quickly eliminated from my thoughts once we started talking about our history with animals. In my life my family and I have been fortunate enough to have through the years, 17 chickens, 9 cats, 8 dogs, 5 horses, 3 bermuda sheep, 3 tortoises, 4 guine pigs, 3 hamsters, 4 bunnies, 1 rooster, 1 rat, and far too many fish to count. Some have graced us with many years of companionship, other's time was more fleeting. The present count is 3 horses; 17 year old(owned for 15) arabian (Miss)Lily, and newly acquired tenesse walking horses Kahlua and Joy, 2 dogs 12 year old Yorkie(My Little) Trinket, and 3 yeah old Chihuahua/Deer mix (joking... we think possibly a rat terrier...or great dane) Kali, 2 bermuda female sheep Flopsie and Mopsie, I barnam chicken, Cutie, and the recently acquired and yet to be named (I vote Patootie) rooster. My housemate in Isla Vista also has 2 year old corgie mix, Sophie, who has more friends than anyone I know. The past year has been rough animal wise we lost our precious 11 year old yorkie Max(imus the General), 9 barnam chickens, 7 former cage chickens, and my wonderful 1 year old cat, who thought he was a dog, Catcher(aka Holden Clawfield) all to the coyote's that occupy the area near my parents house and well as our wonderful 19 year old Arabian/National Showhorse, Star('s Impression) to pnemonia. So that is essentially as short of an introduction I can possibly make to my past and present animals themselves. Growing up with so many well as a couple not so lovely specimens: evil attempted murderer Rambo guessed it, ram and Freckles, the seemingly nice stray that wanted to stay that way, I have always been a huge animal lover.
My mother, sister, and I were avet horsies when I was younger, my sister and I used to take lessons multiple times a week and showed western pleasure for a few years as well and my family were active members of the High Desert Arabian Horse Association until its dissolve. Though I still deeply love horses I rarely ride anymore after I had a personal revelation that I personally feel that riding another creature for sport is extremely weird. Horses have a large part in the lives of a few of my other family members, my mothers cousin and her husband have run Walking the Dog Ranch a Colorado based Tennessee Walker ranch and showing company. Another of my mother's cousin's was the first female jockey to ride three winner's in on day at Churchill Downs (yes, I'm very proud of my family).
I love animals...what can I say, I oftern feel they understand me much more than people and even myself.

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Reflection: Art Related to Animal Rights
Animals in Art
By Montana McLeod (05/28/14 21:30:21)
Steven Baker expressed that artist and viewers hold various views of utilizing animals in art alike, however, he reinstates that it is important to place trust in the artist and their intentions. Baker argues that artist treat animals as creatures in a part of the “more-than-human world” that coincide with the human world. In essence, the animals are reflective of a world that we are not a part of or necessarily understand. Nonetheless, we feel entitled to a representation of their world.
Baker makes the case that for the art to be valued and the efforts made against the animals justifiable, the public must take the art seriously before questioning the ethics in their intentions. If the art can reflect a moral lesson and impact its viewers, who is to say that it is morally wrong if the intended purpose is to teach a lesson?
Baker criticizes the Rat Piece for its immediate and direct experience as Jones felt it was absolutely necessary to involve living animals and their transition through death. His reflection on the inconsistency in Jone’s performance demonstrates the change in perception over time. Baker, however, states that some inconsistency is better for the development of the art piece.
Baker critiques that Helena attempts to justify its methods as a medium for social change, but it is not necessarily representative of honest intensions. Baker argues that morality just consists of norms, to which we are expected to submit to, which is essentially what the artists are testing in the applications of these methods. In some ways I feel like Baker does not defend the Rat Piece or Helena, but is defending the presumptions made regarding the artists. He understands that the artist have created these pieces in order to facilitate a reaction regarding the ethics in utilizing animals. He argues that it is best to trust the artist and their intentions as their actions may be harmful and detrimental, but they are not done in vain. They are done to teach a lesson and instigate a change in the way we perceive morals.
I, however, think that an artistic representation of a moral value should not be done counteractively. With that being said, I feel like demonstrating the adverse effects of human power over animals should not be recreated by doing such horrible atrocities they advocate against. You are essentially fighting fire with fire, and create this paradox about moral integrity once you have subjected yourself to the very acts that do harm against animals. The ethical responsibility of artist is to take into account that the animal is a living organism, just like any other human, and their rights cannot be disregarded. And by rights, I mean the right to not be mistreated and the right to be respected as an individual of a living species who is capable of feeling pain and remorse.
Snaebjornsdotter says that animal rights within the artistic hemisphere cannot be deliberated against without taking into account the actions of utilizing animals for scientific research. This is truly an excellent point that I am guilty of not fully acknowledging before taking this class. To break it down simply, animals are used in science to gain knowledge about research for the benefit of the human race. However, animals in art can facilitate a deeper understanding of a value or of a problem that is intended to benefit the human race. Yes, animals in science seems more acceptable than in art due to the plethora of research papers validating how the study of animal behaviors reflect scientific research. Nonetheless, that in no way should trivialize the experience one can receive from an art exhibit regarding the problems with anthropogenic factors affecting animals and their inherent rights. The more important question is whether or not it is even right to utilize animals for the better understanding of human life? What great power, other than human intelligence, entitles us to “use” another living organism to our benefit?
But we do live in a world where animals are necessary for survival and a natural part of the food chain. I do believe that it is ethical to use animals for food as we need the nutrients we receive from the animals to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes there are ways to work around it to receive said nutrients, however, in almost all primitive lifestyles animals hunt animals as a natural part of the predator-prey relationship. Still, you do not typically see predators using their prey in the natural environment to gain further knowledge about their own species. This, conversely, all goes back to what one considers natural.

The Bees making Art article brings to light how the current diminishing ecological state of bees has actually uprooted a bee culture within the art community and how interspecies collaborations have made bees aesthetically and culturally valuable. They question how art in previous centuries have shaped the representation of honeybees in the 21st century. Unlike baker’s text, this text references how art can be created by the species on its own. The bees are working with humans as oppose to humans controlling the fate of these animals, such as in Baker’s text. The animals can give their own response and leave evidence of their own artistic work. It represents the individual species, not just the species as a collective representation of all animals.

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Reflection: History/Philosophy - Relationship Human/Non-Human
Arctic Dreams
By Montana McLeod (04/30/14 22:25:17)
The author is secluded in the Arctic and elaborates on the common misconception of the Arctic as an impoverished, desolate, pagan where little development can persist. His defense against the Western view associated with the arctic is interesting in his attempt to change the reader’s perception. He illustrates the land through his eyes. He explains not only how he has come to see the land, but how the native Eskimos see the land, whose whole life is summarized within the said pagan and desolate land. From a western perception it is much easier to value the land for what it has to offer. We look at the world and land in a cause and effect relationship, as though the experiences are structured as black and white and understood through primitive intent. The western world does not have the same values as the natives of the Arctic Tundra. What the Eskimos do value proves rather interesting to my own preconceived ideas of the arctic.
They value the way their mind can evolve to follow the ridges and grains of the land. That with the ever-changing landscape, their mind forms to fit these newly defined contours. Their life does not persist outside of the land, meaning it is unfathomable for the factors that affect the landscape to not intimately affect them as well. He even describes that the “spiritual landscape exists in the physical landscape.” The native people value the land so that they root natural experiences and the physical land as sacred and evident in spiritual representation. It is so easy to get lost in the natural world and I feel like valuing the land for more than just its resources is a way of connecting with the native people. The native people feel that they coexist with the land and understand the land in a way that researchers looking for a specific criteria cannot. The Eskimos can facilitate these incredible maps because they take into account every aspect of the land. Most nonnative people simply look for traits that are categorical and previously studied. They have a hard time looking outside of the box, and seeing without searching. I understand this structured perspective, as it is much simpler to look for something specific, than it is to observe and then break it down to its function. Their understanding of the land is conceptual and derived from experience.
The author argues that to know the land you must live within the natural habitat, watch the migrations, sleep in the dirt, and travel chronologically as the migrations would. I think the idea of living in the natural habitat can be applied to interspecies collaboration quite effortlessly. In essence, the only way to come to value something will be through seeing from another’s perspective. If you physically put yourself in the place of another’s shoes, you will see what these objects and places have to offer that might not have been significant to your own lifestyle. The slope and the moisture of the ground now has purpose to it, the ability to plan for the future is essentially lost and your actions will be reduced to your natural instincts.
From a scientific perspective, I value the way that the marine biologist and other researchers regard the information of the arctic as equal to the knowledge gained from their collaborations with the native people. They see the beauty in the way the birds create a static schedule that repeats every 24 hours, and how this pattern in and of itself flows in equilibrium with the environment as a whole. The biologists look at these animals and see more than the anthropogenic potential. They see that even individually, the animals are larger than just a subject of an experiment. It is the industry that values animals as a means of developing. The scientists argue that animals are much more than the numbers and figures they acquire through research. The statistics imposed on them often trivialize their existence; moreover I believe it would be beneficial to explore significance outside of statistics. However, to address the status of the animals in the way that the natives do, the message is often not received and misinterpreted.

The author states, “The physical landscape is an unstructured abode of space and time and is not entirely fathomable.” He argues that this is exactly what gives us the desire to explore and identify with the vast environment in a personal and self-reflective way. I think this is a fascinating concept. The separation between space and time posses many questions as to at what point do they separate or if they even separate at all. Many theories regarding the existence of life in relation to space and time have evolved due to diverse cultural perceptions. The ambiguity of the land within space and time essentially opens your mind to see the smaller aspects of life as an even bigger power and entity than ever explored. I think the way that the different cultures value space and time is so extraordinary and apparent in what they value, as well as how they choose to live their life.

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Reflection: Animal Play Behavior
Arrow the Dog
By Mark Linggi (06/03/10 17:51:46)
Related animal: Dog

My friend Michael has recently fostered a dog named Arrow. What fostering for dogs is is when an individual temporarily adopts a pet. In this time, the clinic provides the food and other necessary essentials for the pet, while the guardian provides the home and care for the animal. The guardian takes care of the dog until the dog gets adopted by a permanent family. Although this prevents the dog from being inside a pound and stuck inside with minimal attention and exercise, I can't also help to think of the emotional ramifications of what this can do for the pet and the temporary guardian. I know how much Mike loves taking care of Arrow. Its as if this new sense of responsibility has changed his outlook of his priorities. But just as much as Mike cares for Arrow, I know the feelings are reciprocated on Arrow's behalf.

Where ever we go, Arrow always makes sure that Mike is around. It seems that Mike is the only one who can consistently drag Arrow's attention away from what else is going on in the world. And when outside, Arrow goes leashless as long as Mike is close by. I often worry when these two will eventually separate because I know that both will be hit emotionally.

But despite this slight default, this program has proven to be positive for the dog. For one thing, I have noticed that Arrow has a lot of odd quirks, that makes me believe that he had not a very good life before he and Mike got together. First of all, he became very scared of certain areas of campus. To get to those areas, it was like we had to take paths around just to get to a specific area. Secondly, while walking in IV, a homeless man, whom we have never encountered, called out Arrow by name. Arrow began to bark and back away as soon as this happened. We concluded that this homeless man must have been Arrow's previous owner, and that he did not take very good care of him. Despite this poor upbringing, Arrow has turned out to be such a good and friendly dog.

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Reflection: Art Related to Animal Rights
Art Related to Animal Rights Review
By Hector Medina (06/09/13 14:30:31)
Related animals: Goldfish, Rat

1. What does Steve Baker think of Randy Malamud and others who criticize artists working with animals of being non-ethical?

Steve Barker believes that artists who collaborate with animals to make art should not be judged. He thinks that there should be guidelines, like Malamud mentions, but art is to be inventive and free. Artist that criticizes artist working with animals should be seen as artists who have an approach more radical and open minded. He says that they should be seen as artists that employ “different tools for thinking [and have] the potential to offer a distinct way of framing or unframing issues.”

2. According to Baker, what is the issue with looking at the ethical issues of an artwork before making a proper reading of it?

He thinks that some critiques make judgment too fast. They will express their ‘disapproval or skepticism, and on occasion [they] will simply refuse to engage with the work.” Artists that collaborate with animals should not be dismissed because of their unfamiliarity. They should look at the art first and then consider it not simply omit for failing their ethical guidelines.

3. What is some of Baker's criticism of the Rat Piece and Helena?

He is not comfortable with these methods of creating art. The piece with the burning rats was to symbolize Jones’s time in Vietnam, but there could be better ways of executing it. Helen piece lies on the audience not on the animal. It’s as if the animals were used to make art, different from collaborating with them.

4. Is Baker defending the Rat Piece and Helena? How/Why?

He is not defending the pieces as art, but he does acknowledge the purpose or message they are trying to portray. He does think they can both be executed in a different way where the animals were not a prop but a collaborator.

5. According to Baker, can we trust artist to work with/use animals?

I think he believes we can work with animals, I mean our class is and so far we haven’t heard anything about animal torture so the sake of art. He believes there is a right way to creating art with animals, so he does have some trust in artist.

6. Do you think artist have ethical responsibilities? Why/why not? What are those ethical responsibilities in regards to working with animals?

Artist, just like any other person should hold a sense of respect and boundaries when interacting with animals. To showcase something to simply stimulate someone’s emotions and feelings is not a good piece of art. There is some ethical responsibility to care for someone/thing’s life.

7. What does Bryndis Snaebjornsdotter mean when she says it is impossible to ask if it is ethical to use animals in art without also asking if it is ethical to use them in science and for food? Do you agree/disagree?

I do agree to a certain extent. The animals used in science are to help us by providing helpful research and health benefits. Animals used in art have different purposed. They will not benefit us in any other way than visually. So I do think it’s somewhat ethical to use animals in science if their purpose is to help, yet are killed.

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Artist/Animal Reading
By Natalie Croak (06/09/13 15:36:36)
Artist/Animal was an article about a couple of artist who have used animals in their artwork to push the boundaries of what is considered moral behavior. One piece that the article described was an artist burning three mice alive in a gallery to mimic the smell of dying rats that he encountered while in the Vietnam War. Another piece had three blenders filled with water and goldfish. Patrons had the ability to turn the blenders on to make fish paste. The artists argued that art is beyond the reach of moral criticism and that the only way to share an artist's experiences of something as horrible as the Vietnam War was to make this type of art. The goldfish art piece was a commentary on the power that we have over animals and animals in art can also be used to illustrate that many believe that animals are only useful as food, tools, or as a cultural mirror.
I thought that these artworks sounded pretty disturbing. It seemed to me that the artists did not care about the animals as individuals, they only saw them as materials for an art piece. Animal cruelty laws were created because lawmakers recognized that hurting animals is often a precursor for hurting other humans. As a result animal cruelty laws are more based on the desire to protect humans than animals. I believe that society should place value on all forms of life, which would result in art such as this being immoral.

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Reflection: Animal Communication
Attempt to Communicate with a Butterfly
By Jessica Oropesa (04/22/10 05:55:06)
Related animal: Butterfly

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the class when the animal communicator, Barbara Janell, spoke, but I did have an encounter with a non-human species over the weekend.

I went down to Pomona to visit some friends for the weekend and since I was in relatively unfamiliar territory, I made a conscious effort to observe any wildlife. The friend's house that I went to had neighbors that owned some unusual animals, including a huge bird that I could not identify. While standing outside, enjoying the sun with my partner, a butterfly fluttered in the backyard and landed in the grass. I was struck with surprise! I couldn't even remember the last time I saw a butterfly... So the first thing that popped into my head was, "Collaborate!" I remembered the passage of a past student in which follow the leader was played by the student and a butterfly. So I took on an approach similar to what I had remembered. Although I missed Barbara Janell's talk, I can still share my experiences with this butterfly.

After I saw it land in the grass, I got excited and decided to approach it. I believe it might have been a monarch butterfly due to its orange wings with black and white markings. I slowly stepped toward it, taking one step at a time. I wanted to see how close I could get. I was very respectful of its space, trying to get close, but not too close. While I was walking toward it, my partner was behind me on the sidewalk watching me. I think I was talking with him about collaborating with the butterfly and then he motioned to kick or step on it... It got startled and flew away. And that was the last that I saw of it and for a while, I was pretty upset that I didn't get to collaborate with it. But by that time, the opportunity was long gone. Maybe I'll come across another butterfly to collaborate with in the near future.

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By Andrew (06/10/13 19:34:11)
Related animal: Dog

Interspecies Collaboration Week 5

Ayla always ran around jumping on people and eating anything she could get her teeth on. She constantly seemed happy and filled with so much life. It was impossible to spend more than five minutes with her without smiling. The only negative critique I have about her is that she would always sit on me thinking she was much smaller than she really was which hurt sometimes. Even that didn’t bother me all that much though. I enjoyed every minute of every crammed car ride that I spent with her. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago while my mom was out of town on a business trip, the neighbors were watching her. Walking down the street at night with the neighbors, Ayla found something intriguing and forgetting to look both ways she sprinted across the street. A half a second later Ayla was gone. Hit by a truck gunning down the street all you could hear was silence. Ayla was my beautiful four-year old Bernese mountain dog whom I miss every day. She was my friend and we shared many great moments together. My fondest memory of her is when we went to the beach in Santa Monica over Thanksgiving weekend. I skated down to the beach with her (No need to hold her leash because she always held her own in her mouth and never left my side.) When we arrived at the beach I told her to go and she sprinted across the sand and leaped into the water. I stood on the shore watching her play in the waves. All of a sudden she stopped and walked out of the water onto the wet sand just clear of the shoreline. She sat looking at me further up the beach. She started snapping her mouth at me as if she was trying to talk. My mom and brother had taught her to do this when she was a puppy and now everyone thinks she’s trying to talk whenever she does it. I then run after her and she runs away from me wanting to start a game of tag. She jumps in the water wanting me to follow so I do. While swimming in the water Ayla begins to get tired with her wet fur weighing her down and so she starts to go under. She swims over to me and puts her front paws over my shoulders almost like a piggyback ride. I carry her out of the water and back onto the sand where she can finally catch her breath. Then I sat on the sand attempting to catch mine. All of a sudden I feel a big ball of wet fur land on my lap. Ayla jumped on me and curled up in a ball. I tried to move her but she didn’t want to at all. She laid there without moving for almost an hour. It was nearly dark and freezing out by then but that didn’t matter to either of us. I knew I couldn’t talk to her like I could to my human friends, but we had a connection to where that didn’t even matter. For that hour on the beach was all I needed to know how much she cared for me as well and that I was her best friend. Ayla was the greatest dog and friend that filled four years of my life with the utmost joy.

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Reflection: Animal Communication
Baby Boa!
By Rachel Visalda (04/22/10 10:54:30)
Related animal: Snake

About a week ago, our house welcomed a new snake- a beautiful red-tail baby boa. The event is bittersweet, since we lost our last snake, Dakota, and have yet to find her. However, I'm excited to work with the boa; it's interesting to notice how he's adapting to his new environment and to observe how he reacts to people.

Since his arrival, I've been spending time with him and thinking of ways in which we can collaborate. His interactions with humans have been limited, and he hasn't had regular contact with the same people. I hope he opens up to me, and I'm patiently waiting for him to feel comfortable with us in our home.

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Barbara Janell
By Mark Linggi (04/21/10 23:55:40)
Ok. I'll admit it. When I first heard that we would be telepathically talking to animals and trees, I was just a bit skeptical. I wasn't going to dismiss the concept completely, but I was a bit worried. I showed up to class worried, but with an open mind as well. In the end, for me, the exercises made complete sense and was a success.

Since our class on Thursday, I have yet to try any of the techniques, so I suppose I will talk about my initial reactions to what happened.

Barbara Janell made perfect sense. I feel as if I have encountered many of the different things that she talked about too. The breathing exercises were calming and created a different aura around the room that somehow changed the entire atmosphere. I understood what she meant by an animal's presence within a room, and how it changes based on their character and if they are present or not. Even the exercise of sensing problems with someone, animal or human, sparked my memory. In my sophomore year of high school, I had an appendicitis. Like most, it happened suddenly and without warning. A couple months later, a very close family friend was told about this. She said that on that particular day, for some reason, she thought of me and had hopped that I was doing ok. I realized that what Barbara Janell was doing, sensing animals, was no different then sensing people.

I m a bit perplexed about the tree exercise however. At first, I felt as if there was nothing there. I was just standing with a tree against my back and the cool shade pouring over me like it had done a thousand times. I wasn't sure what was going on, but at first, I don't think I felt anything. But for some reason, I keep thinking back to that exercise and wondering if I felt anything. The low branches of that tree seemed to fit my back so comfortably. Maybe because I am still wondering if I felt something, makes me hopeful that something was still there.

I am glad my initial reaction of skepticism was rejected. I enjoyed the exercise and I hope that it works with animals that I encounter in the future.

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Barbara Janell Workshop
By Royce Chun (04/22/10 17:47:35)
Related animal: Dog

I attempted to use the tips provided by Barbara Janell towards creating a better relationship with my neighbor's dog. I've never attempted to be close with him in the first place but he always barks when I come close. Although, I suppose he barks at just about everyone. I wasn't direct with the dog and just eased in by conversing with my neighbors close to where the dog was. As the dog got sed to my presence, it eventually stopped barking. I was about to pet and even play with the dog without it going wild. Later, I sat at a distance using meditative practices in putting myself in the dog's position and tried communicating with it that way. Unfortunately nothing came out of it and the dog just proceeded to watch and bark at the pedestrians that walked by. Although I can't say I felt any connection to the dog, and even though he still barks when I walk by, at least I know that he doesn't actually dislike me.... he probably just likes barking at people.

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Reflection: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
Barbara Janell Workshop
By Matthew Roy Reeves Danielle Terhune (04/25/10 20:25:02)
Related animal: Hermit Crab

Barbara Janell became a necessary encounter between my Hermit Crab Hermes and I. As the workshop progressed, I noticed a strong subhuman connection forming within the classroom, from a present source. What did Janell have in store?
Barbara Janell is an animal communicator, granted an M.A. in the field, and knew characteristics of the animals present, and distant, that their owners did not. The certification signified a serious capability.
After we came inside from sitting with trees, I picked up Hermes and let him crawl along my arm. He meandered, with no visual direction, from my wrist to my elbow. Janell observed him, and concluded that he loved music, and that I should get him another hermit crab for company. Fascinating.
The class ended, and I stayed behind packing up Hermes. Janell asked me if I knew why Hermes chose the path on my arm that he followed. "He was sensing changes in body temperature." She let me feel the temperature change from her wrist to her forearm, and I realized what Hermes was thinking as he progressed along mine earlier that afternoon.
The human mind progresses with intuitive moves across the folds of the brain, and generates thoughts. Hermes progressed with intuitive moves across the folds of my arm, and generated movement. "You may have thought it was your decision to bring Hermes in today, but he decided it for you," Janell said, smiling, emitting the strongest subhuman connective force I have ever encountered. Her presence with Hermes and I brought me to understand my own pet.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Barbara Janelle
By Sean Turner (06/14/10 11:44:30)
Our class meeting with Barbara Janelle was one of the most encouraging and enlightening class experiences I have ever had. Her relaxed yet strong presence in the room was very apparent from the moment I walked in. Her calm speech and general demeanor made me a little nervous and fidgety in the beginning to be honest, and I felt that there were some awkward silences at first. However, pretty soon I found myself to feel extremely tranquil and more receptive to the messages that she and the other animals in the room were giving me. It was obvious to me that Barbara was communicating with me and altering my feelings without even actually speaking directly to me. I felt that the most effective exercise was the one where she had us approach one another. I never realized how much one's body language can have on another individual, and how instantly it takes effect.
The tree exercise was also a new experience for me. I have always loved to play and climb and have spent many many hours in trees. However, I had never actually attempted to communicate with them. The tree that I chose was a huge old one that overlooks the lagoon. I became extremely relaxed when I had my back to it for a couple minutes, so relaxed that I forgot to follow the specific instructions, like the question asking, that were given to us before we left the room. I felt like it was actually another being that I was spending time with. I wondered if the tree was enjoying this experience as much as I was. I also wondered if the tree appreciated this interaction as much. Perhaps it was a very moving experience for the tree as well because it is definitely not used to people touching it or being so close to it for such an extended period of time. Now, every time I pass that tree near the art building I acknowledge its presence and I often even spend a couple minutes relaxing with it.
Our class meeting with Barbara Janelle opened my eyes to many ways of nonverbal communication. She taught me to drop my preconceived notions about other life forms, and that we are all constantly exchanging energy and information. She also encouraged me to be a more calm person, and much more receptive to other species' countless ways of communication.

[Write Comment]
Barbara Janelle
By Megan Mueller (05/29/14 10:32:03)
I found the experience with Barbara Janelle, the animal communicator, to be fascinating, uncomfortable, and zen inducing. Barbara had a calm energy. She spoke softly but confidently, forcing me to to concentrate to hear what she was saying. Barbara's style and message struck me as an exciting combination of Buddhism and Cesar Milan. She was perceptive and in control of the room.

I was pretty consistently uncomfortable throughout the experience. I found myself judgmental of a particular dog owner's handling of their dog and feeling overwhelmed with my work load. So it was difficult to be present at first, but Barbara quietly demanded presence and participation. She said many wise things that could be applied to literally anything.

During the short break she asked us to find a tree (let it pick us) and place our hands on it. This was my favorite exercise of the experience. Upon placing my hands on the tree, the energy was palpable and give me goose bumps.

Our homework was to communicate with an animal using the things we learned in class. I have been making a point to focus on communicating with my cat Trout. I find that she is generally receptive of the attention and I am a more thoughtful care taker by considering her experience from her scale, position, sensitivity to sound etc. I am noticing more.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Animal Communication
Barbara Janelle Response
By Jenny Roberts (04/14/13 20:28:45)
Related animals: Dog, Horse, Human

'Animal communicators' have always been a topic of skepticism with myself. While I do believe humans and animals are completely able to communicate, and after watching the video as well as being part of Barbara's talk/workshop, I am still not sure what I think exactly so ill try to articulate as best I can:
- Firstly, I am still not completely convinced that an animal communicators are in fact able to communicate on a higher level than the average joe, however one thing for certain, is I in no way believe that they can without ever meeting the animal subject. Everyone can make assumptions based on behavioral and social clues. Just because you have studied animals to the degree that you can read behaviors and attribute perceived qualities to something, does not mean you have an ability to communicate with them in a "greater than" way
- That being said, after the workshop with Barbara I do in someways feel that I may have had some slight communication when she had us try to communicate with an animal. My brain chose my 12 year old Yorkie, Trinket who slept in my bed from ages(mine) 10 to 18, she is the Alpha dog, extremely jealous, not the best with small children or large feet, but the sweetest little thing to the people she loves. She is literally all bark and no bite these days as she has only 2 teeth left and her pretty little eyes have cataracts and is slowly loosing her sight and her tiny body is more frail than ever, but still she does her best to keep up with Kali, our three year old ball of energy. When Barbara instructed us to see through their eyes is when I felt a connection. I saw blurred grey images in my left eye any close to nothing in the other. I immediately felt my heart sink and thought "oh baby girl im so sorry will you be able to recognize me for long?" and then I felt or heard and saw a response. I saw my own silhouette and felt love as my head responded with "I'll always know my Jenny" which made me choke up instantly and want to drive the 4 hours to see her that instant! Luckily I was able to go home this weekend for the first time since New Years Eve and as I got out of the car to open the gate to our property I saw her running down the hill towards me. when I reached her she jumped around my legs so excited until I was able to pick her up holding her forward with one arm hugging her with the other supporting her. She then turned herself around in my arms to face me where she proceeded to switch from putting her paws on my chest licking my face to leaning back to look at me yelping ecstatically and dancing and waving her paws in excitement. It was the sweetest moment, it really was as if she was telling me 'oh my oh my! I heard you! you love me!' This may have just been a case of the times, but it was so so endearing I zm starting to think otherwise.
- So I'm not sure what I think completely, but I do think a telepathic like communication with animals is definitely possible. Animals can understand us in so many obvious ways its only fair that we try to do the same with them.

[Write Comment]
Barbara Janelle's workshop
By Kirsten Howard (04/22/10 12:24:15)
I thoroughly enjoyed the animal communication workshop. I found that I could relate to what she was talking about as far as there being a sort of energy in all beings and that with meditation and opening up your consciousness, it can be read and transmitted. I have been practicing what she talked about with animals that I see and with trees that I pass. Just the other day, I was sitting in front of Borders Book Store and there were a lot of this little round birds running around and going in and out of these plants. One approached me and stared at me, and I worked to make a calm, open presence in front of it. I sensed that it wanted me to follow it, so I did, and it hopped up and in between these plants, and in the inside was a circle of space. I felt that the bird was showing me that this was its favorite spot, where it could be safe and surrounded by a circle of flowers. It was as if I was being welcomed into its home.

During the workshop, when she had us go outside and try to connect with a plant or animal, I was drawn to this small yellow flower, and I sat with it and cleared my own self before so that I would know what was mine and what was the flower's feeling. I suddenly felt warm and alive. I also felt a strong pull towards the sun, and had an urge to twist my head over and up to have sunlight on my face, however, it was slightly challenging, as my neck got slightly stiff. And after the experience I felt that the flower was showing me how simple joy is the beauty of life, just opening up and realizing happiness in everyday things.
That made me think about Barbara Janelle said about how animals and plants can teach us things. I think it is really important to learn from them, because they are truly natural and we need to begin practicing a sort of involution, if you will, in order to save the planet, ourselves, and our precious plants and animals.

I read the handout that she gave us after the workshop, and something she said really touched me, "And in my life now, I walk in an expanded world where the Earth is music, trees and grass and flowers speak great wisdom, rocks hold information, the wind connects, oceans heal and renew life, and animals bring insight and humor."

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Barbara Janelle: Animal Communicator
By leona chen (05/12/09 21:51:05)

During our meeting with Barbara, we used Thiebaud (the Dachshund dog) as a subject to try our communicating skills to. She discovered that Thiebaud lives in a world of scent. Animal needs are not human needs, and in order to understand them: we need to see through their needs.

-World of communication is universal, even animal communication.
-She is a M.A. practitioner of horses and companion animals.

-2 elements needed to communicate:
ability to quiet yourself. To bring yourself into the present life, To also be aware of present instead of the past and future.
-Figure out if animal came as a surprise or conscious choice.
-How does animal come to mind:
tactile, hearing, smell, conceptual. (memory, habits, memory of things done together)
-Communication: 3-5% words, most comes from senses and mental connections.
-Therapeutic touch: field of study.

-Thiebaud greets everyone, which weaves everyone into the group. We find a connection between each other.

-Find tree: does the tree find you? Or do you find the tree?
1.) Touch the tree.
2.) Walk away from it.
3.) Put your back against it.
4.) Ask the tree to tell you something you should/need to know.

-When communicating with animals imagine yourself as the mirror of that animal.
-Gratitude is as important as the encounterment and communication with the living being.

[Write Comment]
Bear Impressions: Grizzly Man
By Travis Jepson (06/08/10 00:55:10)
Related animal: Bear

The documentary on Timothy Treadwell was very interesting in the context of this class. Especially the second time around, I felt I truly understood what I was watching. The director gave a very excellent overall view, though at the end he seemed to suddenly switch gears to criticize Tim's work.

I believe Tim did not want to become a bear as many of his critics suggest, I believe he adopted their mannerisms due to the fact he was all alone and that he is interacting with them to live among them. Being completely alone drives him to use the camera in his documentation as a journal for telling his thoughts. In many instances we see how his everyday interactions cause Tim to realize just how helpless these powerful animals really are. He sees how they are at the mercy of man and that life is tough in the wilderness for these animals. He sees that nothing is all powerful. I believe Tim saw the bears as a symbol of strength but in the end he saw that they were just a part of nature where no one being remains supreme.

I believe what drove him to this lifestyle came from when he lost his core discipline. He was a highly successful college diver and he lost it all due to partying. After this he lost his focus and it would seem that he was looking for something to put all his energy into. Tim found his passion release in observing/protecting wild animals.

Perhaps the most interesting point raised was the issue of what animals we choose to value and save. For instance the bear that killed Tim was killed in its natural habitat, why? In the more private sector this problem becomes more obvious, at the zoo a tiger kills a man who was teasing it while it was confined to a cage. A guard walks over and shoots it dead. However if we look at the instances in Seaworld, an orca whale kills three trainers yet no action is taken. I believe it does not matter what the animal does, it comes down to the cost. Especially in our society, the price value over-weighs human and animal value.

[Write Comment]
Bird Skulls
By Andrew (06/10/13 19:31:47)
Related animals: Owl, Parakeet

Interspecies Collaboration Week 3

I have a weird fascination with skulls. None specific; just skeleton heads. I think their structure and material is so fascinating. How the bone is formed to fit the eyes and mouth. I also like how each one is different; no to skulls are exact so each one if unique. A few months ago I was walking home from class and at the bottom of my stairs was a skeleton of a bird. The only piece of it intact was the skull. It was a very small bird because the skull was about the size of a grape but still so detailed and intricate. I was so excited for my findings that I disregarded the whole wild animals disease thing. I picked up the skull and brought it into the house. I cleaned it and examined it to figure out what kind of bird this skull was from. After researching online and comparing pictures for a while I finally came to the conclusion that it was a parakeet, which most likely meant it was someone’s former pet. So my next question was, how did it get to the bottom of our stairs with only tiny hints of feathers on the bone? I had no idea at first so I asked my housemates what they thought. They said that since I found it in the early morning it must have been dropped by something over night. It was impossible to tell for sure how the birds skeleton got there but we came to three conclusions:

1) The parakeet got out of its cage at it’s owners house and after it’s escape, ran into a predator owl who was searching for a meal in the night. The owl finished the edible parts of the bird then just happened to drop it close to our doorstep.
2) The owner was starved so she killed the bird and took all of its feathers and organs off to cook and eat them. Then the owner disposed of the bones by throwing them over the fence.
3) The parakeet was sitting on the window sill of it’s owners bedroom soaking in the rays of the sun when Garfield the Trigo road cat grabbed it and ate everything but the bone off of its body.

After I cleaned it the skull of the parakeet I was forced to put it outside because my roommates were too grossed out by it. I place a glass cup over it so it wouldn’t get blown off the balcony or taken by any other animal. The next day I came back to clean the skull even more and it was gone. I looked over the railing of the balcony and a dog was sitting playing with it on the sidewalk floor. The skull was in pieces and now the mystery of the appearing skull will never be solved. I am happy that I found out the species of the bird though.

Parakeet Skull Owl skull

[Write Comment]
Birds Talking
By Andrew (06/10/13 19:37:15)
Related animals: Raven, Bald Eagle

Interspecies Collaboration Week 9

So I finally made it back to Big Bear to finish my project last weekend and the experiment didn’t really go as well as I had imagined it would. I went to the zoo and played sounds of my previous animal recordings, but no one wanted to play ball. Many of the animals at the animal park were hiding in their enclosures for some reason. I spent the whole day there and got few results. Since the bald eagle sounds were the most frequent and most recognizable in my recordings, I decided to try those the most with the other species of animals. First I played the eagle sounds to the pack of wolves but all they did was watch me as they paced back and forward along the fence separating us. It was actually very ironic because two minutes after I put my computer away and stopped recording and playing the eagle noises the pack started howling. I couldn’t tell whether it was because they were tricking me or if it was dinnertime. The wolves were who I was most excited about with this project, but unfortunately there were no recordings to go off of. This also happened with the owl, Huckleberry the three-legged bear, the badger, and a few other animals I played the recordings for. I did however receive some results from other species of birds in reaction to the eagle calls. The zoo has a pair of ravens that sometimes make the strangest noises. First hearing it you would never guess that it was from a bird; let alone a raven. I started playing back the audio on a loop and for about ten minutes the two ravens didn’t even budge. After a little while though they began making strange chattering noises and sounds that almost sounded like someone kept burping. I had never heard something like that come from a bird before.

All of the pieces in the show were great. My favorites were Madi’s pig portraits and Tessa’s animal audio. The portraits were so up close and personal and although at first glance you would think they’re ugly, but the pigs were actually very beautiful creatures.

My piece was a recording of the eagle’s mixed with the reaction of the ravens. I had two different recordings of the ravens but for some reason one of them didn’t work. My project had no visual aspects to it so I decided to post photos of the animals in which I recorded.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Other Related Research
Blue Crane Bike Path Experience
By Serena Zahler (04/29/10 15:13:25)
Related animals: Crane, Gofer

I forgot to write about the profound experience I had when riding home from the gym a couple weeks ago. As I was riding on the bike path right behind the baseball field, I witnessed a crane slowly walking across with a gofer in his mouth. He was so elegant even in his most animalistic representation. I stopped and watched the crane walk across and then behind a bush before he swallowed the gofer whole. It was interesting to note that no one else riding on the bike path saw. This shows how we often pass by the most simplistic yet beautiful moments because we are so caught up in our human-beingness. It is also interesting the long time frame it took the crane to walk, choose a place to finish his meal, and eat. As humans we forget that every species has it's own sense of time and space. All of the bikes huddle close on the bike path to ride as fast as possible to their destination, while the crane takes time to move away from the human time-frame space of the bike path. As a species humans need to remember that there are other times than our time. By keeping this different sense of time in mind, our interspecies collaborations can be informed by a deeper awareness. The idea of time may be a great place to begin an idea for collaboration.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Non-Human Animal Perception and Cognition
Book Review: David Sedaris Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary
By Tessa Tapscott (06/08/13 23:12:27)
I read this book shortly after its release, as I am an avid David Sedaris reader, it was just a happy coincidence that it was about animals. The stories, while comedic are not necessarily happy or even pleasant, in fact all of them are quite cynical, some are even downright disgusting. Sedaris does not favor certain species or even domesticated versus wild animals, no creature is safe from his sharp-wit and cutting diction.
One of the stories outlines is told from the point of view of an Irish setter, a breed of dog that is known for its beauty and loyalty. This particular setter is “married” to a mixed breed, who resembles a caricature of the human equivalent of a “hick” or “hackneyed” character. She swears like a sailor, has a short temper and no notion of marital loyalty. The pure bred setter, of course, is well-spoken, level-headed and has a particularly strong sense of smell that favors books over the scent of the television. At some point the female has an “affair” with the bull terrier next door, whom later mauls a little girl. The setter simply forgives all her missteps and even acts as a father to the puppies that are not his. This quality in humans might be looked at as passive and unmanly, this dopey, easy-going characteristic is common in most Irish setters and proves that Sedaris must have actually researched not only dogs, but individual breeds of dogs. While the writing is so humorous one might not expect it to be well informed, but Sedaris takes his time to inject natural qualities into the animals that he anthropomorphizes in his work.
At the end of the story the dog and his person drive past a burning house. With the help of a very lucky dachshund the setter discovers that a teenaged son is trapped on the second floor. Unlike Lassie, the setter does not leap into action to save the child, as the smell of burning flesh wafts into his hypersensitive nasal passages the only thing the setter can think of is how hungry he is and his hope that his person will stop for hamburgers on the way home. While this sentiment is rather morbid, it seems like this response would be the more accurate one among dogs and I appreciate Sedaris’s adherence to this kind of harsh reality.
Many of the other stories in the book employ this kind of darkly realistic humor and while it is certainly guilty of anthropomorphizing, I think that it appeals to both animal lovers and those that appreciate quality writing. I look forward to Sedaris’ future work and I hope that he continues down this animal related writing path.

[Write Comment]
Bruce Nollman Chapter 10
By Michael Martinez (06/07/10 16:34:07)
I found this chapter to be a little bit odd. Esepcialy the begining where Nollman seems to be mixing Science, Religion, and the philosophies of primary reception all together. I had little success in figuring out what the overall purpose was of sewing together all these seemingly contradictory theories. What i could gather best is that they somehow all work simultaneously and dictate human and animal interaction

After talking about these concepts Nollman talked about a his interactions with dolphins and his attempts foster a healthy human and dolphin community. He talked about how that dolphins and humans are just different sides of the evolutionary coin. I as intrigued by this. And the quote that stated dolphins to be ambassadors also intrigued me because he noted there general demeanor to humans.

This chapter was kind of a hard read. I wasn't sure what Nollman was going for. The first half is science more philosophy based while the second half is an account of his interactions. I wasn't sure if Nollman was condemning or supporting the heavily science based treatment of animals in favor of more intuitive emotion based approaches.

[Write Comment]
Cats of IV Continued (2)
By Madison Wanamaker (05/28/13 19:05:05)
Related animal: Cat

A very dramatic scene unfurled in Isla Vista this week. The cats settled year-long boarder disputes, and treaties were signed. At approximately 8:00 AM Saturday morning May 25th Sparkle Glitter Pants, Cheese Burger, and Cheese Cake fought over the backyard. Though the fight consisted mostly of hisses, low-pitched guttural noises, and scary angry cat poses, it was still very dramatic and enough to wake up many members of the house.
I awoke to a serious hiss that sounded like "FINISH HIM!!!" * answered by a loud roar-type-meow. I ran to the living room where two glass doors look out on the battlefield. What I saw was unlike anything I have ever seen... three cats in attack position, two outside and one in the living room. It is funny how we forget that we live with wild animals not to different from lions and tigers. I tried to take as many pictures as I could but the illusive Sparkle Glitter Pants ran when she caught sight of me.
Luckily no animals were injured in this soap opera type girl fight, the only question now is, is it over? And if so, who has won?

* "FINISH HIM!!!" reference from Fatality Mortal Combat

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
ch. 10
By Hilary Elizabeth MacDonald (05/11/10 20:20:16)
Related animal: Dolphin

His opening lines in chapter 10 got me thinking. Of course animals are concerned with us, I wonder what they think when a strange animal wearing all kinds of colors and hair growing from certain spots comes walking towards them. He talks about co-evolution. These dolphins (in general) are forced to live with us in many situations so I don’t see a positive to this co-evolving. He begins talking about One Nature, we are all unconsciously connected…..I’m sill not sure about this statement but perhaps. He suggests we keep inside are own mind, through meditation exercise and other physical and spiritual acts. He believes that the dolphins could sever as a guide through a conscious journey. Dolphins are very similar to humans so what better source if information then the wild dolphins that Jim and his wife followed. I like that Jim does not force interaction on these beautiful creatures, he waits for them to come to him. SUCCESS! Jim gets the 3 dolphins to dance around his boat but really listening and experimenting to find the right tones for them. Jims explanation of the best teacher. …”the greatest teacher demonstrates for you your own true nature”

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
By Sean Turner (04/22/10 06:15:51)
In the first chapter of The Man Who Talks to Whales, Nollman describes his affinity for animals and music. He believes that humans need to further develop our relationship with other animals. We must see them as more that just specimens in a science experiment, and not only learn about them, but learn from them. Many humans view nature and other species as a "biological machine" devoid of emotions and feelings, defined by science. He suggests that we no longer let science alone define nature because nature is too unsystematic to be studies in such a manner. Instead, the artists and musicians of the world must reach out and develop relationships with other species. I agree with Nollman in that we must further develop our relationship with other species, and that we must learn to see them as individuals. It never occurred to me until reading this article that most of human interaction with other species is done by scientists, and I believe that this is another problem we should fix.

[Write Comment]
By Sean Turner (04/22/10 06:58:56)
Related animal: Clownfish

In this chapter Nollman discusses interspecies protocol, or the delicate relationship between two species that have learned to love and respect one another. This term is much like a social etiquette. The bushmen and the lions used to have a mutual respectful relationship. However, when the ranchers and their cattle encroached on the lions' drinking hours, they broke this bond of trust, and the lions attacked the men and their cattle. This seems like the lions are clearly communicating that the humans overstepped their boundries, and us humans need to learn from these types of encounters. These interspecies relationships are very delicate and it is important that we take care to keep them healthy. Or else, we may elicit a negative response that may carry over for generations to come. For example, the Grizzly bears are now afraid of humankind because humans have killed these great bears in the past. This eliminates any possibility of communicating with these animals. We are no longer able to get close enough to them to learn from them about the world in which we live.

[Write Comment]
Channel Islands Trip
By Natalie Croak (06/08/13 20:34:29)
For our Channel Islands trip we had the opportunity to stay at the UC Reserve Research Station on the Nature Conservancy side of the island. As an Environmental Studies major I was beyond excited to be able to visit this area. It was my third time on Santa Cruz Island but it was definitely my favorite trip. We spent a lot of time hiking, exploring, swimming, and going to different beaches. On the third day the maintenance managers took us on a tour of the island and we got to see the diversity of habitat types that there are in such a small area. I also loved talking to the raptor researchers who were staying at the field station with us. They definitely have my dream job.

exploring the island

giant coreopsis!
[Write Comment]
Reflection: Art Made for Non-Human Animals
Chapter 10
By Mark Linggi (06/07/10 18:33:05)
Related animal: Dolphin

Chapter 10 reminds me a lot about the lecture that Jim Nollman gave. Well parts of it at least. While he was describing the sounds that he used to project underwater, I couldn't help but hear the same guitar rifts in my mind. It was as if the noises that he described in his book triggered the memory of his lecture in my mind.

I also felt bad for the dolphins caught within the tuna traps. To simply exploit technology and catch dolphins as a byproduct just cause it is easier to get the tuna is wrong. It reminds me of a book that my friend lent to me called "Eating Animals." Although I haven't completed (or really started for that matter), I have heard that the book is about the unjust happenings that are occurring within the mass consumption of meat. For example, the inhospitable conditions that chickens are under is simply monstrous. Like farm animals, if things have not changed for the accidental fishing of dolphins, I believe that things should change.

I also thought that Nollman's concept of Gaia, how we are all connected, was particularly interesting as well. I really did enjoy how he tied in the whole gene sequence into it as well, how we are all made up of the same molecular components in the end.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Chapter 10 "The Man Who Talks to Whales"
By Kirsten Howard (05/21/10 11:34:47)
“The obvious way for us to temper and control the excesses of our acculturated mind is to develop techniques that allow us to ‘step outside our minds.’...Here is the realm of morphic resonance, of unifying consciousness, of one-world community. Of natural wisdom.” (144)

This chapter of the book explains the mysteries of the world in a way that is parallel to my perception of the world. I think that Nollman did a fantastic job of trying to explain the cosmic connection that exists between all beings and all things. I particularly found the part about sound being a vibration which is in line with this connecting life force interesting, because it made me think of Hindu chants and Om, as well as how music has an ability to move people in ways that cannot be explained. There is definitely something deeper to the world than what most people perceive, however, it is something so difficult to explain, and yet, Nollman did a really great job at describing it without making it sound hocus. The quote I mentioned at the top is important to me because it refers to stepping outside the mind. I do this often through yoga and meditation, and I definitely feel a sense of oneness when I engage in these practices. It was during a yoga class that I had the revelation of understanding and feeling the vibrational connection between all life. This completely opened my eyes, as if I wasn’t awake to it before. I think that it would be fantastic if everyone engaged in these practices so that they could feel and sense the unifying force of life, because it might lead people to be more understanding of animals and nature, and less likely to destroy or try to own nature. These practices should be one of the first steps in educating people towards a better understanding and appreciation for the environment as well.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Chapter 10 of Jim Nollman's book.
By Evan Hynes (06/08/10 02:55:33)

Chapter ten of jim Nollman's book covers the topic of "oneness". He talks about Gaia, who in greek mythology represents all of earth, perhaps the original "mother earth" figure. Her story tells of how since she is the mother of all living things on this earth, then we are all intern related and have a connection. I could not agree more. Obviously Jim Nollman feels especially connected to this theory because he has been able to reach a connection to another species, despite obvious difference between him and the dolphins, the animals he connected with. He used music as a way to connect and collaborate with the dolphins, which I think is very poetic and artistic, even though many would view his actions as scientific. I find it hard to believe that so much cruelty is done to animals in this world when you consider the fact that without the animals around us, whether they be insects or dolphins, our world would not exist. I have enjoyed reading this book, and when I work on my final project, I will definitely have this idea of oneness in the back of my mind and be aware of the fact that we are all part of this world we live in.

[Write Comment]
Charlie Russell's (depicted in "Walking with Giants: The Grizzlies of Siberia")
By ho chi leung (05/11/10 19:08:01)

Timothy's death was supposed to be a tragedy , but i think the movie's style presented Timothy's death to be something ironic. And I actually like the way that the movie was presented, because I think Timothy was too innocent and he stupidly dig a hole for himself to jump and die. I understand he wanted to create some kind of trust or bonds with the bears, and so he did not consider to prepare any protections such as pepper sprays and electric fences that Charlie Russell suggested . I think Timothy overly loved the bears, which caused him to think the bears were actually the human who could think and act in the same way as he did. And in fact, animals are animals, they don't have our human body nor our intelligence.

Also, we also watched another movie about the couples saved the three baby bears. I understand their sympathy towards the bears, but i do not agree they should raised the bears. I heard a story from Discovery Channel about the animals. Even if their staff see the dying animals or animals in danger, they will not try to help or save because they do not want to interrupt the law of the jungle.

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Charlie Russell's Response
By Michael Martinez (06/06/10 23:15:45)
This was by far my favorite article we have read thus far. It probably is because a lot of my ideas are summed up by Russell. The conflicting views I have on Timothy Treadwell are put articulately and intelligently by someone who actuary knows what their talking about.

I felt that what Timothy did was amazing and praise worthy, however the man himself is a confusing and hard to love figure. And anyone who watched Grizzly Man and is unaware of who, Werner Herzog is or how he views the world will easily get rapt up in his version of the story.

ON a side note, it was most likely a typo but, i found it interesting that Russell Refers to the group Grizzly People as a "non-prophet" organization.

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Chicken Communication
By Natalie Croak (04/24/13 09:39:24)
Related animal: Chicken

Outside the back door to my apartment is my co-op’s chicken coop, home to Gumbo, Speckles, Abe Lincoln, Uma Thurman, Pot Pie, and Brianne of Tarth. I never really pay attention to the chickens so I decided to attempt to communicate with them. My roommate used to be the chicken manager, or “chicktator,” so I decided to try to communicate with them with no previous knowledge of the chickens so I wouldn’t be biased. Then afterwards I talked to her to see if I had “the gift.”
I sat on the edge of one of the garden beds for about a half an hour watching them and attempting to communicate. I tried to open my mind to the idea of interspecies communication and wrote down everything that came into my head. Our smallest chicken Pot Pie has a metal tag around her leg and I sensed that it bothered her. Other things that I picked up on were that they wanted more fresh food instead of chicken feed and they wished more people would hang out in the backyard. I’m a skeptic of animal communicators however, and I think that this was just me projecting my own ideas of what they would be thinking about onto the chickens. However I did sense that Gumbo’s right wing was bothering it and later when it ruffled her feathers I noticed a bald spot on its right side.
While I was out there I noticed that one of our chickens Abe (named for her burly feather beard) was really working to get my attention. Whenever I would move around to get a better view of another chicken she would follow me around and get in the way when I would try to take a picture. She ended up photo-bombing almost every shot.
Afterwards I talked to my roommate about what I thought the chickens had told me. When I told her that Pot Pie wanted the tag taken off her leg she got mad and said that she tried to take it off when we rescued Pot Pie from the shelter but she kept running away and scratching her. She also said that Gumbo’s bald spot was just normal molting but maybe that’s an uncomfortable process for chickens. I decided that I going to try to go out to the chicken coop more often with my leftover vegetables for them to eat since that was their biggest request.

Inside of their laying box--Abe is still trying to get in the picture

The beautiful Uma Thurman

Abe photo-bombing Pot Pie's picture
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Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Class Decisions
By Andrew (06/10/13 19:30:51)
Related animal: Human

Interspecies Collaboration Week 2

The reason I originally chose this class was because I was really interested in the description. I was interested in the description because there wasn’t really one at all and pretty much all I got from it was that we were going to attempt to communicate with animals during the quarter and that really intrigued me. My mother is a veterinarian at an animal hospital and at a rescue zoo in Big Bear Lake, CA and my dad is a retired professional horse jockey so I have been around many different species of animals my entire life. My mom has always thought that animals can really understand what she’s trying to say to them because much of the time they do exactly what she’s asking. This started with our own dogs and horse, but quickly spread to most of the animals at the zoo. One crazy experience I had with an animal was when I was five. My family and I went camping up in King’s Canyon. It was just passed sunset and everyone was washing up and getting ready for dinner. While everyone was busy doing that, I somehow slipped away from the campsite and was nowhere to be found. 15 minutes later my family had the park rangers looking all over the campgrounds for me. And after 30 minutes they brought in local enforcement to help with the search. After a little over an hour of searching and far into nighttime the rangers found me sitting playing with rocks and sticks about a two minute walk outside of the campground with two bears sitting just 30 feet away from me. Since they were so close and in the same opening, the camp rangers had to be very careful with talking to me and “saving” me. They scared away the bears and then picked me up and brought me to my parents. The whole time I had no idea that anything was wrong and I was just playing in the same area as these bears. I know I didn’t directly interact with the bears, but being so helpless and in such close proximity with them makes me feel now like we kind of made an agreement to play in our own areas. Sort of like we were cool with each other as long as I didn’t mess with them and they didn’t mess with me.

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Communicating with Layla
By Chelsea Hunter (05/10/09 10:59:06)
Related animal: Dog

After talking with the animal communicator i was very inspired to do some communicating of my own. I rescued my dog Layla about a year ago from an abusive home and although she lives with my father in Santa Maria I have always felt like we have a special bond. Those first few nights in our home she spent in bed with me and I tried to convey feelings of love and trust so that she would be comfortable. Now over a year later I was on my way to my fathers house for a visit and I thought it would be a perfect time to test our bonds and see if there could be some communication between us. She is still a young dog and when there are people around she gets very excited and hyper so it was quite hard getting her to stay still so that I could have a moment with her. I put my hands on her and looked into her eyes and it was if I could almost feel all of her thoughts racing through her head. I immediately feel joyful and relaxed when I see her and I am wondering if she is sending me messages of love and happiness. I tried to ask her a few questions, mostly things like if she is happy living with my father and if she is glad to see me. I didn't feel like I got a response but then I remembered that I was supposed to send pictures not words. How do you ask a question with pictures? I thought about it for a while and become frustrated and she started to get restless so I let her out to play. Before I left I picked her up again and looked into her eyes, I felt that I didn't even have to ask her if she was happy that I could just see that she was when she looked at me. I can't really say that the communication was totally successful but I do believe that the bond with my dog is real and that with practice I might have better luck in the future with communicating with her on another level.

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Reflection: Animal Communication
Communication using Barbara Janell's Tips
By Serena Zahler (04/19/10 22:23:12)
Related animal: Rabbit

I attempted to use the meditation practices Barbara Janell taught us to become closer to my domesticated "wild" bunny neighbors. I sat on the grass where they often frolic on warm days, closed my eyes, and tried to become closer with them. I tried to put myself in their paws, tried to envision their bunny hole (which I think is under the agave plants at the edge of the yard). I even asked them to come meditate with me. Unfortunately, the bunnies never came and participated in my honorary meditation. I do feel this exercise was important as one of my projects will consist of being their advocate, honoring their bunny friend, and acting as a lieson between them and the other human neighbors. I believe this exercise has helped me place myself on the same level as the bunnies and I will better be able to collaborate with them and create a powerful campaign not only for them, but with them.

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Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Danger pig
By Raymond Douglas (06/08/13 19:48:40)
Related animals: Human, Pig

Our day at Lil’ Orphan Hammies was unseasonably hot, but maybe that was because it took place in Solvang instead of Santa Barbara. Anyway, it took our car extra time to find this mysterious sanctuary of pigs in the Solvang hills. But, when we found it we were greeted with chubby, sometimes fowl-smelling pot bellied pigs wandering in circles and seeking attention. These guys were free from any cages and would dip in little pools to cool off and then seek refuge in the shade from the day’s harsh sun. For our group, they rolled over, made great pig noises, and let us rub their bellies raw. Initially, it was a very happy environment.

As most of this quarter’s class now knows, I have a past as a hunter and farmer. While I never personally did this, I had close friends who would raise farm pigs from the smallest piglet to the largest, most mind-numbingly large creature. I would help them clean the pens, refill their water troughs, and feed them their specialized feed. I always enjoyed these pigs from the moment I saw them at the county fair as a child. They made the best noises, smelled like poop, and just wanted their heads scratched. The county fair was, however, the saddest reality they could have faced. All week the pigs’ owners would show them in an arena and the surrounding spectators would bid for the possession of their favorite, largest pig. Upon winning a bid, the winning spectator (usually another farmer) would take the pig and eventually have it slaughtered for its meat. I was always ignorant of this fact and persisted as a nice human being to these animals. And I still do today.

Back at the sanctuary we left the confines of the main house’s side yard and went down the hill to pay a visit to the veterans of the property. Some of these pigs were upwards of 15 years old and insisted on being perpetually grumpy. Even though the only fondness they would show to you would be from you giving them treats, they still had a place in my heart as these loving, innocent creatures. However, as we were walking down to this area earlier, the owner of the property pointed to a pig behind a gate on our right and suggested that we don’t go near him for he was aggressive and didn’t often like human confrontations. We all took note and went about our business. When the group started to separate into smaller clusters and single individuals, I wandered off in search of the pigs that may be commonly ignored by the sanctuary visitors. As I crossed over a waist high fence, I heard a peculiar grunting to my right. There, with its left, black eye fixated on my presence, was the pig that we were to ignore at all costs. I was in its territory and I was freaking out. Every small move that I made he would inch closer and semi-charge me. If I stood still long enough for him to lose interest and look the other way I would try to shuffle my way back to the fence from where I came. Eventually, I needed the help of Erik’s distraction to avoid any bloody encounters. Immediately after my pig shuffle, I regretted crossing his boundary. But, days later it gave me a deeper appreciation for these animals and their hardship. This old guy was most likely abused at some point in his life and remained on guard 24/7. I got in his way, yes, but I was glad to acknowledge his pain. The day at the sanctuary augmented my love for pigs and has put pressure on me to make conscious changes in my interactions with them and in my diet.

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Day 1 on SC Island
By Stephanie Vasquez (05/10/09 16:08:38)
(Written on April 17th)

Here we are on the Island, and my hopes are to somehow communicate with some birds (the scrub jay, possibly?) and just like everyone else, I’d like to see that little Island Fox. I’m going to keep an eye out for it. We went on a hike today. I noticed many lizards running around, some interesting insects such as the beetle with a red X on its back, but unfortunately, no scrub jay. Actually, any bird will do, but how do you bring a bird toward you without feeding it? I honestly haven’t the slightest idea.

It’s a bit strange to walk around such a “natural” area (in other words, no pavement, not many buildings, a lot of trees, plants, and wildlife) and not see any large creatures whatsoever. The largest animal I have seen here is what looks like a sparrow, followed by the lizard. I want to see an animal. Fox, where are you?!

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Day 2 on SC Island
By Stephanie Vasquez (05/10/09 16:34:08)
Related animals: Fox, Island Skunk, Spider

(Written on April 18th)

Shanti and I went exploring today. We took a trail hoping to be rewarded in the end with a nice shaded area. Unfortunately, the trail continued for what seemed like forever, but that does not mean it wasn’t rewarding! I quite enjoyed the long walk, and we saw small “signs” of the fox, if you know what I mean.

We also went to an area with many eucalyptus trees and both sat in different areas as we did our own thing. I began to meditate and think about everything that had happened within just the past 2 days. I listened to the birds chirping above, listened to the rustling of leaves… I felt so much peace while sitting there. I noticed the beautiful spider webs around me and got inspired for a project. What type of project, I do not know. Once I figure that out, I will post in the Projects section. But anyway, I wish I could sit in that very spot for a few minutes every day of my life. Of course, that’s not physically possible, but according to my British literature class, I can revisit the area and experience the same benefits through the memory of Nature and Beauty alone. Now if I can only remember to sit still every once in a while. Life seems so chaotic sometimes.

Later, I decided to go on a walk in search of the fox. I found an area below a trail we had taken earlier. I sat down near a fallen tree. There is something about fallen trees that is so interesting to me, not sure what though. Anyway, I sat down for about 40 minutes. I just sat there quietly, listening. I heard rustling behind me, but no fox. It was probably a bird.

Earlier, someone saw an Island Skunk, and I had the privilege of also seeing it myself. It was hiding near some trees behind our cabin. I never thought I’d say this, but the skunk looked like a small teddy bear. I haven’t seen too many skunks (in fact, I never saw one until I moved to Santa Barbara) but this one was tiny, and had a very round face. It looked like it didn’t have a tail, and if it did, it was too small to be obvious. It seemed very scared, however, and I felt sorry that we had inflicted such terror upon it.

No other animal sightings. :s

What animal created this, and what is it?

At the top of a mountain.
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Dolphin trip with Toni (Dolphin Mysteries: Unlocking Secrets of Communication)
By Jennifer Lee Lin (06/07/10 10:24:17)
Related animal: Dolphin

It was beautiful! so so so so beautiful. I have never seen dolphins so close. the first time i had seen them swimming near the boat was the santa cruz field trip, but this trip was special if only because of the massive number of dolphins.

Unfortunately i brought a different and older camera so the pictures came up strange and the video is of poor quality.

It was such an experience. even though most of the dolphins ignored us, i think many responded to us. many dolphins jumped higher than others, and watching them swim so fast when we sped up was so fun and touched my heart. they were so alone and away from santa barbara and the isla vista that i knew that i felt as if i was somewhere else. I could almost imagine this was before urbanization ( except for the modernized boat) and that this was something new between dolphins and humans.

I tried waving a brown cloth around, then just kept whooping and singing and banging sticks together. i hope they enjoyed it

Click to play.

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Dolphins Reading
By Norah Eldredge (05/18/10 09:54:50)
Related animal: Dolphin

This reading was very interesting to me. Usually, when people talk about dolphins, there is a kitch-y anthropomorphized cuteness toward them that deters me from taking them seriously.

I feel like the perspective in this article is much different. There is an understanding and respect for the animals that is on one hand scientific, and on the other an understanding from one animal species to another.

What interested me the most was the discussion on what role dolphins play in our economy, both domestically and globally, and how the 'need' for dolphins is somewhat skewed by the monetary gain accessible through using a dolphin as the animal in question as opposed to something like a dog or horse.

We also discussed this in class, ie if dolphin therapy is really as effective as it is claimed to be, and whether or not it is worth capturing the animals in order to force human/dolphin interaction. Some aspects of this I believe are good- exposing people to nature in any way possible etc. However, more often then not, the dolphins are really not taken into consideration and are simply a commodity, nothing more. Their energy and souls are not truly engaged and not only does this affect the mental and physical well-being of the dolphin personally, but also can translate into tactile sadness, depression and even violence.

While talking about this in class I remembered an instance in my life where I had a strange interaction with dolphins. My family was in Hawaii when I was around 7 years old. My younger sister and I were dying to 'swim with the dolphins' as we had seen in movies etc, and begged our parents to let us do it. I remember this being a big discussion- my parents thought it was weird and expensive, but somehow Suzanne and I managed to convince them.

We went to the FourSeasons, or some such resort where you can swim with dolphins, and got in the water. I remember the experience being slightly scary and overwhelming. The texture of the dolphin's skin was what I remembered most, as well as how little the animal moved around the pen. What I remember most of all, though, was getting out of the water and crying. I couldn't stop crying. My parents were livid- tacking it up to cranky hungry kids and leaving it at that. It is now a legendary family story- the girls got their way, mom and dad paid for an expensive and weird activity, and then the kids melted down and hated it.

Now that I reflect back on this event, I must have picked up on the negative and sad feelings of the dolphin I interacted with! I had no idea why I was crying either, I just remember being totally overwhelmed and depressed in a way, now that I think about it, a seven year old should never be. These creatures are truly powerful and emotional creatures and need to be understood and respected in that way.

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Dophin Trip
By Martin C. Shaver (06/13/10 13:26:12)
Related animal: Dolphin

some pictures from the dolphin trip

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Comment by martincs (06/13/10 13:41:38):
These were some pictures i captured from the dolphin trip on the Condor Express. The trip was a great experience from start to finish. However, we did encounter a sad scenario at the very beginning before we loaded onto the boat. There was a very sick or dying seal over by where we were sitting and preparing for the boat ride. It posed as a large distraction because of how sad it was to realize the circle of life that was overshadowed by our excitement of being able to experience a mass amount of dolphins. When we left to harbor and sailed out into the ocean we came across a plethora of pelicans on what looked like a pontoon boat. I snapped a few pictures of this because of the incredible number of birds hanging out on this seemingly abandoned looking boat. We then sailed out into the ocean and came across a few seals along the way swimming around curious to see who was barreling through their waters. after a good 40 to 50 minute ride towards the channel islands, we finally found our beloved dolphins in mass numbers; to what i've been told was around 2 to even 3 thousand dolphins. we attempted a series of maneuvers with the boat and some collaboration with our fellow students, but the dolphins seemed to be more interested in our wake. they cruised along for the free ride, and as simple as it may seem, it was indeed incredible. they jumped and darted through the water and alongside our boat. they seemed happy to have us their and the excitement was clear on the faces of all of us to experience these amazing creatures.
Reflection: Animal Play Behavior
By Sara Selmic (05/13/13 12:26:11)
Related animal: Mallard Duck

I discovered this park with many ducks and turtles roaming and swimming around. The first time I went with an intention to interact with the animals for this class it was a little late in the afternoon so many of the ducks were going to sleep. I came up to them and just sat so I could watch them. I could tell they were a little frightened at first but they soon realized I meant them no harm. I sat and observed their lovely feathers and the way they slept was interesting because they turned their heads back to rest on their bodies, this caused them to look like fluffy, feathery hearts. The pond is packed with turtles, some large and some very tiny. There was one in particular that was probably the largest with two red stripes down its shell. I didn't get to do much with these animals, but I found it nice to just watch them behave in their own habitat.

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Encounter with crow.
By Luis Alberto Velazquez (04/26/14 22:03:22)
Related animal: Crow

I want to share what happened today while walking near the library in campus. A crow was trying to open a small plastic container. It would pick it up with it's beak, fly up about 20 feet and drop it. It used the same tactic about 4 times, hoping it would open or break, after a while the crow seemed exhausted but still determined to open the container.
I decided to get close to investigate. The crow flew to the nearest tree, probably cursing at me for taking the precious container. It was a small ranch dressing container. I opened it and carefully placed it on the grass and walked away, seconds later the crow flew back to it and started eating the dressing. I watched from far away and at some point the crow even looked at me. I have created art about crows in the past, but never had a connection (if I can call it that). I feel like we collaborated some how.
I watched this really cool documentary about how smart crows are here is the link

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Fear of Familliar
By Michael Martinez (06/06/10 22:25:45)
In the Article Fear of the Familiar the author, discuss the desire for the post modern movement to move away from the use of common animals such as house pets in the use of artistic collaborations. Instead the movement focuses on the use of wild animals or untamed animals since they do not imprint from their owners.

While i find this to be an intriguing point of view i don't entirely agree with it. The main push for the abandonment of pets for collaboration is because they are familiar. Hence the title of the article. Because of their association with humans they no longer have their natural instincts.

However i feel that all animals have some form of familiarity to them. by the very fact that humans exist it would be impossible to assume that no animal has ever been effected in some part by humans and their interactions with their environments as a whole. So not only have animals been effected by humans, they have also been studies. by studying them we know how they act and their behavioral tendencies. all together i think these factors make wild animals more familiar than not.

That is how i feel about that mentality that wild animals lack a predictability than house pets or more common animals.

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Fear of the Familiar
By Kirsten Howard (04/23/10 14:24:51)
This text was interesting in its regards to post-modernism in relation to working with select animals in art. I agree that it seems almost forbidden to work with the familiar, especially in regard to working with domesticated animals/pets. It made me think of something my photography TA told my class a couple years ago on the first day: that he didn't want any pictures of people's dogs. I suppose its just been done a lot or perhaps is seen as cliche. However, after reading the article, it seems that banning work that deals with a certain group of animals is not in conjunction with the core ideas of post-modernism at all. Post-modernism is supposed to be partially about not having any boundaries or class-scales with regard to race, sex, etc. Therefore, it should hold true that all animals are equal in appeal for artistic representation. And yet, the article says post-modern artists don't want to work with domesticated animals. This is highly contradictory. Also, the last question we talked about in class, about love and knowledge was interesting too. Someone said that it is a love for knowledge that drives the artists to work with wild animals. However, I believe that a true love for something comes out of love itself, a genuine goodness of nature and not something that needs to have the result of knowledge.

Genuine love is not driven by the desire for result or knowledge.

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Reflection: Speciesism and Animal Rights
Fear of the Familiar
By Jeffrey Jacobs (04/26/10 09:16:25)

Fear of the Familiar

I thought that this was an interesting reading about the structure of the movement designed to break down structure known as Post-modernism. It is a confusing topic because it seems to be filled with so many contradictions, and the very thought of giving it definition seems to defy its defining principles. The idea is that post-modernists seek to abandon any structure put in place on them by artists and movements past. However, the very idea of creating a successive movement to do so seems utterly ridiculous. What is the point? One thing that I thought was particularly interesting were the ideas regarding the connection of postmodernist thought and the ideas of animal rights activists. Post modernists seek to abolish constructs such as sexism and racism. They are against the differentiation of people and places and seek to level the playing field on every level. Animal activists do the same thing but for animals. They try to get people to realize that humans should not think they are better than all other species so that they stop thinking its okay to take advantage of them. I agree with the post modernists and the animal rights activists in these regards.

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fear of the familiar
By Jenna Ferri (06/04/10 18:44:55)
I didn't holistically agree with the basis of this article. The fact that collaborating with wild animals is continued ideal and more pure seems like you are eliminating an entire species of domesticated animals that have adapted and have a different outlook than the others. However, a more interesting way would be to consider the difference between collaborating with the two types of animals namely domestic and wild and see if they form different conclusions.
I worked with both on my project (although it could be argued that the "wild" animals I worked with a the zoo really weren't wild) I found equal cooperation with both sets of animals and the only real difference was that domestic animals were more willing and able to collaborate because of their learned trust of the human race.
After watching the grizzly movies, I think it is too different to expect to collaborate with wild animals. Both of the movies of people who were collaborating with bears were playing with fire and fate. Only the elder research couple in my opinion was truly getting the essence of the race my raising the young cubs.
This article had some interesting points but I didnt feel all of them were valid!

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Fear of the Familiar
By Sean Turner (06/14/10 11:14:29)
After reading Fear of the Familiar, I realized that there is way too much classification of animals. They are separated into several categories such as house pets, game, and wild animals, just to name a few. In order to better understand these animals, we need to put them all on a level playing field and not harbor preconceived notions about these animals and their behavior. Most all animals, depending on their personal disposition, are capable of being members of all of these categories. I agree with some thoughts in this article that point out that sentimentality is strongly tied with connecting certain animals to their respective categories. Much of the "love" that humans feel toward animals is driven not by their particular relationship with the animal, but the physical appearance of the animal and its ability to relate to humans. It is an "over-investment in an animal's appearance." Many of the r-selected species, who are often smaller, uglier, and in larger numbers, aren't seen as individuals, and thus not loved in the same way as a more commonly domesticated animal like a dog.
I do not agree with the statement that a domesticated animal is a "living betrayal of its properly animal potential or trajectory." As humans, who are we to decide what is natural for an animal. After all, didn't humans evolve from animals? Our human trajectory is obviously to civilize and dominate our environment, and perhaps it is in the animals' best interest to also become more civilized and safe from the harsh, unpredictable outside world.
I do not believe that the Infinity Kisses piece should even be considered art. To me, it is just a few pictures of a weird lady who is way to obsessed with her cat. The only thing that comes to my mind is bestiality, and that is wrong no matter how good of friends you think you are with your cat. It is ok to take pictures with your cat, but taking it any further is crossing a line that shouldn't be crossed.
Sentimentality seems to be a very controversial subject when it comes to animals. I believe that animals are not that different from humans, and that it is normal to develop feelings for them. However, I think that humans are very discriminatory when it comes to feeling sentimentality toward animals. It seems that humans only allow themselves to feel for animals when the animals feel back. This reciprocal relationship is rare between humans and other species, and that is why humans generally feel more sentimentality toward responsive and "loving" animals such as dogs instead of ants.

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Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Final Thoughts
By Tessa Tapscott (06/08/13 21:22:08)
Related animal: Human

When I told people I was taking a class called Interspecies Relations I was met with blank stares and confused looks. “Wait, that’s an art class?” was a common response. Many of my non-art and non-animal related acquaintances brushed off my explanations, relegating it into the realm of “artsy, tree-hugging” that went beyond their point of contemplation. However, for me, this class was one of the most interesting, eye opening and thought provoking classes I have had the chance to take in my time at UCSB. I thought that I began the class with a relatively open mind about many interspecies related subjects, but I still learned so much from each class lecture, movie and reading. As an avid animal lover and advocate I found myself looking forward to each class as a chance to not only express and broaden my own views, but to hear those of my peers and educators.
Ever since I graduated junior high I have rarely had the chance to go on a field trip, but this class offered so many enjoyable ones. The chance to not only go to the Channel Islands, but to stay there, even if just for a night, was something I could not pass up. It was truly an amazing experience to wake up in nature, but also live on an island that was so sparsely populated and allowed to grow unencumbered. That kind of open space if so rare to find these days, I hope that the Channel Islands can remain that way.
One of the things that I found most interesting about the class was that many of the non-art majors also seemed to gain so much from the class, while simultaneously, I am so glad that we were able to hear the views of a diverse array of students after being locked into semi-pretentious art related discussions with only other art majors. The final show proved how much people learned and grew over the quarter and the dedication each student felt to expressing their views with the help of their non-human collaborators. While our show seemed slightly disorganized in the preparations, I think the end result was certainly something to be proud of and I think many of the visitors were surprised and pleased to interact with the work that the class provided.
It is with a heavy heart that I must leave UCSB, but I am so thankful I was offered the opportunity to take a class that seemed not only tailor-made for me, but also opened up my options as an artist, a human and collaborator. I hope to do more work with and about animals in the future in the hopes of figuring out how to be less speciest or to even figure out what that means in terms of making art with animals.

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Reflection: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
First steps
By leona chen (04/05/09 15:58:09)
Related animal: Elephant

I have begun to look inventively on the internet and around me for different ideas of what I could possibly do for my collaboration. I am a big fan of YouTube, sadly. One of my favorite categories is the Pets & Animals section. Since I have joined this class, I noticed more different videos that I typically wouldn't look at. I am trying to dig deeper than the surface of animal collaboration. So far, I have discovered many helpful videos about what we are learning in class. Hopefully these videos will assist me in my creative process and I hope it does the same for others because I have posted them as resources on this website.

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Reflection: Animal Communication
First Trip to the Bird Sanctuary
By Ashley Dawkins-Garcia (04/26/09 11:04:51)
Related animal: Parrot

This was my first trip to the Bird Sanctuary in Summerland. I wasn't sure what to expect or do when I went there but when I met the owner of the place and her cockatoo Dolly, I was surprised how social parrots were. When I went back, most of the parrots and other birds weren't too sure about me but when I went down to visit the other birds they were a bit more open to me. It wasn't until a few minutes that I had a bunch of screaming birds yelling at me and saying words like "I love you!" and "Hi!" to get my attention.

I have to say I really enjoyed my time there. The birds were fun to talk and just hanging out with. I plan to make a project dealing with music and their singing and I will probably do more projects with them.

First trip to Bird San. Yes, that was me singing a bit. Mind you, I stop singing but he kept on going.

First trip to Bird San.

My first trip to the Bird San.

This macaw would raise his feet whenever I would wave at him/her.
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Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Follow the Leader with a Butterfly
By Shanti Harris (05/11/09 14:18:37)
Related animal: Insect

After a day's hike on Santa Cruz Island, I had come across a white butterfly on my my way down a steep hill. This butterfly flew by my side for ten minutes. Sometimes I would stop and watch the butterfly land on a leaf or flower. After a minute or so, I walked onward, but this butterfly would vacate it's previous destination and continue by my side. It was strange, almost as if I was taking a walk with this white winged insect, and it was just as aware.

About ten minutes into the walk with the butterfly, it began to take the lead. I sensed it just wanted me to follow, so I did. We were both taking the same path, but for some reason it decided to be the navigator, the leader. I followed for about five minutes and then stopped. When I stood still, the butterfly landed on a leaf. It was my turn to lead. I continued walking forward along the trail. I turned my head after a few seconds and found that the butterfly had been following me.

This process had continued until I had reached the end of the path. I would follow, the butterfly would follow. It wasn't until the butterfly and I went our separate ways that I realized I had just played follow the leader with an insect. Maybe the creature would not necessarily call it "follow the leader," but it certainly seemed to have been playing some kind of game related to territory, destination and curiosity.

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Reflection: Animal Communication
By Michelle Safley (04/22/10 08:08:35)
Related animal: Frog

Yesterday I tried to communicate with a frog I came across in the bathroom at Ellison. My phone could only capture what it was doing for 15 secs, but basically it was walking along the soap dispenser. I tried to get inside its mind and figure out its reason for being in the bathroom, and suddenly it became quite clear. The poor frog had already gone to the bathroom and was trying to figure out how to wash its hands. Unfortunately, it was too small to get the job done all by itself! At least it was trying to be sanitary.

Click to play.
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Fun with Goats & at the Tidepools
By Mona Luo (05/04/14 17:22:20)
Related animals: Kelp Flie, Octopus

I think it is fair to say that the trip to see the goats was a wonderful idea. They were so friendly and cute. It was very refreshing. At first I thought that I had made some sort of special connection when all the kids came rushing over to me. But apparently that was not the case. I think I am a sensitive person and get easily over attached to things because when they lost interest in nibbling on my clothes and went to go nibble on someone else I felt personally offended. It was still great to be able to spend time with such energetic and amiable animals though. Animals bring comfort in a way that human interactions just can’t seem to do. I was interesting to see animals behaving in such a friendly manner that were not our traditional ideas of domesticated pets.
On the beach I did two impromptu collaborations: one where I followed the tracks of some shore birds in the sand and another where I herd kelp flies. As I walked down the beach I saw the many indents of tiny bird feet in the sand (unfortunately I don’t know what bird they belonged to). The sand was dry high up on the beach, so rather than showing the toes of the birds the footprints were just small rounded indentations. I followed one of these tracks zigzagging back and forth until they stopped (presumably the bird flew away) and then began following a new set. There was no shortage of tracks, and many intersected, making it difficult to know which path to follow. When I was walking back in the direction of the tidepools I walked towards a clump of washed up kelp, disturbing a huge swarm of kelp flies. This was my inspiration for the second collaboration. I tried to herd the kelp flies as far away from the kelp as possible. As I walked towards them they would fly away, but some would escape around the side of me to return to the kelp. Before I could get them even a few feet they had all escaped and returned to the original kelp clump, or another one nearby.
At the tidepools I found an octopus! It was hiding under a rock, in a hole when I uncovered him. Even after I knew he was there he was still hard to see because of the camouflage. It scampered away to hide somewhere else, and when I touched him in his new hideout under an anemone, he raised his arms defensively. After that I left it alone.

Goat saying hi

Goat getting pet

Tracks in the sand that I followed.

Kelp flies
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Reflection: Non-Art Interspecies Collaborations
Funeral for a Bird
By Erik Shalat (04/22/13 08:35:24)
Related animal: Bird

During Interspecies Collaboration we gathered into groups to discuss chapters of Jim Nollman’s book, The Man Who Talks to Whales. My group decided to go outside to get out of the classroom and enjoy the sunlight while we talked. Despite the sun, it was very windy which offset the benefits of going outside. One of the group questions prompted us to talk about our personal animal experiences, and when it came to me to answer I started talking about my bird Toby. It seems ominous in retrospect that we were talking about my bird when what we heard a light thud against the classroom window. When we examined the source of the noise we saw the small fragile body of a bird. The bird slowly tightened it’s foot as it’s last living gesture. The rest of the class exited the room and we all gathered around the bird’s body. I started taking pictures of it, which i’m displaying in this post. We wrapped the bird up in a piece of paper and deliberated over what to do with it. The first thought we had was unanimously, “Of course this would happen in Interspecies Collaboration.” We seem like the one class uniquely suited to deal with the situation, barring an avian biology course.

With the bird being delicately handled by our teacher, we set off in search of a proper burial site. The decision was made to lay him to rest under a large tree, as you would with a family pet. Trees act as natural gravestones in a way. They’re good landmarks and the verticality of them suggests a transcendence. Along the way to find a tree, we came up with the name “Icarus Yellowtail” for the bird, because of his tragic last flight and his small yellow tail- like a paint brush that dabbed a jar of yellow acrylic.

At this point we had all but forgotten about the assignment we were supposed to be working on, but we found trees at the bottom of the art building. The first tree had a spiny bark that seemed too menacing for the seemingly benign Yellowtail. I’d like to think that in life he was a laid back bird. The second tree had a much thicker for flatter bark, a good traditional tree. More complications arose, as we had no means of digging a good hole and we weren’t about to do it with our fingers and risk getting cut on the hard earth. We ended up using a flimsy plastic shovel head that did the job well enough to form a shallow grave. Icarus was wrapped up in leaves and placed in the hole, and an altar of sorts was crafted around his burial mound out of pinecones and yellow flowers. The class spoke their last words about our new posthumously formed friendship and we left the site to return to class.

What fascinated me more than the bird’s death itself is that we all came together as a class to give this bird a funeral, and there was no voice of dissent. Everyone just felt it was the right thing to do. That probably wouldn’t have happened in many other classes.

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Reflection: Other Related Research
getting to know the community at west campus family housing
By Hannah Vainstein (05/06/09 11:27:23)
Related animal: Whale

Between my house and where I park my car (a good ten minute walk between the two) is a little ravine with a grass hillock and wooded area. When ever I walk along the path I see a multitude of birds and sometimes rodents and animals such as raccoons and skunks. These little walks made me curious about the other animals that live in very close proximity to my house. I was raised on seven acres near the Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy. Here on a daily bases I would see hawks, ground squirrels, rabbits, wood peckers, vultures, lizards, and many more other animals. About the time I started this class I started to do a series of drawing where I would combine the images of the animals that lived where I grew up with pictures of my friends. This combination was a melding of communities that I have been apart of. I started to become curious about the animals that are apart of my community here in Goleta. I know that many of the animals are the same species but I have not build a relationship to any specific animal around my apartment. I know one major reason for this is that I don’t encounter them as freely here because there are many more cars and people living in close proximity to each other. Therefore I set myself the task of taking short walks around the apartment complex to become familiar with the animals that are apart of my community here.

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Reflection: History/Philosophy - Relationship Human/Non-Human
By Michelle Safley (05/08/10 16:02:14)
Related animal: Grizzly Bear

There appear to be two main views towards grizzly bears. The first, that they are misunderstood creatures that simply require we humans to learn the right way to interact with them. The second, that grizzly bears are wild and dangerous and to attempt to befriend them is just asking for trouble. These opposing views are expressed in "Walking with Giants: The Grizzlies of Siberia" and "Grizzly Man", respectively. Charlie Russell's response to Timothy's death also brings up the two views. "Walking with Giants" shows people content near grizzles, and that the bears are content to leave them alone. There is not much of anything in the film to imply that Grizzlies are dangerous and capable of killing and eating humans. "Grizzly Man" starts out by showing Timothy Treadwell interacting with Grizzlies and he appears to have a handle on all of his interactions. Of course, by the end of the film he is no longer living and the real message is that Grizzlies are not as easy to control and understand as Timothy believed them to be. Russell's text mentions views of those people living in Alaska who would have thought Timothy to be crazy, but he also is impressed by how long Timothy was able to last without incident.

Grizzly Man (Movie) [Write Comment]
Reflection: Animal Communication
By Hilary Elizabeth MacDonald (05/11/10 19:24:31)
Related animal: Bear

Grizzly Man:

After seeing the Grizzly Man documentary I had a lot of mixed feelings. I believe that Timothy Treadwell was really passionate about what the did and truly felt a connection to these bears. However I do feel as if he was a bit psychotic and was missing some sort of human connection. He was too involved with becoming a bear then living in peace with the bears. His mood swings seemed unhealthy and his addiction to what he did is no different than any other addiction. Timothy did mention an alcohol addiction earlier in his films. I believe that animals do need help in this day and age, but I think this help should come in the form of helping animals without too much contact if any at all. Its more of an awareness issue. Changing the bears wont do anything you have to change the people that are affecting the bears. The fewer animals that are humanized the easier it will be for them to be protected. To Timothy he was a bear and to the bears he was just a different animal that was trying to interact with them whether the they wanted him there or not.

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Grizzly Bears
By Matthew Roy Reeves (05/06/10 23:28:43)
Related animal: Grizzly Bear

Charlie Russell and Maureen Enns led a documentary protesting the cruelty to Grizzly Bears in Russia. Their message was backed by PBS, and it was well-received, exactly as they intended. Timothy Tredwell was controversial on both fronts, from the human viewers of his message, as well as the Grizzlies that shared his space.
Russell responded to the death of Tredwell with an "I told you so" attitude. He insisted that anybody living among Grizzlies must possess pepper spray and an electrical fence, to clearly mark a boundary between themselves and the bears. With no boundary, Tredwell became a feature of the environment, a creature low on the food chain.
What is more admirable? To live around bears with safety precautions, in attempts to protect them (while protecting oneself); or to live with bears, like a neighbor?
Tredwell was admirable in what he did, to a subjective degree. Russell and Enns more effectively shared their purpose of protecting the bears by first protecting themselves.

Grizzly Man (Movie) [Write Comment]
Grizzly Film and Article Reflections
By Kirsten Howard (05/19/10 11:30:46)
Related animal: Grizzly Bear

I found both of the Grizzly Bear movies very interesting and thought provoking. There are many extremes exhibited in each film and I am left somewhere in the gray area, not fully supportive of any one side. I think that the couple in the film “Walking with Giants: The Grizzlies of Siberia,” were closer to bringing people to a positive understanding of bears than Timothy Treadwell was. They seemed to have the right balance of interest and reservation. It appeared that they wanted to learn more about the bears and help people to understand bears in a new light. It is a controversial topic however, in regard to how much socialization with humans should bears have? Too much positive interaction, and they will become easy targets for people who want to shoot them. I think that it is more important for bear enthusiasts to get out into schools and teach children from a young age, and even adults, about bears, so that future generations don’t have people shooting them. I think that would be much more effective than solely spending time with bears and making a documentary.

The documentary about Timothy Treadwell was very depressing for me. It seemed like Herzog was more interested in making a film that portrayed a troubled man, and the troubled people in Treadwell’s life, rather than making a film that demonstrated what Timothy had wanted it to portray. Treadwell had been filming hundreds of hours, wanting to make a documentary that showed people how bears can coexist with man. Herzog, however, took Treadwell’s hard work, and then showed pieces of film that were very private, and made a documentary that shed mockery on a man who was obviously not emotionally or psychologically stable. It is clear that many parts of his tapes were not meant to be seen, and Charlie Russell even mentions in his article, “He would send me edited copies of some of his tapes, with explicit instructions not to let anyone else see them.” I think that Herzog really did a horrible thing.

However, if Treadwell had lived and wanted to make a film about the bears and how they can be lived with, he shouldn’t have gone on an on about how dangerous they are and how he is the only person who could ever survive around them...that defeats the purpose.

Grizzly Man (Movie) [Write Comment]
Reflection: Other Related Research
Grizzly man
By Lillian Shanahan (05/21/10 13:19:39)
Related animal: Grizzly Bear

I enjoyed watching both films- Charlie seems to be more educated about the brown bear- more conscious of the bears capabilities, taking precautions against possible outcomes from his interactions with the bears. I don't think his response to Timothy's death was negative at all (like his Russian friend said) I think that he stated very clear and reasonable points. I like the point he made about tim always saying that he was doing something dangerous- I think he is right in assuming that Tim believed he was going to survive . Along with his countless "re-takes" tells me that tim definitely thought he was going to be able to show them to others.

I loved the grizzle man movie. mainly because of Werner's take on the situation, he makes it very comical- But i didn't find that I was sucked into this view point I also felt for Timothy. Tim had clearly found something he loved ( I don't think he was out there to protect the bears but to help himself escape) I don't think he hurt anyone by being out there and I think people need to chill out.

Charlie points out that Tim's ex girlfriend handed all the tapes over to werner. Which is also hilarious- something I got a feeling of while watching his film. I think werner does an excellent job of saying - tim might have been a little werid but look at all these other people who are still alive - who are probably even more werid or in the ex-girlfriends case camera hungry.

I find it amazing that the Alaskans were happy to hear of his death. I think that much of what timothy did was for himself rather than for then bears. But if he wasn't harming the Alaskans I see no reason why they would be upset.

The argument that the bears should be scared of humans and that timothy was messing up this order of communication, is kind of ridiculous. Charlie lives near bears and has healthy communications with them. I think if people were more in touch with the natural order of things they would not be so afraid.

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Grizzly Man and such...
By Andrea Chase (05/06/10 16:42:14)
Related animal: Bear

The movies both proved to be very interesting in both their exposure of human's interactions and the interactions of the wild animals around them. The main issue that I can't seem to get out of my mind, between the readings and the movies, is the affect our human interactions have on the animals around us. Are our interactions helpful or harmful? Are they harmful when they are intended to be helpful? There is a certain catch 22 that runs in circles around the mentality toward inter-species interactions. Our individual interactions whether well intended or not shape the reactions on other species for their lifetimes. Therefore since as an individual we can not represent humanity as a whole, especially since the actions of other humans cannot match one another completely, it becomes problematic that animals form any impression about human nature. As sad as it is to say its better wild animals are afraid and avoid humans than to trust and be taken advantage of or killed for frivolous reasons. Obviously this is a subject that needs to be further discussed and thought about through a lens other than that of human intention and social as well as traditional construction.

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Reflection: Other Related Research
Grizzly Thoughts
By Heather Sielke (05/11/10 20:03:41)
Related animal: Grizzly Bear

When we watched the "Walking with Giants" movie I was conflicted about their reason to go to Siberia. I would have rathered that those bears would have lived with no human interaction. I was sad to here that the gull bladders were being taken for asian "medical" reasons just like the seahorses are being taken from the wild for. I do like that they unlike Grizzly Man would not make sudden moments because I thought he was quite crazy for jumping at the bears when they got too close. To me grizzly man should not have stayed longer because those bears were supposed to be hibernating and instead were trying to get their last food that they can.

Grizzly Man (Movie) [Write Comment]
grizzlys and men
By Jennifer Lee Lin (06/07/10 09:48:33)
Related animal: Grizzly Bear

We watched two movies dealing with grizzlies and how people try to interact with them. the first (the title which i forgot) was two scientists in a very remote part of Russia who worked with bears at a very sensitive distance. What i liked about their interactions is that while the scientists obviously wished to be close with them and have a deep understanding with the bears, they respected the bear's distance and tried not to interfere and invade their lives.

I found their interactions with the 3 cubs very extraordinary and worthy of great respect. they found ways to teach the orphans survival skills without having too much possible negative human influence, and the cubs learned so much on their own. I liked that while the cubs were very independent, they still formed a kind of relationship with the scientists. there was a good kind of balance that i think timothy treadwell lacked.

I like timonthy treadwell all the same. Although i think he went to far in trying to touch and interact with the bears, i think he had the best intentions. I think the director portrayed him in a very strange and somewhat critical light. Though timothy was not a normal person (especially being alone for so long in such a remote place) and he did not behave in the best way, there is a reason why he was able to be so close to the bears as well as other animals. This movie is not a movie i like to dwell much on.

Grizzly Man (Movie) [Write Comment]

Comment by jenleelin (06/07/10 09:53:36):
note: the first film was "Walking with Giants: The Grizzlies of Siberia"
Grozzly Man
By Jeffrey Jacobs (05/13/10 12:20:29)
Related animal: Grizzly Bear

Something about the movie Grizzly Man does not sit right with me. I feel as though the director completely exploited Timothy Treadwell to make some money. If Tim had survived to make a movie about the subject himself, there is no way that he would have included the footage in which he used the camera as a diary. He had no one to talk to when he was in the wild and therefore began talking to the camera and sharing with it all of his thoughts and feelings. The director of the movie edited the footage in such a way as to make it comical. One cannot help but laugh as they see Tim. It is hard for me to believe that the director feels no shame in this complete exploitation to make himself some money. He took a tragic situation and made a comedy out of it. It completely undermines everything that Tim was trying to accomplish by living with these bears. It is also hard for me to believe that Tim didn't realize while he was alive that if he were to die in the field it would be a major step backward for his cause of allowing people to see that these bears mean people no harm. The movie ends up portraying the exact opposite message, that bears are dangerous and will kill humans for food. Timothy Treadwell seems to have had a pretty righteous idea to spread knowledge about the thing he loved the most, though he didn't really think it trough all the way. He does not deserve to be made a mockery of in his death so that some filmmaker can get his hands on some more money. Profits profits profits, who cares whose life work you are spitting on.

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
By Sarina Martinez (06/09/10 13:22:57)
Related animal: Dog

When I look back on this quarter I've realized that Hallow has made a great deal of improvement. Day to day the improvement is hard to see but when I think about her 3 months ago and about her now there are drastic differences.

Aside from the several day spell of rebellion she raged against me her behavior and improved. She is very obedient now and listens all the time, not just when she fells like it. She's come to understand the give/take relationship and us working together. She now knows that if she listens and behaves she will receive what she wants. If I follow through with what she expects to get she will continue to listen. It has definitely become more of a collaborative relationship, working together to create a more harmonious life.

3 months ago when people asked me about my dog I simply said she's more like a cat. She sleeps a lot, doesn't really like to play. But now I can say my dog is a dog, and a pretty funny one at that. She has developed her own personality and is now doing "dog" things.

I believe that if it wasn't for this class her progress may have taken much longer or maybe not have happened at all. This class made me think of animals as equals and not as entertainment for me. This change in perception has allowed me to rethink my interaction with my dog as well as other animals.

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Ham it up Hammies
By Andrea Chase (04/29/10 14:31:40)
Related animal: Pig

Upon visiting the Lil Orphan Hammies last week I was exposed to an entirely new realism concerning pigs which dispelled all previous stereotypes I had formed around depictions of pigs in my childhood like Babe. Although at first surprised by the reality of a pig's life, as the pig's personalities and stories emerged -through both one on one interactions and conversations with their caregiver- I grew to understand their lifestyle a little bit more. The only remaining sadness I felt was in the condition the pigs were living in. Although a great property suited for the situation, the caregiver seemed to be pushed to the limit disregarding her own health to that of the many pigs she is now responsible for.

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Horse Racetrack
By Andrew (06/10/13 19:30:01)
Related animal: Horse

Interspecies Collaboration Week 1

The other day I went to a horse racetrack called Hollywood Park. When I was little, I went to one at least once per week. My dad used to be a professional jockey so my mom, brother, and I would always go watch his races after school. Then, win or lose, he would take us all out to a nice dinner. I know many people don’t approve of how horses are treated with horseracing, but I honestly think it’s kind of magical the way a jockey and horse interact with each other when they’re going 65 mph with other horses just inches away going the same speed. Since my dad was a jockey I always got to go in the paddock before races to greet all the horses with a carrot or a pet on the nose. Surprisingly, I was never scared of these giant animals. I felt like when I walked up to a horse and made my presence known by whistling or saying the horse’s name the horse would look at me and we would make an agreement to be cool with one another. Out of my immediate family, I probably rode horses the least but that does not mean I didn’t interact with them less. I always enjoyed walking them and feeding them tons of carrots. One memorable moment I had with a horse was at the Hollywood racetrack and my most current visit reminded me of it. When I was about six I went to watch one of my dads races. Before the race I was petting one of the horses who was tied to a fence with no one around. It looked so uncomfortable but when I tried to pet its nose it stepped away. I became frustrated with the horse so I just sat next to him. After a few minutes of playing in the dirt the horse turned to me and stuck it’s nose in my face. I waved the horse to come close and instead of coming to stand next to me, the horse walked over and laid down right next to me with it’s next nearest me. The horses name was biscuit and he was just a two year old wanting some attention. I sat there petting the horse for a long time until my mom walked over to the stables and saw me sitting with Biscuit. She then came over and made me get up to leave and the horse stood up right when I did like he wanted to come with me. I’ll never forget that horses reaction. It was so humanlike and sad. Biscuit seemed like he just wanted a friend no matter what species it was. I think horses are the most majestic animals on the planet. Horses have always been my family’s choice of favorite animal. My mom used to play polo back in England when she was younger and my brother took riding lessons for many years. We even had a pet horse named Nemo for a few years. He became too dangerous for my brother and I to ride so my parents sold him to a mayor of some small town in Calgary where he was able to quit his racing days and be lazy eating grass and run around in open fields.

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Reflection: Speciesism and Animal Rights
How To Train Your Dragon
By Fey Cha (06/09/10 20:37:59)
Related animal: Dragon

I recently watched the DreamWorks film How to Train Your Dragon. Spoiler alert! I was su rprised at how much the moral of the story related to many of the subjects we have talked about in class. It stars a teenager of a Viking tribe that is constantly having problems with the local dragons. The main character feels like an outcast because nobody in the village thinks he has what it takes to be a dragon hunter. The fact that he’s a klutz doesn’t help with his situation. He eventually discovers an injured dragon in a nearby forest and instead of killing it he decides to help it out. The dragon befriends him and he gains the dragon’s trust. Through tending to the dragon’s needs the main character eventually learns how dragons really are. He discovers very useful information about the dragons. By using this newly found knowledge he uses bravery and brains up against the dragons instead of brute strength and big weapons.
The movie’s overall message tells us that we can learn so much from simply creating a relationship with another species. It is true that we have gotten to the point where we simply accept everything that scientists have told us about animals. We are so filled with assumptions that we think we actually know these animals are a certain way. But just like people, animals are all different. They each have different personalities and a sense of life. If we took the time to try and understand a species we could learn something new about them that could be completely different from what the scientists have discovered. This could lead to us not being so pretentious and lead us to becoming more open-minded therefore allowing us to become closer to the other species and learn how to live on this world with them.

[Write Comment]
Huckleberry and Cowboy
By Andrew (06/10/13 19:35:04)
Interspecies Collaboration Week 6

For this assignment I want to talk about my relationship with two specific animals; Huckleberry the Black Bear and Cowboy the Great Horned Owl. Cowboy is my mom’s favorite animal at the animal park. Cowboy came to the Moonridge animal park with a severely broken wing, which was so bad that it had to be amputated. He then became a permanent resident at the park because of his inability to fly out in the wild. My mom interacts with him at least an hour per day whether it’s taking him on her rounds around the park to see the other animals or to feed him in his enclosure while trying to talk to him. When I first met Cowboy, I was shocked by how big and scary he looked. Even with one wing I felt he was going to fly and bite my nose off. I spent an entire summer in Big Bear and visited Cowboy nearly every day he was there. I even got the chance to feed him and was soon not scared at all, but fascinated by him. I wondered how he felt with his situation. He was a bird without the main physical aspects about birds. I then started going to the zoo to draw portraits of Cowboy. Him with one wing stretched out. I soon adapted these drawings into a drawing of a tattoo. It shows the mixture of my Mexican heritage with the frighteningly beautiful first interaction I had with him. The tattoo is how I felt at first and the action of me getting it put on my body shows the love I grew for this animal over a short time.

Huckleberry was hit by a car when he was just a cub and his injuries were so bad that he had to get his leg amputated. Over time he has adapted to being a three legged animal and appears to be happy where he is although I’m sure he would love to be out in the wild running around with other bears on all fours. Here is a video of Huckleberry on his own three legs.
Huckleberry the Three Legged Bear:

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Reflection: Animal Communication
Idea for a collaboration
By Jorden Hirsch (04/07/10 09:58:44)
Related animal: Frog

After attending the first classes I was not sure what animal I really wanted to work with. I have cats at home in Santa Barbara, who are great, but I didn't feel like I could make an interesting project using the fur balls. Then one day I went to my dad's house up Mission Canyon and after staying for a couple hours into the night I realized the animals I wanted to collaborate with! Outside of his house, in the front yard, are a couple great little ponds and with the spring have come many frogs! I'm hoping to work with them through recording and interactions to make a great project. We'll see how it goes!

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Reflection: Other Related Research
In Flight at Night
By Cori Arnold (05/13/09 09:52:29)
Related animal: Unidentified Bird

Last night I decided to spend sometime in my backyard and take advantage of my new heater. When I walked out the backdoor I heard an odd sound that sounded similar to the howling of the wind coming through a crack in a door. I thought it was a little critter hanging out in the yard, since they often do this. I slowly peeked around the corner to where the backyard is located and could not see anything visible; no small or large animals. The fences in my yard are covered with Ivy and Morning Glories so I began to wonder if maybe what I was hearing were rats traveling throughout it. I thought this would be slightly odd, considering I have never before found rats living in the Ivy and I have been living here for almost four years. I began to rethink the sound and wondered if maybe it was a bat, so I began looking up into the sky anytime the noise grew closer. In the far distant, night sky I finally made out what looked like a few bats, or so I thought, cruising around above where I was sitting. I became concerned that the bats might start to swoop down at me while I was sitting outside, so I decided to keep looking up and watching them, when all of the sudden a giant bird crossed extremely close overhead. I quickly realized that I was completely wrong about the bats and that there was something larger cruising above where I was seated. I was only able to get two good looks at the bird. I could make out that it had a giant wingspan with white and black underneath its wings and that it also was making the sound I initially mentioned. I have absolutely no idea what type of bird this was flying above my house last night, but desperately want to find out! I have already ruled out the idea of it being an owl, because I know what they look like from underneath and also can recognize the sounds they make. I obviously know it was too large to be a bat, so now I am slightly stumped as to what it could have been.

Here is what I do know:

It had a large wingspan.
Must be nocturnal.
Under it's wings were white and black.
Makes a howling wind through a crack sound.

If anyone has any thoughts about this, please let me know! Or if you can think of any great websites, where I could possibly listen to different bird sounds that would be awesome, I am very open to any ideas and would LOVE to determine what it was that I saw, since it was quite an amazing moment!

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Animal Communication
In Response to Animal Communicator Barbara Janell
By Danielle Terhune (04/22/10 11:20:10)
Related animals: Mosquito Eater, Tree

The weekend after the workshop with animal communicator Barbara Janell was very interesting. It started off on Friday night with my friends and I playing Jungle Juice Pong. The back sliding door was open and a Mosquito Eater decided to fly in and observe or game. My friend Joel was about to kill it when I screamed “No!” I then asked my friend to let me try to communicate with it and ask it to leave. They were stunned, because the game had only started and i hadn’t even had anything to drink yet. I then talked to them about Barbara Janell, and explained our exercises of trying to get into an animal’s head. So after awhile of concentrating on the insect it flew away, unharmed by my friends. They laughed and called it coincidence.
I later related my story about the tree communication, which interested me the most among all the things we went through in the workshop. They laughed and so did I, but I told them I did honestly believe I had some form of exchange with the tree. I told them that they can cure migraines and such and make you feel all tingly. They were interested, but unbelieving. It wasn’t until Sunday that my friend Joel told me he tried communicating with a tree. He said he didn’t get anything from it. I was amazed that he even tried on his own time. He’s not the type of person to believe in this sort of thing. I realized then that there must be some deep connection that has gotten severed between humans and nature, that even someone who can go from wanting to kill a bug because its annoying to trying out talking to a tree, is striving for some deeper connection to nature. I still find myself feeling the need to touch the tree I communicated with as I pass by it, and to even glance towards it when I see it from the bike path and mentally say “hi.” Yes, I feel it is still quite strange and unusual to be talking to a tree or looking at it like a living being with feelings and yes, even having some healing powers, but I suppose that’s what this class is all about, stepping outside of the social norms of ‘human vs nature’ and applying it to the concept of ‘human & nature.’

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Interspecies Communication
In Response to Charlie Russell's response to the death of Timothy Treadwell
By Danielle Terhune (05/10/10 17:35:37)
Related animal: Bear

“I had asked (Timothy) the question – “why would you not take the precautions that we both knew would work?” He angrily told me that he was essentially a trespasser in their territory and therefore he did not want to hurt them in any way. In answer to this I confronted him with the possibility that his death could undo everything that he and others were trying to change in people’s attitude towards bears.”
When I watched Herzog’s “Grizzly Man” I felt much the same way. Why would Treadwell go to all the trouble and put years of his life into showing the world the “humane” side of Grizzlies, when if one killed him, would make make all of his work for nothing. It is a sad thing that Treadwell died the way that he did, but I really can’t imagine him dying any other way. It is a sad thing, but understandable. I think Russell has every right to use pepper spray and electric fences, because it keeps not only himself safe but also the validity of his research safe. People use pepper spray on other people for protection. There is nothing wrong with essentially harmless protection as a deterrent against unwanted engagements.

“If Timothy had spent those thirteen years killing bears and guiding others to do the same, eventually being killed by one, he would have been remembered in Alaska with great admiration. That story would have meant nothing to Herzog because there would have been no lines crossed what-so-ever.”
I think that Russell brings up another valid point, it is amazing that Timothy lasted as long as he did unharmed and that if he had been on the opposite side of the spectrum killing bears instead of loving on them, he would have essentially remained nameless and uninteresting to the general public. Herzog does make Treadwell seem crazy, and my own personal view of Treadwell being uneducated in the field and therefore unqualified to work with bears at such a close proximity leads me to feel really no pity on his death. He could have taken precautions, but didn’t. His aspirations got much too big for his abilities and when his end came his story was prime for the taking by Herzog. I do not like how Herzog made a mockery of everyone he interviewed and the way in which he constantly portrayed Treadwell as a nut case, but I feel Treadwell and his associates did make it all to easy for Herzog to take advantage of everything Treadwell stood for.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Animal Play Behavior
In Response to Dolphin Mysteries by Toni Frohoff and Kathleen M. Dudzinski
By Danielle Terhune (05/13/10 11:37:43)
Related animals: Dolphin, Whale

"We need to communicate our findings about dolphins to instill better manners in humans when interacting around dolphins. This includes learning how to avoid communication." (149). I had no idea that dolphins in the wild were so interactive with humans. I just assumed shows like Flipper was another one of Hollywood's exaggerations. But as research shows, dating all the way back to ancient times dolphins and humans have always interacted with each other, and usually on a positive level. The negative level is the communication with these amazing creatures. I like how Toni emphasized this point, because I'm not sure if I would have thought of it. This quarter I have learned to look at animals as individuals outside of their species. It has turned my viewing of animals upside down. People have different personalities, so it only makes sense that dolphins, who are so similar to us would have individual personalities. I like how Toni emphasizes this point with the examples of the dolphins and whales becoming a part of the community that they resided near by hanging our more with people then the dolphins. This in turn made people of the community more aware of their ocean environments and care about the local ocean life. The idea of dolphins as ambassadors is a wonderful thing, and I believe that whether we have chosen to observe this or not, it has definitely been that way throughout history.

Two Questions

In the book it is mentioned that "Relatively few people (compared tot he total human population) will have the opportunity to visit dolphins in the wild; therefore, captive dolphins, when well cared for in an enriched environment, can act as ambassadors for their wild counterparts."

Question 1. So does this mean that dolphins can enjoy and live a rich life in captivity, especially when they're put on display for strangers everyday?

Question 2. Given the fact that "lone" whales and dolphins exist and prefer the company of people over their own kind, do you think that these dolphins would be prime candidates for ambassadors in captivity?

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Interspecies Communication
In Response to the film "Grizzly Man"
By Danielle Terhune (05/10/10 17:32:17)
Related animal: Bear

After watching this film I have come to the conclusion that Timothy Treadwell was irresponsible, self-destructive, and delusional. I am aware that the director of the documentary, Werner Herzog, made everyone in the film seem dimwitted and awkward through his interviews and filming techniques, yet I base my conclusion on Treadwell and his states of delusions strictly from his videos and personal claims surrounding the bears and his goals. My first problem with Treadwell is that he not only blurred the boundaries between man and wild beast, but completely crossed them. He gave himself and those around him a false sense of security based on the fact that he lasted for so many summers with the grizzlies. There is a sense of awe and wonder how a man could live among the wild for so long, but I feel he definitely lost himself in the animal world. He mind became twisted and confused. His obsession was very unhealthy in the mental capacity. Because of his stupidity and false sense of security he died, his girlfriend died and a bear died. Herzog definitely played excepts from over hundreds of hours or more of film that portrayed Treadwell as an unbalanced man who lost his way and direction. He showed clips that would make even the most adamant lovers of animals and animal research question the validity of Treadwell. These clips may have been detrimental to the popular view of Treadwell, but I feel it is important to show his true character as well, to deter other enthusiasts from repeating his same mistakes. I think that Treadwell, like Charlie Russell did originally set out to do good, but in the mix of it all Treadwell lost his way and more importantly his mind. This film did not make me believe bears to be heartless and mindless as Herzog concluded on, but I do believe this documentary was a warning to respect Grizzlies and their wild habitat.

[Write Comment]
In Response to the film "Walking with Giants: The Grizzlies of Siberia"
By Danielle Terhune (05/10/10 17:33:25)
Related animal: Bear

I never like to see people working with wild animals directly, but I believe that the restrictions that Charlie Russell and his collaborator (wife?) placed on themselves when interacting and studying the bears were closer to a scientific research perspective and less of a personal enrichment. I think that if they had not come across the three bear cubs in need I would have been more opposed to their interaction. I am still on the fence as to whether I would promote further engagement with other people in this type of field of study. I am more approving of a “Planet Earth” type of study where the researchers and wild life enthusiasts camouflage themselves from the animals and limit time of observation as to not disturb their natural habitat. Russell’s argument was that the research was to help people understand that bears aren’t mindless monsters, but can be thoughtful and graceful and curious and not too dangerous to humans who respect boundaries. His goal was to also show the bears that they have no need to fear humans. I disagree with these goals. I believe that bears need to have a healthy respectful fear of humans and humans still need to have a healthy fear of bears. This will keep both safer. I think breaking down the boundaries of fear will lead to more loss of life on both ends then less.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Animal Play Behavior
Insects Galore
By Sara Selmic (05/13/13 12:22:40)
My first interactions mostly consisted of encounters with small bugs and insects. I was talking to a friend when he saw a spider crawl from out my pant leg and onto the floor. I didn't believe him, but there was a spider on the floor. I didn't feel anything in my pants, he, the spider, must have been still and using me for transportation. I sat with him on the floor and the spider sat with me too. I really enjoyed spending time with this spider.
My other encounter with an insect was with this bug at a park. I'm not sure what sort of bug this is, but I have provided a picture of it below. There was actually two. I ended up seeing this guys because I walked up to a plaque to read it. One of the bugs kept encircling the rim on the plaque which was embedded into a stone, and the other one would sometimes chase it, but then leave it to keep going round and round. It was pretty entertaining to watch this silly couple.
I don't know how much interaction these small animals want with humans. They seem to be frightened of us, but the spider wasn't frightened of me. That might have something to do with the fact that I never kill them when I find them indoors. I usually take them outside since I've found they don't really mind this. I'm really curious to know what sort of bugs the other two were. They look like roly polies but they have some color on them. Maybe I will go back and see if these bugs are still hanging out on that plaque.

[Write Comment]
inside a dog and a bee
By Luis Alberto Velazquez (05/14/14 16:23:31)
Related animal: Dog

Today I tried Barbara’s technique of getting into an animal’s body for a few minutes. This time it was my boss's dog Mulligan. He is a 7 year old teacup poodle living with two older people in their 80’s.
This experience was very stressing and a bit frustrating for me since Mulligan’s life mostly evolves of sleeping over a pillow next to his guardian inside the house. It was very hard to focus and be present at that moment not taking in consideration his usual life style. I felt tired and frustrated of staring at the tv playing fox news all the time, but of course that was me being able to understand what was in tv. I also started feeling hot considering his long fluffy hair and the hot weather. I decided to go outside and try again with a different animal or insect.
I tried with a bee out at the garden at the lemon tree, this experience was a very different feeling since I felt a sense of freedom, it was very interesting to see the pistols of flowers up close as the bee flew from flower to flower. The fragrances of flowers became more intense and the small shapes of leaves and flowers became more appealing and seemed bigger.

I really enjoyed having Barbara in our class. I feel like it has influenced me on reminding myself to be more present wherever I might be.

[Write Comment]
Interacting with my Dog
By Andrea Chase (04/18/10 20:38:33)
Related animal: Dog

After attending the workshop last Thursday with Barbara Janelle I choose to further work with my dog, Ziggy. I worked with him over the weekend in order to try to identify and relate to his favorite activities like: gopher hunting and running at the beach. By enjoying these activities with him all weekend I hoped to further our connection by offering up a weekend devoted to his likes.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Non-Human Animal Perception and Cognition
Interacting with my dog
By Sara Putman (04/20/10 16:33:09)
Related animal: Australian Shepherd

After Barbara Janelle's exercises on Thursday, I felt more calm and relaxed. I understood what she was saying about becoming more in-tuned with nature and connecting with animals, yet I hadn't fully realized how to communicate with them at the time. However, while I was up north with my dog Rissa, I wanted to make myself more aware of her and her feelings, so I put myself in her position.
Instead of yelling for her to "come" when she was running too far ahead, I let her be free of my will and assertions, while still attempting to connect with her mentally. She eventually came back to me after she was finished running along the beach with the other dogs. I could tell that Rissa wanted to run free, yet had still understood that I wanted her to eventually return. By becoming more aware of what she wanted, I felt more at ease and I could tell that Rissa appreciated it as well. In the end, I feel closer to my dog and can appreciate the things that she wants, as well as making it easier to let her know what I want.
On a side note, if I was looking at her a certain way (like I wanted her to come to me), she would understand and come without my having to say anything, as if we were communicating on a telepathic level.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Interest in Interspecies Collaborations
By Hector Medina (04/08/13 01:44:16)
Related animal: Dog

I am interested in the Interspecies Collaborate class because it involves two of some of my favorite things; art and animals. I have taken some art classes here at UCSB and fell deeply in love with doing art. I love how I lose myself in my work and the amazing feeling I get when people adore my pieces. I am so glad that I have found something I have a passion for it and that I am getting a degree for it. Animals have always been part of my life and now this class might enable me to include animals in my art. One special animal that will always have a place in my heart is, Pirate, my American Pitbull Terrier mix dog. We named him that because he had a large brown spot on one of his eye as if he had a patch like a pirate. He was a gift when I was really small and we grew up together until he was 13 years. He was a very smart and fun dog. He was very kind and sweet, great at warning and protection, and was always a great goal keeper. It was fun growing up with a buddy that was always there when I needed him. Luckily he was able to have puppies before he left us. Out of his litter we kept Duke, the leader of the pack. He was a very smart dog, very curious, always getting into trouble. We decided to find him a partner, some one that would keep him distracted from his mischievous adventures. She was named Yeska because that’s how my brother could pronounce “Jessica.” We had those two goofballs for a couple years until Duke unfortunately got into an accident and had to be put down. Luckily we still have Yeska and she is so adorable. I love how I come home sometimes from college and she is always there waiting for me at the door. Just thinking of how happy she gets when she sees me puts a smile on my face. She begins by barking and making a fuss, then runs to me and smells me. She then jumps up and begins to cry. I have to pet her for a couple minutes until she is suffice and calms down. If I am able to include them or the feelings they make me feel into my art that would be fantastic. I hope the class can help me incorporate these animals and other animals I will encounter in the future.

[Write Comment]
Interrogating Methods Event and its Effect on my Views of Art and Science
By Rachel Fleming (04/19/14 18:27:39)
After attending the last few hours of the Interrogating methodologies event, I’m restructuring the way I view art and science in relation to one another. The discussions held either drastically refigured, or caused the creation of a new scaffold for, my ideas about the artistic and scientific process. I am going to summarize my thoughts and questions concerning what I saw at the event. Perhaps my interpretation of the discussion was not correct, but the following is what I gathered.

I’m still figuring out what I think about the artistic process vs. the scientific process. Does the artistic process focus on the aesthetics of the product, as was suggested at one point? Or, does it involve the process, like science?

It seems that, like Jill Scott said, artists fall on a spectrum ranging from interpretive art to illustrative art. For illustrative art it makes sense that the product is usually the main focus. But isn't interpretive art or performing art about the process (and is the process referring to the process of setting up the performance, or the performance itself?)? Even with illustrative art, it seems as though sometimes artists create images for the experience and not for the product. This is what I do sometimes. I paint or draw as a way to relieve stress. Anyway, isn't science also about the product, especially in industry where there are deadlines for products?

It seems to me as though there is no way to categorize art and science based on process vs. product. They both concern each aspect.

Overall, I think that more work needs to be done to fully explain each of the two methodologies individually. What are the goals? What steps are taken? What obstacles does each method encounter? Are there even any notable differences? Perhaps art and science are more similar than we think. Maybe they use the same process and have similar goals. Then again, perhaps there are levels on which they are incompatible, despite the fact that this may make us feel uncomfortable or discouraged. Perhaps they are completely separate but can work together toward common goals, or even toward differing goals.

This has affected my view of arts in relation to science since it has raised many new questions in my mind and has me considering new possibilities and/or limitations for their combination. I'm unsure of how to connect the two at the moment seeing as they both have more complicated goals and methods than I thought.

What will I find out by combining art and life this quarter?

[Write Comment]

Comment by LisaJ (04/26/14 15:00:50):
I don't believe that art is about the aesthetics of a product (even though that is often a component of art), but rather of the aesthetics of methods and process. However, I am not sure if you were there for the panel I introduced, but my point in the introduction was that art should not be defined in relation to aesthetics but rather as "an endeavor in which a set of methods are concurrently and continuously being developed, employed and investigated"

Reflection: Art Made for Non-Human Animals
Interspecies Collaboration Show
By Andrea Chase (06/07/10 00:13:21)
Related animals: Dog, Hermit Crab

Well I think its safe to say that our show was a complete success. I was so impressed by the enthusiasm and creativity of my peers! Thanks to all who made it happen. I particularly enjoyed Jeff's painting in the Dolphin Room; I thought it came together to be quite an aesthetically interesting piece. I also appreciated the live track-sand-painting from Hermes , Matt's hermit-crab. Jordan's interactive fish bowl proved to be quite fun and intriguing as well, I'm glad one of us forced the rest of the class into another animal's shoes. Afterall, that is one of the main purposes of this class- to put ourselves in another species' shoes and gain a universalistic attitude toward valuing another's life both within and outside our species.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
Interspecies Collaboration: A Reflection
By Erik Shalat (05/28/13 01:32:53)
I am currently working on both my final project and a poster for our classes upcoming exhibition and reflecting on how this class has changed my outlook on animals, if at all. I’m thinking about it as I am writing this you are about to witness an idea literally formed before your very eyes.

When I first entered the class my experience with animals had been relegated almost entirely to my dog and bird at home. Those are fairly standard animals being common house pets. I didn’t expect to be do anything with animals that didn’t happen at a distance, probably with a sketch pad. Oddly enough I have done almost no drawing for Interspecies Collaboration, though that could be because i’m also drawing for Animal Drawing class and i’m tired of it.

Seeing animals like horses and cows and pigs has always seemed like an intangible concept to me, like those animals only exist on television. Going up close to those animals changed something in me. I’ve been much more comfortable in animals of all kinds, I think. I am definitely more attentive to them. I listen to bird songs that used to be background noise. I have gone down to the park near my house to feed and pet horses with my girlfriend. I would have ignored those horses a few months ago, they have always just been “there”, in that place out of sight and mind.

I think the pigs in particular were just so radically different from what I expected that it really changed my perception. It was easy to lump animal traits together into similar ways, like all four-legged mammals just had generic “fur” and just wanted food. But even these pigs seemed to enjoy attention from people, and they had stiff bristles instead of fur.

If anything, i’ve started anthropomorphizing animals more than I did before despite the ways we’ve learned that “scientists” would prefer us not to. I found it interesting that scientists are lumped in together in much the same way animals tend to be lumped in together. “Horses”, “pigs”, “lions”; these are all categorized animals that people tend not to think of as individual creatures with autonomy.

A lot of the “art” i’ve tried working on didn’t go very far, the concept of making art with an animal is just so open ended that it was hard to ever come up with a decent project that wasn’t taken directly from someone we learned about. I ended up going with what was right in front of my nose the entire time, and compiling footage of my relationship with my bird. I guess in a way he is almost more of a co-star in my movie than just the subject. Something i’ve taken from this class is to try to be more inclusive to animals, in subtle ways so as to not take advantage of them. Obviously my bird cannot understand what a video is but thinking of him as something I have to respect rather than something I can take advantage of is just another facet of my interactions with animals now.

[Write Comment]
Interspecies Exhibition 6/6
By Brianna Acuesta (06/08/14 22:03:55)
Related animals: Cat, Dog, Goat

Overall, I thought the show looked really great and everyone seemed to be having a good time when I arrived. Mango and I only were able to be there for a short time but his reaction to the other dogs turned out to be surprisingly better than when I brought him to class, and I absolutely loved how adorable he looked paired with your daughter. Though I wish I had been able to execute the project I originally started, which was the project with the flower pots, Mango, and the octopus, the timing of everything didn't work out and I'm happy with the pictures I chose for the show. The ones that I didn't get to display, also because of poor timing, are displayed below, as well as some outtakes I didn't originally choose for the show but that I think show a little bit more of the closeness I felt with some of the animals. I truly enjoyed this class and the way it allowed me to redefine the way I incorporate animals into my art, as well as showed me a new way to become close with them. One of the critiques that really helped me see the way in which we are working with animals was when you told someone that the pictures they had taken of sea lions from afar was still objectifying them rather than collaborating with them, which is a great distinction. Thank you so much for everything, I hope I'll be seeing you in a future class!!!

Me holding a 10-day old baby goat and falling in love

This is Mango when he's being adorable at home, which is all of the time.

Curious Mango

Coconut the cat

Coconut the cat

Coconut the cat

Coconut the cat

Coconut the cat
[Write Comment]
Interspecies interaction with Santa Barbara wildlife
By Laura Santizo (05/21/13 14:34:21)
Interspecies interaction with Santa Barbara wildlife
By Laura Santizo (04/22/13 01:10:53)
Related animal: Killdeer

Being that Santa Barbara has such a rich wildlife I wanted to try and communicate with a non-domestic animal. I also wanted to do this at night because I rarely get to interact with animals during this time. I decide to take a walk out to one of the many restoration sites on the UCSB campus. While walking through the area I came across a bird that kept trying to get my attention. I found it odd that bird was awake this late. What was even more interesting was that this bird was actively trying to get my attention. Every time I took a couple steps forward it would fly out in front of me and let out a loud call. The call was high-pitched and sounded like almost like shriek. It felt as though the bird was trying to warn me and yet wanted me to follow it. This happened 2 to 3 times and then as I walked further away, the bird disappeared.

I was trying to be as relaxed and aware of myself as possible so as communicate that I didn't mean any harm. Even still I had a sense that I disturbed the bird and that it didn't appreciate visitors. It's gesture was powerful and its energy came off as defensive.

I asked one of my friends who is familiar with that area if he knew what type of bird it could have been. After telling him my story he told me it was type of plover called a killdeer. This interaction I experienced was the birds way of luring predator away from its nests. The killdeer is apparently known for this distraction-display, it "involves the bird walking away from its nesting area holding its wing in a position that simulates an injury and then flapping around on the ground emitting a distress call. The predators then think they have easy prey and are attracted to this seemingly injured bird and away from the nest. If the parent sees that a potential predator is not following them, they will move closer and get louder until they get the attention of the predator. This is repeated until the predator is far from the nest, and the killdeer suddenly "heals" and flies away."

Looking back I can't help but appreciate how sophisticated and ingenious this animal's response was. It makes me realize just how sensitive animals can be to our presence and how we must really work to understand them. In addition, how important it is to restore natural environments so that we interact with animals in their true state of being.

[Write Comment]

Comment by selmic (06/08/13 23:26:15):
This is such a cool story. Those birds are so intelligent, as are all animals. I'll never understand why people think they are so much smarter.
Reflection: Animal Communication
By Megan Mueller (04/14/14 09:46:09)
Related animal: Cat

I lost my cat in Flagstaff Arizona for three days. My boyfriend, my cat and I were making our way across the country from Washington DC to Goleta CA, where I would be starting graduate school at UCSB. We began our trip in Pittsburgh and Detroit to see family and then made our way across the mid west through Wisconsin, South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, on our way to the Grand Canyon. By the time we arrived in Flagstaff, we had been traveling for about three weeks, and I was a confident traveler. Trout, our cat, also seemed to be adjusting to the trip quite nicely. We allowed her to roam freely in the car and she enjoyed napping under the back seat. We arrived in the Flagstaff campsite around midnight and it was quite dark. I opened the doors of our van, put on a sweatshirt, closed the doors to our van and then walked to the common bathroom. When I came back to the car, I opened the doors, expecting to see the cat and did not. We opened the back doors, looked under everything, and did not see her. At this point my boyfriend and I are hopeful that she just got out of the car when we went to the bathroom but panic is escalating in our brain. We are using the flashlights on our cell phone to scan the area, rewalking the path the bathroom, opening cans of food (a sound that usually send her running from any room in the house). We are making all the kissy cat noises you can think of, calling her name. But its midnight in a packed campsite so we are fighting that politeness in your brain that tells you not to yell when people are sleeping. Do you? Don’t you?

Over the course of three days, it rained, we walked the campsite with treats and yelling her name, we read every post we could find online about how to handle a missing cat, we made missing cat flyers, we talked to the employees of the campsite. The trip to the Fedex to make lost cat posters was perhaps one of the saddest in my life. We were instructed to empty her cat litter around our campsite and that cats can smell their litter for up to four miles away. We also had opened cat food and treats by our site. We didn’t sleep much in the three days. We left opened cat food outside and it attracted skunks at night. Thinking it was Trout, we’d race to the window with hope but realize very quickly it was a potentially smelly visitor. By day three, I was fighting the urge to google year round weather predictions for that part of the country. I was resigned to stay there as long as I could afford to.

On the third night, I thought I heard something outside. I told Sam, who quietly walked up to the window. He didn’t see anything and returned to bed. I should mentioned at this point, the employees of the campsite felt so bad for us because of the lost cat and the rain, they were letting us stay in a cabin right next to the campsite. So cat litter, cat food, is on a covered porch of a little one bedroom cabin about 20 feet from our original campsite. We heard another noise, Sam got up and went to the window. At this point he said nothing and opened the door. Trout was on the porch and walked nonchalantly into the cabin. Sam shut the door. JOY! JUBILATION!

She came back. She was damp from the rain but otherwise perfectly fine. She had a bit of sap on her front arm, so I hypothesize she’d been taking cover in a tree? We’ll never know. We feed her immediately and she was quite hungry. Sam said it took everything he had not to act excited when opening the door for fear it would spook her and she’d run away. She came back! I still can’t believe it as I write this, almost eight months later. We left Flagstaff for the Grand Canyon the next day. Distracted from the previous three day saga, the Canyon was too large to comprehend. Maybe we’ll go back one day and leave Trout with a cat sitter.

[Write Comment]

Comment by LisaJ (04/26/14 14:29:11):
How fantastic! Maybe she didn't like the basic accommodation of the van, but when she realized you had been upgraded she decided to come back giving you a second chance to prove yourself worthy of her company :-)
Island trip
By Lillian Shanahan (05/21/10 13:53:55)
Related animals: Dolphin, Fox, Hump Back Whale, Seal

The trip to Santa Cruz island was awesome,

First on the boat ride over there we saw many groups of dolphins and whales and seals. I was excited because it was my first time being that close to any of these animals.

I have never been to sea world (thank god) and haven't been on many boats except for out in lake Tahoe and the San Francisco bay- where I was actually fishing.. so i don't know if that counts. One time there was a great white spotting and we had to go in early but I never saw the shark although that would have been amazing.

on the island I went out in to the bushes a lot in attempts to meet a fox. The first time the foxes came to the camp site I was on one of these excursions, which made me a little sad. But I didn't give up and on sat I went into some bushed a little far from out site and sat there drawing for 30 minutes when i heard leaves crunch behind me. I turned around and sure enough there was a little fox. It stayed at least two feet away from me the whole time, it circled me on me left side and stood there for a while before it trotted off. I tried to call it back but it didn't turn around.

later I found out that they like to take people's things, at the time I had taken my shoes off but nothing else, my bag was right in front of me so I think that was too close for him to try.

I wish there was some way i could have communicated better with the animal but in the moment really the only thing to do was to let it check me out and see if he wanted to stay and play more. This fox checked me out and then wanted to leave. That's too bad, maybe next time I will get one who will want to play

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Jim Nollan
By Laura Santizo (06/10/13 00:02:04)
Jim Nollan seems to be very in tune with animals. After reading these chapters I think his works are a true product of an interaction. He doesn't simply use the animals, he engages in meaningful relationships, were animals is just as much charge of the situation as he is. I really like his project of making music with animals. Animal sounds are so unique and varied I'm glad someone finally incorporated them.

I also really like the point he makes about learning from animals and not about them. I think science has removed us from thinking that we too are animals. The literature in science has only served to increased the divide between us and non-humans. I think we need to learn from the ways other animals live and how the interact with one another. We like to think we are the most advanced creatures but other animals have just a complex social interactions. Animals can really show us how to live more within our means and avoid greed and mass consumption.

In addition I never really considered if there should be an inter species protocol but I think Nollan is right. There must be respect on both sides in order to make work that it a true collaboration.

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Jim Nollman
By Martin C. Shaver (06/13/10 16:28:28)
I found everything that Jim Nollman to very interesting and seemingly the head of the field. During his lecture and in his text it is apparent that he has pretty extensive knowledge the collaboration with dolphins and whales, which is incredible. however, i have a qualm with what not only i picked up on during this all. his book was indeed informative and it seemed that he had a particular passion for his work, but to hear him speak about it, it seemed that this passion had started to slip. the way that he described his work, it seemed as if he was uninterested in what he was doing. it seemed like he was more proud that he had made his accomplishments and was used as a source for the navy, but wasn't really in for the connection with the animals anymore.

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Jim Nollman Readings
By Jeffrey Jacobs (04/27/10 11:16:27)
I read a few selected chapters from Jim Nollman's book The Man Who Talks To Whales and I really enjoyed the way the author described his own discovery that it is far more interesting to learn from non-human animals rather than about them. I thought that this was a great point because modern science has us believe that as humans it is out job to learn about out world and the animals that inhabit it. Nollman makes the point that if we work together with animals in our methods of research, through artistic collaboration, there is far more to gain from the experience than just studying the animal as separate entities all together. Jim Nollman spent years out on a boat in the Puget Sound between Washington and Canada pumping the music of his guitar into the water so that he could collaborate with the whales and have them sing back to him. When I first heard of this project and heard one of the sound files of him and the whales seamlessly playing a song together I thought that it was awesome. However, the more I thought about it, and especially after hearing him talk so unenthusiastically about the work my opinions changed a little bit. He even said himself that for every twenty or thirty hours they would spend playing music into the water, he would only get a few seconds of usable recordings together with the whales. This made me start to think that perhaps he might just be bothering the whales by pumping noise pollution into the water. After all, who knows if the music was even aesthetically pleasing for a whales ears? Perhaps the times when the whales were communicating back to him they were really just trying to satisfy him to get him to stop trying, or even telling him to be quiet. Either way, the project was interesting nonetheless, I just don't know if it was as much of an actual collaboration or a chance interaction. It seems to me that if you play music to whales most days for twenty years, sometimes whale noises will probably be heard in the recordings.
On a completely unrelated note, I was also a little bummed to hear that the man who used to play music for turkeys now kills them and eats them... people change I guess.

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Jim Nolman Reading #1
By James Rowan (06/10/10 15:12:15)
Jim Nolman's texts are extremely interesting. I feel that today, his way of thinking about animals is much more prevalent. He wanted to get into zoology so that he could help animals and our relationships with them, especially because we have invaded so much of their territory and forced them to try and coexist with them. When he was a kid, most zoologists just studied the anatomy of animals, reducing them to mere piles of flesh and bone, not ever thinking about any intelligence or feelings that they may have. I have always had a connection with animals, and I think that growing up on a farm has allowed me to connect with animals that most people never encounter in their lives, let alone on a day to day basis.

I love the fact that he discovered his relationship with the turkey in Mexico purely by accident. Some of the smartest animals have the worst reputations. I have found pigs to be some of the most intelligent, loving animals. They are easy to make a strong bond with, which makes it that much harder when the animals are being raised for a 4-H program. Anytime I approached the barn, the pigs would hear me coming and starting grunting in unison. As lame as it sounds, I would just grunt "pig, pigpigpig" again and again, all of us performing some guttural type of melody.

I would have loved to have the opportunity that Nolman had when he got to go and visit the turkey farm. It would be interesting to get that kind of response from such a large group of animals and see what kind of melodies would elicit the best responses. It is hard to get access to groups of that size. Most animals do not exist in large groups today like they used to because of human development and environmental regulations do not allow you to approach many groups that do exist. Going to a large farm that raises animals for commercial consumption may not be the easiest thing to do and may not appeal to that many people, but it is a great way to interact with animals on a large scale.

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Reflection: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
Kou Ack Ack Ack - Art Show
By Cori Arnold (06/08/09 11:44:22)
Visit this site: for show documentation.

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Reflection: Animal Communication
Learned in Barbara Janell's workshop
By ho chi leung (04/20/10 01:27:00)
Related animal: Dog

I do not think Barbara Janell has really taught us a way to communicate with animals. Everything she said was so abstract that I do not think it really works. Before she came, I thought she had some spiritual things inside her, so she could talk to trees. However, after I learnt about how to talk to trees from her, I realized everything from her came from her imagination, so basically, she was teaching us to use our imagination.

Anyways, in order to fulfill the assignment, I used the tree method to talk to my dog Snowbo. Because I think that if the method works on the tree, it should work on dogs too. My dog was bored and was lying on the floor. I went to him and felt his existence. Then, I asked him if he loved me or not, then my heart answered me a no. My dog looked at me and licked my face. I was silence for few minutes and didn’t do anything next to him, so he turned his head away.

In short, I do not think Snowbo had answered my question. It was myself who answered my own question. Barbara suggested us to find a tree if we have headache or if we have difficulties that need an answer, I guess she succeeded to do that because standing next to tree gave her the peacefulness that calmed her nerve, so she could think properly in herself, so it was not really the tree that answered her questions.

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Reflection: Non-Human Animal Perception and Cognition
Lecture Response
By Natalie Croak (04/23/13 15:08:22)
Related animal: Kea

The video on birdsong was interesting because both the scientists and the philosopher seemed unable to admit that there might be validity in both arguments. Even though there is scientific evidence that birds do use their song for attracting mates and scaring enemies, the scientists seemed to think that birds do not have the mental capacity to do things for enjoyment or self-expression. I believe that animals are capable of much more than we think they are. This belief was influenced by my experiences traveling New Zealand for three months learning about the country’s bird species. By far my favorites were the extremely intelligent carnivorous alpine parrots called keas, which I was lucky enough to have a few interactions with. The first time that I saw keas was while I was in a parking lot of one of New Zealand’s national parks. One kea was walking around the cars and seemed to be posing for pictures as all the tourists crowded to get a better look. In the background I noticed that another kea was busy stripping all of the rubber off of the tourists’ car windows while they were distracted (for some reason keas love rubber). I realized that these keas were working as a team in order to get as much rubber as possible. After talking to New Zealanders about what I saw I learned that keas often work in teams to get food. A mountaineering guide told me that they have been known to drop ice on hikers’ heads in order to distract them while other keas unzip their backpacks and fly off with the contents. I believe that extremely intelligent animals like keas would be able to sing or partake in other forms of self-expression solely for their own enjoyment.
The philosopher in the video was unable to convince the scientists that his argument was correct because he hinged his argument on the question of why birdsong is beautiful if it is only for utilitarian purposes. This argument is not valid in the scientific community because beauty is a subjective concept that is difficult to quantify. The philosopher believed that art and science are not completely distinct disciplines and seemed to be frustrated that when art or appreciation for the beauty of nature were brought into the conversation it made his argument appear weaker to the scientific community. This reminded me of a quote by Aldo Leopold in “The Sand County Almanac.”---“There are men charged with the duty of examining the construction of plants, animals, and soils which are the instruments of a great orchestra. These men are called professors. Each selects one instrument and spends his life taking it apart and describing its strings and sounding boards. This process of dismemberment is called research. The place for dismemberment is called a university. A professor may pluck the strings of his own instrument, but never that of another, and if he listens for music he must never admit it to his fellows or to his students. For all are restrained by an ironbound taboo which decrees that the construction of instruments is the domain of science, while the detection of harmony is the domain of poets.”

A video about kea's intelligence
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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Leonard's Progress
By Norah Eldredge (05/04/10 08:48:02)
Related animal: Cat

I want to discuss two things for Leonard.

First is his jaw or mouth area that Lisa and I both experienced when communicating with him when Barbara was visiting our class. Lisa and I both chose Leonard, and both experienced the same odd warm/tender/swollen feeling in the jaw that the cat might also be experiencing. As Lisa said, it wasn't painful or bad, it was simply a sensation that brought our attention to his jaw.

I did a few experiments with this to see if I could do something for him based on this information and experience. I massaged his jaws, looking for a response and for any indication of a possible tooth ache or mouth pain. Nothing seemed to show up, but he purred a lot a really seemed to enjoy the feeling. After about two minutes of massaging his jaw, he turned and bit then held my hand in his jaw. This is a play thing that he does often; with my hand, my arm, my ankles, so I was not surprised when he did it. However, I did have a new perspective on it. Perhaps the sensation Lisa and I both felt was his desire to chew things, to gnaw or play with things he could put in his mouth (ie, my limbs).

After this thought, I went and got him a squishy toy I thought he could chew on. He was interested in it for a little while and then decided that he like my arms and hands better!

The other topic is our progress on his drawings. We've been doing a few drawings a week, and they are coming along very well! He usually chooses edges to rest on, and I am working on getting him to move more toward the middle of the page at least once so one can see his whole shape on the paper.

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Comment by LisaJ (05/19/10 16:22:23):
Scan the drawings and upload them please!
Reflection: Other Related Research
Lil Orphan Hammies
By Jeffrey Jacobs (05/12/09 12:03:23)
Related animal: Pot Belly Pig

Lil’ Orphan Hammies

We recently took a class trip to a place in Solvang where a woman named Sue Parkinson adopts the pot-bellied pigs of people who cannot take care of them after they get to be too large. She currently is in the care of over ninety pigs and has recently decided that she can no longer accept new ones. The very idea of why a place like this should need to exist in the first place is puzzling. Why is it that so many people are buying pot-bellied pigs as pets when they are young, without doing any kind of research into what they are going to grow up to be like. Sue told us that people are told by the piglet solicitors that they will not grow much more, and they will stay the size of a small dog. However, if anyone was actually considering purchasing a pig as a pet, you would think that they would want to do the minute amount of research that it would take to discover that their pig could potentially grow to be three hundred pounds. Instead, they purchase the piglet on what would seem to be an impulse buy and feed it for a year or so before they realize they have a problem. Sue told us that to make matters even worse, there are a few old ladies who live near by who by hordes of piglets at a time, simply because they think they are cute. When the piglets grow up, the ladies try to get rid of fifty or more full grown pigs all at once. Sue explained to us that she helped in one of these situations years ago, adopting almost fifty pigs at once, but she no longer is capable of saving so many. In many ways I felt bad for Sue. Here was an incredibly nice woman with a big heart who wanted nothing more than to give these pigs a new chance at a good life and to show them love. I think that lately she has come to a realization that this problem is continuing to persist no matter how hard she has tried in the past to stop it. However, her work has not gone unrewarded. She can rest easy with the satisfaction of knowing that she has saved over two hundred of her favorite animals in her lifetime by doing work that she seems to enjoy. I just hope for her and future pigs’ sake that people will start to think a little more before they purchase an animal that they will not be able to care for.

A distinguished creature
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Reflection: Speciesism and Animal Rights
Lil Orphan Hammies
By Tessa Tapscott (05/13/13 23:18:29)
Related animals: Human, Pig

I very much enjoyed my experience at the pot-bellied pig sanctuary. While the pigs were not only adorable, they were far more friendly than I anticipated. My only other experience with pigs was at a farm oriented summer camp where we were allowed to feed carrots to massive pigs through bars. Looking back at it now, I assume several of those pigs ended up as food at some point. I recall the councelors instilling in me a healthy sense of fear that the pigs might bite off our hands thinking that we were offering them as food. I think my smaller size may have also contributed to my fear and my perhaps skewed memory that paints these animals as massive drooling, half-blind beasts that would gladly tear off my appendages if given the chance.
The pigs at Lil’ Orphan Hammies were none of these things to my relief. While I still kept my guard up around the ones that were known nibblers, I felt comfortable sitting on the ground with them, brushing them and photographing them. We learned about each of their different personalities and about where some of them came from. Many were once sold to owners whom had fallen for the “tea-cup pig” trend that is sweeping the nation. The Internet is littered with admittedly adorable pictures of tiny piglets that can fit inside teacups or be dressed in doll clothing posing with a potted plant or some stuffed animals. Breeders give the impression that the pigs will remain tiny through out the rest of their lives, the perfect pet for an apartment dweller. However, as the owner of Lil’ Orphan Hammies seared into our brains, “mini pigs”, “teacup pigs” and “micro-mini pigs” do not exist. They will grow up and they will be pot-bellied pigs that are generally the size of a large, overweight golden retriever. I was disgusted to hear about how breeders stunted the growth of the pigs by starving them and depriving them of essential nutrients and even direct sunlight. It made me glad that there were people out there whom cared enough to begin pig sanctuaries for the creatures that grew past the bounds of apartment living, though I think it would be much better if people were more well-informed and did not buy such pigs in the first place.
I spent sometime sitting with one of the pigs in the outer enclosures, whom was not as used to humans, but still allowed me to sit near her and have a chat. Her name was “Icky” or “Ucky” due to a strange skin problem she had that caused her to loose patches of hair all over her body. I attempted to connect with her through animal communication and I asked her how she felt about her name. She told me she did not like her name, but I did not get a response as to what her name should be, but I asked if it were okay if I called her “Matilda” instead. She guessed that would be fine. She seemed bored, but enjoyed our communication, so I told her I would try to contact her again some other time.
I enjoyed learning about all the different pigs and I admire how dedicated Susan (the owner) is to helping save the pigs and making sure they can live out their days in the highest quality of life. I hope to spread word about the pigs, hopefully this fad will fade and there will be far fewer orphaned hammies.

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Reflection: Other Related Research
Lil Orphan Hammies
By Natalie Croak (06/08/13 19:23:19)
Related animal: Pig

Today we visited Lil Orphan Hammies, a teacup pig sanctuary in Solvang. I remembered hearing about the teacup pig craze when I was in high school but didn't think that it was a very popular thing. While I was there I learned that breeders will often lie about how big a full sized teacup pig can get. They will say that they will only be 20-30 pounds when in reality they are 100 pounds when full sized. Breeders tell the owners to give them too little food in order to stunt their growth, but once the woman who runs the sanctuary would allow them to eat normally they would jump up in weight. I couldn't believe that breeders were purposely telling people to keep their pets malnourished in order to keep their business going. Since the pigs get much bigger than they are marketed as often people who live in apartments realize that they are unable to care for an animal that is that large. As a result they have to give up their pigs to the sanctuary.
I really admired how the woman who ran the sanctuary donated so much of her time and money to helping the pigs. Along with taking care of the pigs she also works on online campaigns to find breeders falsely advertising about the pigs and gets them shut down.
While we were at the sanctuary we wandered around the pen area interacting with the pigs. My favorite was a buck-toothed pig named Princess who let me feed her animal crackers and scratch her belly. It was also really interesting to see how big Valentine was, the sanctuary's only full-sized pig. I've been around pigs before because my cousins were in FFA but Valentine was massive. Despite this though he definitely was a gentle giant and appreciated kisses.

Marissa and Valentine

farm dog

bonding with Princess

pig smile
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Lil Orphan Hammies and Sedgwick Reserve
By Alexandra Glaser (06/08/09 13:39:03)
Related animals: Bat, Pot-Bellied Pig

I would like to take the time now to reflect upon the various trips we took together as a class in an attempt to collaborate with animals.

Lil Orphan Hammies: Pot Bellied Pigs

After getting lost (a first of what would become a ritual for any pre-trip drive), we arrived at Lil Orphan Hammies in Solvang. I was blown away by the sheer amount of pigs that were at this farm/home. I was blown even more away by the amount of pig paraphernalia the owner had in her home! Regardless, the pigs were fascinating creatures. They were massive! I was amazed at the owner's ability to distinguish each individual pig out of 98 in total. I found that more than anything, I was interested in learning the owners story and how she came into possession of so many pigs. I realize in hindsight that my attempt to collaborate with the animals was limited. Although I enjoyed petting and scratching their ears, I did not do anything with aesthetic intentions in mind. Perhaps because this was our first excursion, I had not yet gotten into the mindset of collaboration and perhaps I was still unsure of what I was in store for. I did not yet know how to approach animals in a different manner than how I had always done. Thus, although this trip was enjoyable, my aesthetic outcome was minimal.

Sedgwick Reserve

What a great trip. I had not been able to go to Santa Cruz Island (although I did get a chance to go the next weekend with some friends!) so this was my first overnight immersion. We began the trip with a hike up a hillside and after getting the burrs out of my shoes, socks and jeans, Hannah led us in a meditation to center ourselves. Finding out own center would hopefully lead us into being open to communication with animals (something that we had learned from the animal communicator and various texts). Although no animals ran right up to our group, finding my center in such a beautiful context prepared me for the rest of the trip and opened up my channels for subsequent collaboration.

For me the most successful and memorable experience from the trip came late at night, after dinner and after many had fallen asleep. A group of us stayed awake by the fireside and after much deliberation decided that what we really needed was a night hike. Under the full moon, the canyon behind the ranch was illuminated and seemed otherworldly. Just as we walked past a small pond, a wave of rustling came back to us. We paused and unconsciously we began to communicate with the mystery swarm of animals (which i believe now to be either bats or birds). Whatever it was that we did to communicate with them (whether it be walking or scuffling), they communicated back, on cue with a mass of movement. A true interspecies collaboration was established.

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Lil Orphan Hammies Trip
By Stephanie Vasquez (05/10/09 15:51:03)
Related animal: Pig

(Written on April 11th)

Our first field trip was on Tuesday; I had no idea what to expect. I noticed that I was very timid in approaching the pigs at first. I didn’t grow up around animals, not even a dog or cat. I became more comfortable after realizing that these poor, delicate creatures meant no harm. Their grunts may have sounded “angry,” but who is to say that a loud, abrupt sound means “anger” to the pigs? In fact, who is to say these pigs know “anger” the way we know it? Maybe they were exercising their vocal cords. They aren’t humans… So anyway, I walked around and found a lone pig. I petted the pig, and when my hand got closer to its belly, as if by instinctive reaction, it laid down and let me rub his belly. I rubbed the pigs belly for about 10 minutes before realizing that it had fallen asleep. I soon left this pig and watched the owner of the farm feed all the pigs. Although an arduous task, it seemed like she enjoyed what she did every day. She really cared for these pigs. Suddenly, I felt something nudge the back of my calf. I turned around, and staring up at me was a small white pig. I bent down to pet it and then moved aside. I figured that the only reason it had nudged me was because I was standing in its way. Instead of walking past me, it just stared up at me. I moved over to another part of the farm, and this pig started following me. I continued to pet her, but it wasn’t long before I realized our trip was just about over. Perhaps some day I will go back if I can think of a project to do with these pigs.

The Lone Pig

Sleeping after a good belly rub.

The white pig that followed me at the end of our trip.
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Lil Orphan Hammies Trip
By Serena Zahler (04/29/10 15:00:49)
Related animal: Pig

While visiting the pot belly pig sanctuary, I realized that we as humans in Art 130 may want to collaborate with other species, but that doesn't mean they are interested in us. Andrea and I thought we would create a series of Mud Paintings after the success of the dog/human mud paintings. This idea was unsuccessful as the pigs were frightened by the paper and didn't want to step on anything, but solid mud ground. Maybe the pigs instinctively knew we had brought butcher paper to create our mud paintings... The Hammies experience definitely made me take a more non-human animal perspective when thinking about collaboration. Just because I think an animal will be interested in my collaborative idea doesn't mean they actually will be interested. I want to use this experience and create concepts that are more geared to collaborations that will be more beneficial to the other species. If I do this, I believe that the collaboration will be much more successful in that I will get to collaborate, create art, and learn about the other species on their terms, while they get a benefit or enjoyment out of their interaction with me.

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Reflection: Animal Communication
Lil' Hammies
By Sara Selmic (05/13/13 12:24:38)
Related animal: Pig

The pigs were a great animal to interact with, they definitely have their own eccentric personalities. Petuna was one crazy pig, but still enjoyable. It was great to have them follow us around and to experience a little bit of their lives. I had a good moment with one pig, I forgot his name, but it was the one that she said was afraid of touch. I noticed he had come around to the other side of his little dwelling and so I went over and he didn't seem scared. So I sat down and he came very close to me. I didn't want to touch him because of what we were told, but he didn't mind sitting so close to me and we did that for a while till someone walked by us and scared him off. He kept looking at me as he walked away though. I wonder what happened to this animal, but I'm glad we could share a connection since it seems like he didn't experience this very often. I definitely enjoyed visiting this place and being around animals I haven't met before. Also, Valentine is probably the biggest animal I have ever seen, that was an experience all in itself.

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Reflection: Other Related Research
Lil' Orphan Hammies
By Travis Jepson (04/27/10 12:47:31)
Related animal: Pot Belly Pig

I found the experience at the potbelly pig farm to be very interesting. I had interacted with one potbelly many years ago but it was nothing like having 50 pigs in one location. I decided to keep my video camera rolling the entire time so I could document the trip. When we first arrived we were suggested to go to the older pigs which had been around people more.

This perhaps was not the best idea, as the pigs there seemed to be very anxious. One of the potbelly's especially was very loud and clearly was agitated at our entrance into his den. I quickly learned the best way to touch/interact with the pigs was to NOT put your hand out as you would with a dog to allow the pig to sniff. Due to the poor eyesight of the pigs they would most likely assume that your hand was food and try to take a bite out of you. The best idea was to go behind the head and scratch the ears. I found this worked well with all the pigs that I did not have to approach. I did my best to come up to the pigs in a non-threatening manner and would get down to their level by squatting down. In several cases, I found that when I was on their level the pigs would come to me if I had my hand outstretched. Though I am not sure if it helped, I made sure to blink and keep a low breathing rate so it would provide a calm environment for the pigs. Though I am not sure if it helped, it allowed me to get more comfortable with the pigs.

In several cases I was able to start off scratching behind the pigs ears and they would allow me to continue and they seemed to like the attention. On three occasions, I actually had the pig suddenly slam themselves down on the ground so they could get their bellies rubbed. It was funny yet surprised when they did this because I realized how much weight these pigs carried. I felt these interactions were good because there was no food involved and the pigs came to me solely for the human contact. One of the more massive pigs "Oreo" actually came up to me and pulled up my jean leg, somewhat strange but I was thankful she did not decide to take a bite out of me.

Hopefully I will upload some of the video I got from this experience, it was overall very entertaining and I was glad I was able to spend so much time there.

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Little Orphan Hammies
By Shanti Harris (06/08/09 21:17:16)
Little Orphan Hammies

Interacting with the pot-bellied pigs was an amazing experience. The pigs varied in size, color and personality. Many of the pigs loved to have their bellies rubbed. They made it clear that they did not want their belly rub to stop and made noises/ jerked movements as a signal to humans.

I sat with one of the pigs for a while and rubbed it's belly continuously. The pig seemed to be in heaven, and did not move a muscle as I stroked its coarse fur and soft belly. The motions of moving one's hand and massaging the belly seems to have a very calming effect on the pigs. Similarly, humans (infants) enjoy belly rubs, so there seems to be an interspecies correlation with the act of rubbing the belly.

The following pictures some of the pot-bellied pigs at Little Orphan Hammies in various positions.

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Reflection: Aesthetic Expressions of Non-Human Animals
Little Orphan Hammies
By Mary Zdybel (04/25/10 23:29:49)
Related animal: Pot-Bellied Pig

I was super excited to take our class trip to the Little Orphan Hammies Pig Sanctuary; not only was it my first field trip in my four years of college, but I was interested to go back to my days on living on a ranch and pet some pigs! However the pig sanctuary was not exactly what I had expected. I suppose I should have done my research on pot-bellied pigs and that it was my own fault when I was taken aback to find these massive beasts awaiting me. There were a few things that disconcerted me. Firstly, I expected there to be a lot more mud. I have always been under the impression that pigs loves to play in the mud and that this made them happy (someone even mentioned mud castles?) But the ground seemed to be mostly dry and like clay, not ideal for rubbing one's snout on. Second, many of these pigs seemed like they were so sad, with large open wounds and tears in their eyes. I appreciated that these pigs were very old and many of them crippled, but this 'sanctuary' seemed more reminiscent of a pig retirement home to me. Just as I view retirement homes as horrible but necessary, I know that these pigs are better off where they are now than suffering more somewhere else. Maybe if there were less pigs requiring the attention of one woman they would be able to live a happier life. I kind of saw this overcrowded pig farm as a microcosm for the population problem we are experiencing as humans; there are just too many of us and it is causing a problem.

On a lighter note, I promised myself I would make friends with a pig during our trip, so I tried to do just that. I attempted different ways of approaching the pigs, trying to talk to them in different piggy-dialects. They didn't seem to much appreciate my pig talk, nor did they think it was fun when i surprised them from behind. There was a lot of squealing involved, on both of our parts. I especially loved the giant black and white spotted pig that was apparently named Oreo, but I had rightfully dubbed "Cow Pig" I wanted to put a saddle on its back and get an authentic piggy-back ride! Another Hammy that really struck my interest was a flirtatious blondie with a shoe fetish named Dennis. He really loved to rub and nibble on your shoes, or tickle you by tasting your pants. It was very interesting to me because I didn't think such a large animal could have such a tender and loving touch.

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Reflection: Animal Communication
Little Orphan Hammies
By Alli Harrod (05/02/10 02:04:07)
Related animal: Pig

Little Orphan Hammies

Little Orphan Hammies was an entertaining way to both observe and interact with pigs. I am somewhat familiar with pigs because I had a pet (small) potbelly pig growing up and many of my friends in 4H raised pigs to show. These pigs were different from the ones that I am used to, however, because they were in large groups interacting together at the ranch. It was interesting to observe and interact with their lifestyles and see how they interacted with one another. Their "habitat" at the ranch had many various housing structures, troughs, forts, and roaming areas. I spent some time following certain pigs around in each area and was especially interested in their use of forts. I followed a pig on his/her way into a fort to see if the pig exhibited any sort of play behavior, sort of like a child with a fort, but the pig just seemed a little weary of me and then slept. It was unfortunate that many of the pigs seemed pretty weary of humans. Two pigs were main instigators that caused trouble amongst the other pigs and had to be put in a "time out" pen so that they wouldn't wreak any more havoc. There is certainly certain tonal inflections and body movements of communication between the woman who cared for the pigs and the pigs themselves. The pigs certainly knew that they were going to be put in a "time out" pen and seemed to know why (for their bratty behavior toward the other pigs.) It was quite funny for me to think of it this way. After those pigs were separated, they did not really interact with anyone but themselves. I met two particular pigs that were especially friendly. One pig was pink and seemed to like shoes a whole lot. He/She continuously rubbed his/her face on my feet and followed me and some other students around for a little while. The other friendly pig was extremely large with patches and seemed to want people to pet him/her a lot. We pet his/her belly for a while and he/she seemed content. In all, Little Orphan Hammies was a fun place to visit and an overall great field trip. I will add a picture of one of the hammies from my phone after I install a driver software for my phone to upload the pictures to my computer...

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Little Orphan Hammies
By Sarina Martinez (05/13/10 12:24:18)
Related animal: Pig

While at the pig farm I didn't really feel a connection with any of the pigs. I felt it was very hard to connect with them. Every time I tried to approach one it would run away.

I tried different methods of approaching them and neither worked. I tried to sneak up on them, moving very slowly and only moving when they weren't looking. But as soon as they saw me moving they would take a step back. I also tried to move over to them in a calm, submissive manner. Trying to let them know that they were the boss and that my actions were determined by their acceptance of my presence.

Realizing that I couldn't interact with them I turned my attention to their interactions with each other. There didn't seem to be any visible hierarchy. I thought there might have been an "alpha male," but in my time being there I couldn't see a clear one. Also there didn't seem to be any type of community, which I found odd.

All in all I learned more about those pigs than expected.

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Local Excursion Documentation 5/5
By Brianna Acuesta (05/14/14 07:49:22)
Related animal: Goat

At Coal Oil Point Reserve, we met the wonderful manager of the goats that are housed there. The goats proved to be even more wonderful, as there were kids that were ready to play no matter how young they were. My past experiences with goats has always been very plain; they seem to want to be petted and play, but their ultimate goal is food and sometimes they can be skittish and off-putting. At the Reserve, I was able to have a completely different experience with the goats. The kids were okay with being held and I loved holding them because they felt familiar, like soft puppies whose limbs stick out because they are floppy and comfortable the way they are. Through the cuteness of the kids, I began to view the older goats differently because I generally saw them as unattractive and too large. Now, seeing what they look like as babies reminds me that they too are young and still looking to play. I wish they kept the soft fur and the uncertain leg movements, but I suppose growing older means losing the soft hair and floppiness. I want to incorporate the goats somehow into my final project, however I'm struggling to come up with a creative and feasible way.

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Reflection: History/Philosophy - the Aesthetics of Non-Human Animals
Man Who Talks to Whales Review
By Hector Medina (06/09/13 14:28:28)
Related animal: Whale

In chapter 1, Nollman describes some of his thoughts on animal communication and shared his musical connection with the turkey. He mentions how he saw this turkey as a collaborator not as an animal making noises. I found it interesting how he says we need to learn from animals and not simply about them. I find that to be such an impacting quote. He mentions how we as humans always seem to want animals to learn our language instead of us leaning theirs. Animals are to a point our equals, they are very smart but in their own way. I know this with my dog. She can tell when I am upset, when I want to play with her, or when I don’t want to be bothered. In the same way she can understand what I am feeling, why can’t we learn from them. We learn from body language, from characteristics and repeated behaviors. We need to make more of an effort to respect animals and treat them equally. What made us more superior than them? They have the same privileges we do; we both breathe the same air, we both live on the same planet. Just because we have opposable thumbs? Horses have hooves, whales have fins and my dog has paws? We all are different, and that is what makes us all the same.

Chapter 4 got my attention when I read, “Webster defines protocol as the ceremonial forms and courtesies that are established as proper and correct in official relations between parties. Interspecies protocol may thus be understood to mean the forms and manners (and defense postures) that any specious conforms to when relating to another species.” It basically summarizes what we are trying to do in this class. After we do this interaction, we create something relating to art. It’s an interesting way of thinking. Just like the situations presenting in the rest of the chapter. The lions and Bushmen had this distinct protocol where they couldn’t talk to each other, yet they knew how to treat one another. They knew the boundaries and how to respect one another. Once they natural balance was interrupted with the ranchers it seems like the protocol was broken and so was the trust. It is weird to finally know the proper name, or a suitable name, for the interaction we have with animals.

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Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Me and my Bird
By Erik Shalat (05/20/13 09:53:39)
Related animal: Bird

After deliberating it with myself for a while I had an epiphany regarding my final project. I’ve postulated several ideas up until now for what I could do as art experiments with animals, but my heart was never in any of them. Throughout the quarter i’ve constantly brought up my pet cockatoo Toby as a personal reference point for my experience with animals, but i’ve never thought to do anything with that. I happen to have a fair share of footage and images of my bird through online video-chatting with my parents. They always like to share with me how the bird is reacting to my absence, and then they always get me to say something over the phone and see how Toby reacts to the sound of my voice. I was essentially already doing a very personal version of a animal sound experiment that we’ve seen examples of over the course of Spring Quarter.

I’ve been collecting videos my father has sent me over the course of the year, and we’ve decided to start recording more of them so that I can compile them into a single video. So far his reactions range from mild confusion and disinterest to putting his crown up and saying my name.

Toby is a very... attention starved creature. I am his favorite human in the world, i’ve had him since I was seven years old. I taught him all of the words he knows... well, both of the words he knows; hello and Erik. I spent more time with him than anyone else. This developed into a somewhat unhealthy relationship, as when i’m not around he gets depressed, but when I am there he gets overly excitable and aggressive. He used to only bite me, but now he has started biting my parents as well. They said if this continues they might have to take him to a bird sanctuary. As much as I hate what the bird does, I love him unconditionally. I don’t think i’ll change anything by making this art project, but it would capture the better more loving aspects of my relationship with Toby.

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meeting with the sealion
By forrest galante (04/22/09 16:49:18)
Related animal: Sea Lion

while out at santa cruz island over the weekend i had a wonderfull encounter with a california sea lion (Zalophus californianus). while out diving infront of Prisnors Harbour friday afternoon in a very rich and versitile kelp forest a single young male sealion came swimming up to me and the other two divers (tommy dutra and sinade kennedy). at first he was very weary and kept his ditance only observing us by stiking his head above the surface and looking our way but after 15 miniutes or so of this he realised we were not in the water with any intrest in harming any animals. he slowly and wearily moved in closer and closer untill he no longer was looking at us from above the surface but rather he was keeping his distance underwater and observing. A few miniutes of this went bye then he decided to come rite in and take a look. being alone he was not as brave as when in larger social groups. but he still managed to come in and swim rite by us and under us just observing our movements and actions. with some very slow and smooth body motions we were able to approach the animal without intimidating him. after a few passes and some specatacular views of the animal he decided to go about his buisness and he had lost interest in us.

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Mega Pod!
By Jeffrey Jacobs (05/27/10 12:33:26)
Related animal: Dolphin

On Tuesday we went as a class on a whale-watching boat called the Condor Express to try and find a mega-pod of dolphins in the channel. Before going out we had been told that dolphins will swim in groups of thousands together in the ocean and that if we were lucky we might get to see one of these groups and ride alongside them in our boat. Well, that is exactly what we found. After driving far out into the channel for about 45 minutes the captain announced that there was a mega pod coming up on the horizon. To the naked eye it looked like an area of turbulent water with white caps as we approached . Then, suddenly we were completely surrounded by the dolphins. The captain estimated that there were two thousand of them in the group and they were jumping out of the water as they swam as far as the eye could see. We had a list of instructions for sounds and movements that we were supposed to make as a group as the boat made different movements around the dolphins. The excitement of our group was so high that it was difficult for the actions to pan out exactly as planned but we were able to get synchronized a few times. I tried to take some pictures of the dolphins in action, but the photos did not do the situation justice at all. The dolphins swim so fast that it is hard to capture them for the spit second that they are out of the water. I also recorded a few videos but they too did not do the situation justice. Really it is something that has to be experienced first hand and after a few minutes of trying to capture it, I realized that I just needed to experience the moment with my own undistracted eyes. The meditation task was one of my favorites. The boat sped up ahead of the dolphins and stopped and we sat and meditated as the dolphins caught up to us and passed us by. It was an incredibly serene moment, without the noise of the moving boat and only the ocean and wind to be heard. Another thing that worked out much better than I thought it would was using the hydrophone to play the dolphins’ underwater noises over the boats sound system. I though that we would not be able to hear the dolphins over the sound of the boat but sure enough we could here them perfectly. All in all the trip was amazing and an experience that I am so glad I got to participate in. Only a few weeks ago I had no idea that this kind of mega-pod of dolphins even existed and now I got to witness it with my own eyes.

Click to play.
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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Mouse Tragedy Number 2
By Chelsea Hunter (05/11/09 15:49:52)
last week my roommates snake Pandora again neglected to eat her food but I was not too interested in collaborating with the new mouse because of the tragedy that occurred when trying to collaborate with Senior Marshmellow. The new mouse sat in it's cardboard box for a few days before getting restless and chewing it's way out to explore our house. I think it may have been interested in collaborating with me because he some how made his way into my bedroom and onto my head at 3 am. Luckily I am not afraid of mice and after the initial shock of waking to one my face I simply picked him up and put him back on the floor so he could explore for the rest of the night. In the morning after numerous shrieks from my other roommates I caught the new mouse and decided to spend sometime with him. He was much more anxious then the first mouse and I could feel his heart beating so fast as I held him in my hands. I tried to projected calm feelings of love and trust like I did with Senior Marshmellow but the new mouse was so frantic I think his feelings were affecting me. As I was holding onto him I started to feel a bit anxious and when I looked at him I felt a deep compassion which ultimately lead me to my decision to let him free. I opened the door and let him go outside immediately feeling better although not for long. The next day as I went for a morning run I ran pass the new mouse, smashed in the neighbors drive way. I really feel like I had a connection with that animal because I felt such strong feelings when seeing him dead, it was as if someone had punched me in the stomach. I cried and felt sadness that was similar to losing a pet.I dont know if it was because I felt responsible or if it was because we had communicated in a special way the day before but my reaction was very different than one would expect after seeing a rodent dead in the street.

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Mule Deer and Bobcats
By Jeff Marsch (05/12/09 15:10:38)
Related animals: Bobcat, Mule Deer

I went to the Sedgwick Reserve knowing nothing of the area, what animals might be there, or how they might respond to humans. In my experience, the large terrestrial animals that I would like to collaborate with are generally more sensitive to human presence, and would most likely need a good amount of time to develop a relationship in which they would feel comfortable enough with me to establish a real connection and the potential for collaboration. In that light, I went to Sedgwick with no intention of collaborating with anything, but rather just to see what was around. I decided that I would look for tracks to see what animals were sharing the same space. Walking to the north, away from the lodge and past the duck pond I found a pair of tracks with similar gait nearly treading right on top of one another. I later identified the tracks to be those of a bobcat and a mule deer, and did some research into how the two species interact. I found that the bobcat, while being generally much smaller than the mule deer, is occasionally its predator, and I found a picture of one such episode. In the picture the mule deer doesn't seem to be resisting the bobcat, and instead is idly letting the cat take him down by the throat. This appears to be an episode of one animal giving its life to the other so that the other may survive, as we briefly discussed in class. I wonder if animals ever truly do this exercise willingly, and if so if they would ever do the same for a human being. Is the way in which humans hunt recognized by other animals as a sort of engagement in combat? Or are the means used by humans (i.e. guns) so foreign that animals don't consider it a possibility to sacrifice themselves so that the other may survive? It seems that an animal that is making itself vulnerable to a human is doing everything but making itself a sacrifice.

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Next Reading
By Norah Eldredge (04/27/10 12:22:49)
All of these readings and research opportunities, more than any other response, make me reflect upon my personal relationships with the animals in my life.

For example, the change that has happened in my relationship with my cat Leonard is huge. Like any relationship, human or otherwise, ours was never totally consistent. Some days we got along great. He would purr around my ankles and be super excited to see me. These periods were always brief. Most of the time, he would sleep in my room mates' closets, lounge alone somewhere and not really even sleep on my bed ever.

I felt like a bad mom a lot. I didn't have time to even pet him for a long time, and he never really received much attention from me at all except when I fed him and cleaned his litter box.

Then, because of this class and my reflections on myself and my interactions with animals, our relationship has changed. I realized, especially after the animals talking session when I learned how to channel toward Leonard and that he is really smart and needs my attention. I started making more time for him. When I get home from class I dedicate at least five minutes to at least touching him, petting him and telling him how much I love him. When I am sitting on the couch or in the kitchen, I try to send him mental messages to let him know that I like having him around and that I think he's great.

The change has been unbelievable! He runs up to me when I get home. He follows me around the house like a little shadow, and he never misses an opportunity to sleep on my bed. My attitude and time dedication change toward him has changed his personality and mine as well! I feel his energy is calmer and I do not send guilty or busy energy toward him anymore either.

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Comment by LisaJ (06/10/10 18:05:38):
I am so happy for you and Leonard!
Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Nollman Reading Ch 10
By Andrea Chase (05/12/10 14:22:55)
Related animal: Dolphin

Nollman's last chapter was very interesting to me. The concept of Gaia struck me as oddly familiar to many of the Buddhist ideals I have come to love. The idea that one is everything and everything is one; is the main idea behind the relation to other beings as discussed in many Buddhist thoughts. Gaia also similarly believes that there is some "one" in every being that is a constant between all living things. Although I found Nollman's interest in his idea deemed Gaia quite fascinating, while looking through the reading for resolution to our debate determining the ethics regarding human interaction (and subsequent effects) with animals. Nollman offered little to no advice upon highlighting this great moral inquiry we stumbled upon. Although he did go so far as to mention it (briefly) he could not offer other than the already viewpoints we had discussed in class.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
On Grizzly People Movies and Letters from Charlie text
By Serena Zahler (05/06/10 16:51:06)
Related animal: Bear

When I originally watched "Walking with Giants" I personally thought Charlie was crazy. Going into a habitat that isn't inhabited by humans and living among wild bears, in order to show that they aren't dangerous. When I view this from an interspecies perspective, he is putting himself in a dangerous situation in order to help the bears when the bears wouldn't do that same for him. Bears look after them selves to survive, but Charlie the human is putting himself in harms way to show his species that bears are not dangerous. I guess the argument hear is that humans have a responsibility to advocate on behalf over other species because we have a conscience, but then do other animals have a responsibility to us to do the same? After reading Charlie's thoughts on Timothy Treadwell and "Grizzly Man," I gained a new respect for Charlie's motives. His background in ranching and move into bear advocate made sense and he had a healthy respect for the balance of nature and his own personal safety. I commend his honesty about Treadwell and I believe in his frustration that Timothy didn't keep a healthy sense of reality when he was with these animals. Charlie said he kept pepper spray and used an electric fence to keep himself and his things his. On the other end, Timothy believed him self to be a "kind warrior " for the bears and called them his friends. He spoke to them and had a boyhood obsession/lust when speaking about them. I feel at times his purpose was purely personal. It was interesting to me how the Native American believed Timothy was very disrespectful in his actions with the bears; Native American's don't fear bears, but respect their territory and the interspecies relationship. After this week and my immense gain of knowledge, I find myself still asking questions about the intentions behind Charlie and Timothy and if one is more justified than the other. Also, in the end Timothy did die a tragic death at the mercy of the bears he felt he was protecting, but are they protected or did his death create more danger for them?

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Ongoing Weekly Assignment 5/12
By Brianna Acuesta (05/12/14 12:45:26)
Related animals: Dog, Goat, Octopus

This past week I visited the goats at Coal Oil Point with some friends and attempted to collaborate with them without documenting it and just experiencing it. I still want to create something involving the octopus at the REEF but the glitch photography, something I’ve never tried before, is proving to be more difficult than I anticipated. It’s not just because of the actual editing, but also because I have to take pictures of the octopus while also documenting her (seems like a she to me) movements. I’ve tried having someone write them down for me while I photograph her but it seems impersonal because I felt like I should be the one noticing her emotions based on her movements. I tried afterwards to record her but that seemed impersonal as well. I’m learning that collaborating with animals with the goal of creating something artistic can almost take the magic out of the interaction because I don’t get to experience the interaction since I’m so caught up with capturing it. Anyways, I collaborated with the goats and picked them up again and got an idea about maybe bringing paper with me and putting it up against me. There are two goats that constantly jump on me so that they can chew my hair and my shirt, and I’m thinking that I can put the paper over me so that they get their dirty hooves on the paper instead. I would then use the marks made on the paper to copy over to a canvas and paint something inspired by the goats with the marks as the center of the piece. Since I’m not originally a painter and I haven’t experimented too much, I’m not sure how difficult it will be to copy over the marks using paint or to even paint around that, but I’m hoping to visit the goats on Wednesday to get started. I’m really glad that we were able to visit the goats because I would not have been able to come up with an idea incorporating goats.
Also, I’m still considering a side project with my dog, Mango, because I’d like for the class to see how sweet he is at home. I’m still considering just a simple photography that documents how adorable, cuddly, and loving he is with my husband and I. I think that this would still be a close form of collaboration since it’s a side of him that no one in class will ever see and it’s very close and personal. I’ve already begun to take pictures so that is the closest to a project that I’ve started so far.

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Ongoing WEekly Assignment 5/19
By Brianna Acuesta (05/18/14 15:36:49)
Related animals: Dog, Goat

This past week my husband and I decided to start gardening with what limited space we have in our "backyard" in family housing. We went to Home Depot to buy plants, seeds, soil, and, most importantly, pots to paint on. Whenever an artistic opportunity like this has come up during this quarter I've immediately considered a way to make it an interspecies collaboration since I've been having so much trouble finding an idea that I'm passionate about. Inspired by the pots and the subsistence gardening we are going to be doing (we are growing various vegetables and some fruits), which is better for the environment and ultimately animals as well, I've finally come up with a solid idea on what I'm doing for my final project. I'm going to make two, possibly three if I have time to see the goats, painted pots whose images and colors will be picked out by my dog Mango for one pot and the octopus from the REEF for the other pot.

Since Mango and the octopus have obvious differences in their ability to interact with me, I've designed different interaction methods for each animal. We take Mango to the same park a few times a week and we typically take him to three different spots: two are guaranteed places where he sniffs around and goes to the bathroom, and the other is this fenced off area that is a sort of no-leash dog area. I'm going to set up each area with a different part of the pot painting that needs to be determined. The three parts are what the image is, what color it's going to be, and where on the point it will be located. For the location, I will label each part of the pot and then take those labels and put them in different spots in the dog park area. I will do the same with the colors and the images in the different areas of the park, and whichever he sniffs at will be the one he picks. The order in which he picks them will each coincide with each other. For example, if he goes to first area and sniffs at the sun, then in the second area chooses the color blue first, and in the third area sniffs the upper left lip of the pot label, then the result will be a painted blue sun on the upper left lip of the pot. The octopus clearly will be presented with a different method, since he can't sniff nor run around the park. I'm going to create three sheets, one with the color, one with images, and one with location. I'll present him with one sheet at a time and see which of his tentacles lands on a choice first and record maybe the first five options for each sheet. I'll paint the pots just as my dog and the octopus have picked them to be painted.

Also, since this was inspired by the gardening which positively (even if minimally) affects the earth and its animals, my exhibition will feature the pots with something that I feel represents the personalities of each animal planted inside of it. I feel really good about this idea and have plans to get the input from both Mango and the octopus this week and paint the pots next week.

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Operation Octopus Freedom
By Jeffrey Jacobs (05/13/09 09:46:57)
Related animal: Octopus

Operation Octopus Freedom

When we visited the UCSB REEF I couldn't help but notice a few very strange things about the research being done. I noticed a stark difference between the way scientists used the animals and the way we wanted to collaborate with them. The researchers didn't seem to care about how the animals felt about being trapped in this facility. In fact, some of their research was without a doubt borderline animal cruelty. For example, the rockfish had tags embedded into their skulls, not in order to track the fish or monitor them, but rather to test how well an embedded brain tag works. It seemed rather pointless then to embed these pieces of plastic in every fish in the room.
The octopus that lives in the REEF has a long history of trying to escape. In fact, he has become so good at it that the researchers must put a heavy object on top of the tank. It is strange to think that when a scientist sees an animal trying to escape they think "how can we better trap it in our confinement" rather than "I wonder why its trying to escape" or "maybe we should set it free." If you ask me, it's pretty obvious that the octopus must be miserable inside of its tiny tank. It can probably sense its Pacific home that exists beyond the walls of the REEF not thirty yards away. My hypothetical collaboration would be to bust into the REEF, mission impossible style, steal the octopus and finally set it free. Obviously this would be a bad decision as I could risk being kicked out of school for stealing their 'property'. Instead perhaps I could hand out flyers or petitions to support the freeing of our depressed little octopus. After all, I'm pretty sure it's not an octopus' natural instinct to want to be carried around in a bottle.

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Reflection: Animal Play Behavior
Personal Interaction with Dolphins
By Jorden Hirsch (06/03/10 16:05:01)
Related animal: Dolphin

Over Memorial day weekend I was able to enjoy a great weekend and found myself at Santa Claus beach in Santa Barbara having my own personal obsservation and interaction of play with dolphins. I was making a sand castle right near the water and noticed 2 dolphins incredibly closed to the shore, I was so happy, as people always are when they see dolphins. I went back to doing my castle, figuring that the doplhins would have passed. And then when I looked again about 5 minutes later they were still playing, this was really suprising to me because usually when I have seen them at the beach the pass pretty quickly. I found my self walking and following them up and down the beach as they moved back in fourth playing in their small pod. It was a great experience to add to my memorial day weekend.

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Reflection: Non-Art Interspecies Collaborations
Pig farm
By Michael Walter Lambert (04/12/09 19:15:33)
Related animal: Pig

I enjoyed our trip to the pig farm. The pigs were far more intelligent than I thought they would be. It was my first real interaction with pigs. I thought they might be more aggressive but due to their old age perhaps I didn't get a fair sample of healthy young pig behavior. I was unaware of the different kinds of pigs that there are. I noticed a nice variation of pigs at the farm-big, small, black, white, and spotted. One of the bigger thrills was seeing the 1000 lb pig. Due to their age not many of the pigs were healthy. It was fascinating that they liked their bellies rubbed like dogs! It was funny to see the farm dogs "police" the pigs. Not too sure of a collaborative project at this point. Perhaps a pig day spa with belly scratchers, nail and tusk trimming, mud and soft places to lay in the sun. Maybe study day to day pig behavior.

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Pig Sanctuary
By Jenna Ferri (04/27/10 23:32:21)
Related animal: Pot-Bellied Pig

The pig sanctuary was quite an enlightening experience. It really touched on the point the bird women spoke about how we are prejudice to cute animals. When the pot-bellied pigs were small and pet-friendly, the humans were willing to collaborate with them in their houses. When they grew larger and less attractive, they became undesirable.
It was during my experience I learned how easy these pigs were to bond with. Once one got past their appearances, they were very willing and lovable animals. One instance in particular stuck out. Jeff was standing there and one of the pigs came up to him to smell his shoes. Once it decided he liked this smell, he laid down right on top of Jeff's feet and snuggled up. It was so inspiring to see how willing they were to trust us, even though they had all been betrayed by humans before. They were re-training us pay attention to the small details we had forgotten.
I have attached a photo of Jeff with the pig to show just how trusting this pig was.

the pig snuggling with jeff

pig smelling jeff's shoes
[Write Comment]

Comment by LisaJ (06/14/10 17:17:24):
Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Planet Earth moment at the beach
By Andrea Chase (05/12/10 14:32:27)
Related animals: Hawk, Mice

At the beach this weekend I was struck by awe when I saw the most beautiful hawk hovering, still less in the wind in the sky above me. The Hawk had a 5 foot wingspan, it was quite amazing and awe-inspiring, the ability to be so perfectly still riding the wind. I grew jealous, to be so free and playful in the wind. At first I was worried the Hawk was attempting to scoop down and grab by dog ziggy, it seemed to be staring right at us! Ultimately I realized that the Hawk was searching for something in the cliffs that juxtaposed the beach. No less than a minute later the Hawk dove down like a directed bullet right to the cliff side. Looping back up the Hawk had retrieved a field Mouse from its discreet nesting place on the cliff. The poor Mouse squirmed for the remainder of it's life in the Hawk's clutches. Eventually I could no longer watch the struggle as the Hawk began to get frustrated with the Mouse's tenacity. Although the Hawk won the battle for survival in this case, it was just a reminder to me of how human's have constructed an odd world disengaged from the idea of survival of the fittest. Human's ( at least in the privledged United States) are distinctly living in a socially enacted world removed from the daily struggle for life in terms of fighting off predators. A thought that had never occurred to me until now has now consumed my perception of how easily human's now live and reap the benefits of the earth with no real check and balance.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Other Related Research
Powerful Concepts from our Discussion with Deke Weaver
By Rachel Fleming (04/14/14 17:50:18)
Related animal: Wolf

The performance "The Wolf" by Deke Weaver first struck me as confusing but intriguing. During the course of the performance I felt myself getting absorbed by a swarm of ideas and meanings. I didn't feel like I understood a lot of what was going on, but I kept trying as it went along to piece things together and find connections. Some parts were deep enough to where I felt like I needed to bring myself back to reality. I was curious about some things like the glasses, the dances in the video, and various sounds. There seemed to be no clear answers until the discussion at the end, when I was able to piece together why he did some things in a particular way.

Through the discussion I was able to find answers to my questions solely by listening to Deke's insightful comments and elaborations.

Three ideas particularly stood out to me:

1. The idea that there is a desirable emotion associated with not being given an answer and having a sort of "shock" when confronted with something we cannot explain based on our current knowledge. This idea really resonated with me. Earlier today I was watching YouTube videos explaining quantum mechanics and was getting very frustrated (especially since this week I didn't understand the lectures on this topic and couldn't get help from my professor or a TA). It was not enjoyable for me to not have answers right in front of me. Deke's comments about the experience of self-discovery and surprise made me feel like I could use this approach to calm my frustrations and make my search for knowledge more enjoyable.

I also imagine that this is the feeling a lot of research scientists long for, since it probably means that there is a chance they are observing something new, important, and interesting for all of science.

2. The idea that cultural associations with animals shapes our actions and attitudes toward them. I had been aware of this idea in the back of my mind but hearing it described in a new way helped me to really understand the complete separation between the real animal and the human perception of it. Although I like animals a lot, there are probably still biased in my own thinking that are influenced by societal views.

3. The fact that Deke has uncertainty at times about the impact of his work on audiences relates to struggles I go through every day. I often question what impact my hard work will have on society, the environment, and in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes I wonder how my current and future contributions to science will be used, and who will fund them. I wonder if I'll be lucky enough to contribute a sentence to an undergraduate textbook, or if my work will be more interesting than useful. The fact that Deke also expressed on-and-off uncertainties he has about his work, but continues anyway, was inspiring.

[Write Comment]
Project Ideas
By Martin C. Shaver (04/08/10 11:33:39)
Related animal: Dog

Project Ideas

I have yet to hammer out one single idea for what project I am going to do involving the collaboration with animals. I'm thinking of two separate ones at the moment. The first idea i was thinking up was working with either raccoons, skunks, or both. the idea behind this was that they are both relatively cute animals, but they are scavengers and have some qualities people don't look for in pets, including possible rabies and smelly glands. Nonetheless, they are cute and also plentiful here in IV. I get a lot of visits from these animals at my house at the early part of the 65 block on Del Playa. They like to wander into my front and back yards and fiddle around with our trash. One particular thing of interest of the raccoons is that there is a gazebo out back of my house where two of my roommates live and raccoons like to climb up the later on the side of it, onto the roof. for some reason however, there are apparently raccoon battles that go on there. it seems that they just go up there to fight one another. interestingly though, there is absolutely nothing up there that they should be fighting over, just a blank, shingled, octagonal shaped roof. (i found this particularly funny because of the parallel drawn between a octagon fighting surface in mixed martial art competitions and the octagonal roof that these raccoons fight atop. the idea i would have for a project involving these raccoons would be to track them and see why they fight on top of this roof every so often.
the second and third ideas i have are in development is with dogs at the dog shelter. i want to go and interact with them and see if i can establish a relationship with a few of the dogs and see if i could track a change in their behavior based on regular interactions.
these are the ideas i have so far, but i'm interested in seeing how they develop.

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Project Ideas
By Andrew (06/10/13 19:33:45)
Interspecies Collaboration Week 4

I have a few ideas I can’t decide between for my interspecies collaboration final project. The first one was that I wanted to go around Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, and Big Bear Lake in search for dead animals. As I adventured around these various cities I would look for and collect the bodies of these animals and try to determine their death and then use the bodies of the animals to make people aware of many things they do wrong to animals that harm them and sometimes bring them to an early death. It’s pretty much the Sarah McLaughlin commercial without the sad music and depressing pictures. I’m not really sure how I want to represent this but that’s the start of my first idea. My second idea mainly has to do with sounds and hearing for animals. My mom is the veterinarian at the zoo in Big Bear and I visit her a lot so I was thinking of doing a project with the inhabitants of the Big Bear Animal Park. I first want to go around to 5-8 different species of animals and record their sounds for two hours each. Then I want to take those recordings and play them to a different species and record their reactions. For example, at the zoo right now there are two Bald Eagles named Alaska and Valentine. I want to sit next to their cage and record the sounds of their movements, screeching, eating, and any other noises that they make during the two hours. I then want to take this two hour recording and play it loud next to the pack of wolves to observe how they react to the sounds of the bald eagles if at all. During the playback for the pack of wolves I will video record the wolves’ reactions to the Bald Eagles. For this auditory project I would like to record and playback during various times of the day to get a range of reactions from the animals. I hope to observe many predatorial reactions and maybe even some violent or loving displays towards the sounds that the species of animals hear.

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Project Information
By Andrew (06/10/13 19:36:17)
Interspecies Audio Interactions
Unfortunately, this weekend, I was unable to make it back up to the Animal Park in Big Bear Lake like I had originally planned. I wanted to go back to the animal park and play sounds I had recorded from various animals and play them to completely different species. While I played these sounds, I would record the animals reactions with video. Instead of doing that this weekend I did more research on the sounds made by some of the animals that I’m working with for this project. Valentine and Alaska are two of the Bald Eagles I recorded sounds from at the Big Bear Animal Park so I did more research on the hearing and calls of Bald Eagles. American Bald Eagles do not have vocal chords, but instead use their “syrinx”, which is a bone chamber placed where the windpipe divides into the lungs in order to make their staccato- like calls. The Bald Eagles high pitched shrills and strong chirping are used in order to reinforce the relationship with their mate and also to warn all other animals that this is their territory. Found with a broken wing in 2007, Tremor, the burrowing owl, was one of my favorite species to record because he made many strange sounds and movements during recording. Burrowing Owls are appropriately named because they live in burrows underground. These burrows are often times already dug out by their previous inhabitants such as prairie dogs and squirrels. When I first started recording Tremor, he was hidden away in a hole and made rattling sounds very close to that of a rattle snake. This sound is to ward off any animal trying to take over the burrow. This rattling sound is pretty effective because it even made me believe there was also a snake in the burrow, and I freaked out a little standing about a foot away from it. When Tremor finally came out of the hole he started making chattering calls that were fast and sounded like a pretty obnoxious laugh. Like most owls, the Burrowing Owl’s hearing is about ten times better than humans. This is so they can hear and find their prey during the night. One of the most intriguing animals at the Big Bear Animal Park was Aurora the Arctic Fox. She was found by animal control in April 2012 on the rooftop of a house in Beverly Hills and brought to the animal park for rehabilitation. Aurora was pretty shy at first, but fortunately I was able to get some calls out of her after a few hours of sitting there. Aurora’s calls sounded like a broken up howl. Not like a wolf howl, but more like a coyote’s lighter pitched howl. It’s not a very pleasant sound at all and Aurora’s calls did become pretty loud at one point. The Arctic Fox has a very keen sense of hearing which they use to find and listen to prey beneath the surface of the snow and ice. When they locate the small animals, they pounce through the snow to grab the prey with their teeth and feet.

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Project Update
By Brianna Acuesta (04/28/14 13:13:48)
Related animal: Octopus

I have been thinking about several potential animals that I would want to work with and my mind keeps coming back to the octopus at the REEF. When we visited, they said that usually the octopus is not that active, and that seemed significant in terms of wondering whether or not the octopus would be willing to collaborate. It really seemed that they either had something to say, or they were expressing how bored they usually are and that seems grounds for finding some way to stimulate them.

I don’t have too much natural artistic ability other than photography, so I have struggled to think of a way that I could come up with an art project that would both incorporate the octopi’s movements and actually turn out looking good. A couple things that I have come up with are that I’d like to paint the octopus in a blurry way to signify its constant movements but with some tentacles whose suckers are very clear and representative of the interesting shape that they take on when they are both free from suction and suctioning (free would be a concave shape and suctioning would be completely flat). Something that also would be important to me when painting the octopus would be to paint eyes that seem knowing or smart, because octopi are very intelligent.

Another idea that came to me is that maybe I could spend some time with them and attempt to give them ribbon (with the REEF’s permission) and see how they play with it. I could then record that and study it and come up with perhaps a dance that exemplifies the movements if they are graceful, or maybe a dance that showcases the emotions the octopus seemed to be feeling as they started to play with the ribbon (for example, start off with slow movements because the octopus may be confused at first, and then progressively get faster or more entwined as the octopus really starts to play with the ribbon). This, of course, would only really work if the octopus seems to like the ribbon and if there are a range of motions to go off of.

One last idea that seems to be right up my alley is to record the octopus as they are active (I actually already have a video from that first day) and make some kind of glitch photography art featuring the octopus of course. Each glitch’s width would depend on the time between each movement. For example, if the octopus waited a little while before moving, the width might be a whole two inches, but if the time between two different movements is only a couple seconds, then the width would be much thinner in the picture.

All of these ideas are rough, of course, but I know that the only way I can start to figure out of I can even complete any of these projects is to visit the REEF again and talk to the staff and the octopus.

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Pupy Update
By Mona Luo (05/23/14 12:11:33)
Related animal: Pupa

These past two days Pupy has become much darker in color (characteristic of a moth about to emerge), and the exterior almost papery thin. The outer shell used to be pretty firm and a red/brown color, now it is like burnt sienna. Unfortunately we are leaving for our trip tomorrow morning! I don't know what to do. I hope he emerges this afternoon, otherwise I will have to find a friend to babysit and hopefully document the process.

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Reading 1
By Veronica Kittle (04/21/13 19:52:19)
The Man who talks to Whales
An interesting point brought up by the author in the first chapter was the idea of anthropomorphism. It’s describes the act of applying human characteristics to animals, such as the ability to walk upright, think human thoughts, and speak human languages. He gave the example of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, who is given all three of those abilities. Another point that stood out in this chapter was the introduction of the idea of natural wisdom. He claims that nature is too unsystematic to be completely entrusted by scientists, and that we should instead embrace “natural wisdom” which is based off of the interconnectedness of species. Science attempts to quantify and categorize nature so that we may better understand it. I’m not entirely sure what he expects to replace the scientific process other than the feeling of bonding with other species. He had a meaningful “collaboration” with a turkey in which the turkey produced gobbling noises while he played a flute. While he went on to produce a popular song incorporating the turkey’s noises, I’m not sure that we learned anything from this encounter about turkeys that could not be understood from science. At least with science, facts are repeatedly tested by isolating variables to understand exactly how and why an animal behaves the way it does.
Ch. 4
In chapter four, the author discusses the idea of interspecies protocol. This describes the relations between individuals, such as when two individuals of the same or different species come to some understanding between the two of them that allows them to coexist. This is distinct from symbiosis, which describes a mutually beneficial interaction between entire species. Symbiosis is the result of coevolution, in which two species evolve such that their interaction benefits both species. Symbiosis is what occurs between clownfish and anenomes. The author suggests that interspecies protocol could be occurring between some individual clownfish and anenomes. While it is not impossible, I highly doubt that the anemone, which has no centralized nervous system, could produce thoughts about a fish.

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Reflection: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
Reading 1 response
By Caitlin Gallagher (05/01/13 15:23:45)
Related animals: Anemone, Coyote, Hump Back Whale, Whale

In the first chapter Turkey Trot Nollman talks about how he had a difficult time finding a middle ground for his love of animals and music. When in Mexico Nollman reached a realization, instead of observing the animals and experimenting on them, we need to try to interact and communicate with the animals. The thing I found most interesting is what he says about the requirements of communication, “But it if it is truly to be considered communication, then it should also be based upon mutual respect. It must develop as an open-ended dialog where both participants have the equal power to direct the course and subject matter of the learning experience.” When interacting with animals I have something to gain from them and them from me instead of just observing I need to participate.

Chapter four talks about Interspecies Protocol, some species are dependent upon each other and have an understanding of the needs and habits of each other. It seems that humans have no regard for the interspecies protocol that other animals follow and this can lead to endangered species or extinction. I thought what Nollman said about protocol and symbiotic relationships was interesting, he asked, “do individual clown-fish and individual anemone also need to fine-tune their obviously symbiotic relationship to best but one another’s precise size, habitat, level of trust, and even personality? If this occurs, then protocol is the term for it.” In biology this relationship was referred to as symbiotic but if it is in fact protocol then it gives the anemone and clownfish a personality that may not simply be instinctual.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Reflection: Art Related to Animal Rights
Reading 2: The idiot, the Voyeur and the Moralist
By Caitlin Gallagher (06/05/13 01:41:34)
Steve Bakers article “the Idiot, the voyer and the Moralist” from “Artist Animal (posthumanities)” discusses whether contemporary artist can be trusted to act responsibly and ethically when dealing with animals.

1. What does Steve Baker think of Randy Malamud and others who criticize artists working with animals of being non-ethical?
Baker believes that artists have been known to act unethically towards animals but each case is different, an artist can choose to collaborate with an animal or use it as a tool but just because the process of an artist is unconventional does not mean it is unethical.

2. According to Baker, what is the issue with looking at the ethical issues of an artwork before making a proper reading of it?
Although the piece may be unexpected or disturbing the meaning behind the piece might raise bigger issues that need to be looked at and if this is understood or felt by the audience then the overall effect was justified.

3. What is some of Baker's criticism of the Rat Piece and Helena?
Baker says that Jones’s Rat Piece is unsettling and caused very strong reaction from the audience although he doesn’t discredit the work he does have some criticism over the unethical treatment of the rats. He says had that piece been done 20 years later it would have received a very different reaction.

4. Is Baker defending the Rat Piece and Helena? How/Why?
Baker justifies the artists intentions because although the subject he presented was disturbing the meaning behind the piece moved the audience but people were too quick to judge before they were able to grasp what Jones was trying to say.

5. According to Baker, can we trust artist to work with/use animals?
Baker says that it is important to be able to trust artists with animals because if we didn’t they would be limited. He says that most artists have a respect for animals and wouldn’t cause harm to them only very few feel differently.

6. Do you think artist have ethical responsibilities? Why/why not? What are those ethical responsibilities in regards to working with animals?
I do think that people should have some respect for the lives of animals. I think that it is cruel for an artwork to gain meaning from the suffering of another animal. It’s is unjust to value an art piece over the life of something. If anything can be art, there must be another way to express whatever it is you want the audience to take away from the piece. I think that an artist should take it as a challenge to find other ways of creating an artwork by abiding by ethical responsibilities.

7. What does Bryndis Snaebjornsdotter mean when she says it is impossible to ask if it is ethical to use animals in art without also asking if it is ethical to use them in science and for food? Do you agree/disagree?
I have to disagree although it is difficult to draw the line I think that using animals for food or medical purposes (not necessarily all science) can be justified. Our bodies are made to be omnivores there is no reason we should stop eating meat its part of the food chain. I also think that we have made many medical advancements through testing on animals that have saved billions of lives. Art does not need animals to thrive but the food and science do, why use them in an unethical way when it is not necessary.

Artist Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Reflection: Other Related Research
readings by Toni Fromhoff
By Jenna Ferri (06/04/10 18:37:51)
Dr Toni Fromhoff had some interesting things to say regarding dolphins both in her book and during her in class presentation. It was so appalling to me that the dolphins were mistreated so blatantly in public facilities. However, being someone who did swim with the dolphins, there are those facilities that come off as humane, but the public need to be educated. Taking us on a trip to the ocean as she did really made an impact to me on how beautiful these precious and delicate animals are. It was the open water and the miles of dolphins that really showed me just how rare this is of an experience.
As for her book, it was really interesting to read a book that was written by her and her colleague who had opposing scientific views. It was interesting to see how one felt that certain forms of captivity if well kept were humane and Toni felt the opposite. Toni's book also brought up good points on how others can learn from dolphins and there interactions with other species. She comments on how playful dolphins are there nature to interact with whales and even boats as a species for that matter. There interactions with us on the trip, even though it was not really apparent was evident in their bow riding and response to our enthusiasm.
Toni's book was a great reference before the trip to learn about how dolphins are by nature and how we can use our scientific knowledge of them to collaborate!

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
By Fey Cha (04/16/10 17:18:00)
Since the beginning of this quarter I have become more aware of how pretentious we human beings are. Yes, we have advanced to the top of the food chain and have mastered tool use to create towering skyscrapers, the Internet, and indoor snow resorts but at the end of the day that doesn't mean shit for humanity. Humans have become so obsessed with trying to be the best at everything that we have completely lost track of our place on this planet. We reproduce, overpopulate, fight, destroy, rebuild, and repeat. We believe we are the dominating species just because we can kill or capture every other species but that only shows how foolish we humans truly are. In all reality, we are just another species on this planet. The only difference is that we are the most ignorant ones and the other species have to put up with our stupidity.
If life on Earth were a high school humans would be the freshmen. We are brought into this world thinking we know everything just because we are educated; we try to prove ourselves to everyone else when the upperclassmen could really care less. We’re loud and obnoxious and don’t know our limits. LIMITS!
Humans fail because they don’t know their limits. Humans don’t know when to stop. The moment they find a good thing they try to get as much of it as they can. The best example is the simple idea of how humans prize an object not by its abundance but by its scarceness. Yes, it follows the law of supply and demand but in nature people tend to overlook the rate of production of these objects. It seems like the term limit is no longer a term referring to a maximum but more of a goal. I just hit 300 words with that last sentence so I shall continue this analysis on another reflection. Thanks for reading!

[Write Comment]

Comment by kjhoward (04/23/10 14:13:16):
I couldn't agree with you more. I've been realizing the same things as the quarter continues and it makes me really upset that we humans have been so focused on becoming "better" and somewhere along the line decided that we have dominion over everything. We are so out of touch with our animal selves, that most of us couldn't survive in nature if we tried. And what is most frustrating is that so many people just don't give a shit. Your analogy of humans as freshman is accurate in my opinion.
Reflection: Non-Art Interspecies Collaborations
reflection communication
By Michael Walter Lambert (05/02/09 17:56:43)
Related animal: Dog

I come over to my parents house with the intention of working with our family dog Mac. Mac is a West Highland White Terrier, male, and eight human years old. We know each other well, he seemed happy to see me as he greeted me at the door. I can't help but hear good things and happy energy from Mac. Knowing how much Mac likes hamburgers I was allowed to feed him one. He likes to play fetch with any of his many toys. He is always happier after a meal. From Santa Barbara I brought a video camera and a regular camera for potential projects with Mac, but first I wanted to try the 7-steps taught to us by Carol Gurney.
The first thing I do is sit down and follow Carol Gurney's steps to meditation. As I attempt to meditate, Mac grows restless. I'm not sure he will stay with me during the step one meditation phase. I realize I need to get the dogs attention so I begin reading the meditation steps out loud. Then a funny thing happened. Mac suddenly calmed down and started to relax. I could see these words soothing to him. He finally got comfortable. One great moment of recognition came when I was reading the step where you are supposed to imagine yourself walking on a beach and Mac laying on his side half asleep began kicking his feet as if he were trying to follow the direction! I now start step five; learn to focus. I am told to choose a communication line between me and the animal. Either visual. mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual. I do not feel comfortable doing any of these. I just follow the steps and hope for a vision; a sign. Again I read the instructions out loud and I see the dog is very interested. It appears to me that not only is he curious but he understands. I can feel him following the steps one by one as I would.
I attempt to meditate myself now that the dog is calmed down and resting. I do many breathing exercises and I begin to feel grounded, open, and calm. I begin asking the dog some questions. I get no answers at least not audibly or mentally. I do get a few visual mental pictures but I am not sure if that is me or the dog. Perhaps Mac did not feel like talking. I ask him many questions including "Is there anything you want me to know" and "what would you do about my personal problems." I get no answers but I do get a feeling from him, almost physical. I see dark anger. I am very aware that he is in the room. I can feel him. I think he is projecting. I can see he is tired I had just taken him for a walk. I love Mac, we connect on so many different levels even if not through language.

[Write Comment]
Reflection on "Dolphin Mysteries"
By Kirsten Howard (05/24/10 11:19:11)
Related animal: Dolphin

My attention was caught in chapter 5 of “ Dolphin Mysteries,” especially on page 133 when she discusses dolphins in captivity and dolphin training. I do not agree with the concept of keeping dolphins in captivity nor do I agree with training them or trying to get specific responses from them. She discusses it in this way, “The training of dolphins is a venue for the in-depth exploration of dolphin-human communication. Dolphins in captivity and trainers communicate through positive reinforcement: dolphins learn to modify their behavior to obtain a reward according to signals learned from the trainer.” While this method of training is not physically harmful, I do not agree that it is a form of interspecies collaboration or true communication, because the dolphins are working for a reward in this case, and not working for the sake of communication. It is therefore not a study of their true nature, but rather a study of behavior modification as laid out by humans. This relates back to anthropomorphism that we discussed in class, in which humans project onto animals. Instead of trying to teach dolphins things, why don’t we let them teach us now? It is time for us to learn from animals, and recognize that they embody a wisdom that may not necessarily be in the intellectual sense that we recognize, but rather, it is in a different sense altogether, and connected to the natural world in ways that we should be more open to witnessing and appreciating.

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Reflection: Non-Human Animal Perception and Cognition
reflection on the inclass movies
By Jenna Ferri (05/07/10 16:01:11)
Related animal: Bear

The movies we watched in class this week were insightful and enlightening. While both has controversial issues supporting them like whether or not the two parties were actually helping the bears, the individuals definitely connected with these bears on a deeper level than many humans have.
The first movie was interesting in the fact that this couple didn't want to necessary get close to the bears and treat them as pets but instead wanted to observe their mannerisms and understand them better for educational purposes. This was apparent in the way they raised the orphaned bear cubs. They kept a very hands off approach and tried to keep them as wild as possible through minimum human contact. By treating all of the bears they came across in this way, they were trying to prove that in a peaceful relationship between bear and human, neither party should feel threatened.
In the second movie he took an entirely different approach, one I did not agree with. He treated these bears as if they were his pets and ignored the fact that human encounters were foreign to them and his way of interacting was probably threatening. By naming the bears it became obvious his obsession to treat these bears like pets or even equals not wild animals. What I disliked most was the way he tricked the bears to come closer to him by targeting their curiousity and then would hit them when they got to close for his comfort. This push pull attitude was confusing to the bears and in my opinion was not a positive experience. Also him thinking he was guardian of these bears was also false because he was only really in the background of their lives.
Overall the films were interesting and gave two different views on human bear collabortation and I enjoyed them both very much.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Animal Communication
Reflection: Barbara's methods for animal connection
By Rachel Visalda (04/26/10 23:54:56)
When Barbara Janell facilitated the exercise to connect and feel what it is to be a particular creature, I didn’t really have a specific animal in mind. As she spoke I let my brain wander and allow for spontaneous thoughts. Immediately I became aware of a sensation of losing my limbs and imagined myself in another form. At first it was difficult- to be honest, I was skeptical of her methods. However, as soon as I latched onto this feeling of no longer being in my own body, I felt the sensation of crawling on the ground, of using my head to lead my movements-I felt what it was to be a snake.

After the exercise, I wondered which snake’s energy I had attempted to tap into, but didn’t think much of it until I got home after class and my roommate announced that she was getting a new baby boa. I’m not saying that it was this boa that I had necessarily connected with, but it is interesting that without effort, I had automatically thought of a snake during the exercise. How convenient that this new animal entered our apartment right after Barbara Janell’s workshop.

On the other hand, I’m still doubtful of some of the exercises that Barbara showed us. Is it simply me projecting my own thoughts? Am I only interpreting the snake’s feelings as a human, as I think they would? Is it just my imagination running away with me?

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Reflection: Other Related Research
Reflections on Chapter 5 and 6 in Dolphin Mysteries
By Heather Sielke (05/18/10 05:33:07)
Related animals: Dolphin, Whale

In the book "Dolphin Mysteries" the part I liked a lot was that the dolphins like to play. That they play with seaweed and other creatures is great. I think it is a little rude to be using the octopus as a ball but funny that it got stuck to one of the dolphins faces. It is interesting to me that the only time Tony felt she was in grave danger was with captive dolphins that she was in the tank with. I feel that we put that kind of danger usually more with wild animals and that we have trained captive animals to not be. The interactive dolphin program can be the most dangerous it said in the book and when she came to talk to the class we found out they have to use so much chlorine to clean the tank that some of the dolphins go blind from it. Also the kids feed the dolphin whatever they want to throw at them and this can be very dangerous. I feel like it is much more exciting to see dolphins and whales in the wild and if done properly it can be much safer and enjoyable for the dolphins.

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Reflection: History/Philosophy - Relationship Human/Non-Human
Response to "Fear of the Unfamiliar"
By Matthew Roy Reeves (04/20/10 15:51:23)
Related animal: Hermit Crab

“Fear of the Familiar” delves into five categories that ironically confront the “characteristically postmodern dissolution of categories…in which categories and boundaries remain firmly in place” (166).
“Persistence of Animal Categories” describes different perspectives on an animal by comparing their wild and domesticated behavior. Philosophers Deleuze and Guattari describe “three kinds of animals:… ‘demonic animals,’ ‘state animals,’ and individuated animals.’”(168).
“They Are Perfectly Safe” describes the aversion of postmodern artist and philosopher toward domesticated animals. Baudrillard described the desire for these beings stemmed from an anxiety of castration. I find the desire is light-hearted and less sexually compensatory, however.
“An Unlikely Alliance” unites the artist with the animal in the creative process. “Sentimentality” strikes at the root of postmodern aversion toward pets, given that animals cannot live as they are perceived by their owners without unnatural removal from their wild origins. Taxidermist Emily Mayer explains that “when looking at the realities of death as well as life in the wild, ‘its hard to sentimentalize.’” (174).
“Living Inexpertly with Animals” reveals the casual interest in experiencing life in an interspecies environment. Postmodern painters are mentioned to paint their pets from life, where the sharing of the space is the collaborative effort (180). “Philosophers and Their Cats” legitimize the interspecies lifestyle among postmodern thinkers. Derrida’s cat, for instance, “allows him to see something of the otherness of all non-human animals” (186).
My final thought regards the audience of the fear of the familiar. Humans are the intended spectators of philosophical inquiry or artistic endeavors. Using animals is merely a base bridge to their personal levels, their vulnerabilities. Do not postmodern thinkers subsequently transform the animal into a pet by presenting their despising of the role of the pet to the audience?

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Response to animal communication workshop
By Veronica Kittle (04/22/13 11:31:55)
Related animal: Dog

The experience with the animal communicator was unusual but interesting. Barbara seemed like a very sincere and caring woman, who really believed that she had a special ability to telepathically communicate with animals. Let me say first that there has never been any conclusive evidence to support telepathic communication. Her main strategy to teach and convince others of this type of communication was to say that when done properly, you could feel the emotions or pain of the animal, or even see its thoughts. In the movie about animal communicators, one of the people taking the workshop commented how they weren’t sure if the voice inside their head came from her own mind or from the mind of the animal. She said that when you say “hello” in your mind, it is easy to imagine someone saying “hello” back. That’s all this is; imagination. What I’ve learned is that you can often make people believe something either because they want it to be true, or they fear that it is true. People who want to believe in animal telepathy can imagine that the feelings or pain that they feel is what the dog in the room feels, especially with the encouragement from Barbara. This is very similar to how religion can convince people to believe in the supernatural because either they want it to be true, or they fear the consequences if they don’t believe. The fact is, there has never been any evidence to support any religious mythology, but if so many can believe in religion, I can easily see how many can similarly believe in animal telepathy. It’s a nice thought, to think that an animal can communicate with us through some magical telepathic link. I used to wish I could when I watched Wild Thornberries as a kid. It just seems like another example of anthropomorphism, to assume that other species can communicate in a human language (which is what the movie seemed to imply).

As for the assignment to try and communicate with an animal in our neighborhood, I could never make a serious attempt to communicate, for I knew I would just be talking to myself. So instead, I simply tried to imagine myself in the place of the animal. I took a walk along the lagoon on campus and came across a beautiful little blue bird (maybe a blue jay? I don’t know my birds too well). He was holding what seemed to be a seed in his mouth. I tried to imagine where he got the seed, and what he planned to do with it next. I managed to stand there close to the bird for several minutes before he took off. It was a very nice experience, in a beautiful place.

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response to animal communicator
By Tanasa Slovin (05/04/10 11:20:01)
I have been dwelling on how I should go about responding to the animal communicator who visited us in class the other week. To be completely honest, I was not feeling the vibes that she was initiating to our class and communicating to the animals. Personally, I love animals and I’m not saying that I don’t believe in such a thing as an animal communicator, however, Barbara did not convince me. I know that wasn’t her purpose, but I felt that her views and her way of having this gift of communicating with animals and nature was not exactly executed the way I had imagined. I am a very spiritual person and I have a strong love and connection with the earth and animals in general, but the seminar in class was portrayed to be slightly flawed. It was difficult seeing that a lot of the class was feeling her vibes, and I wasn’t but it’s just how I felt. Anyway, I wanted to be completely honest and was glad to be exposed to the way she thinks and her particular views on communicating with animals and nature. Maybe one day I will remember all of the things she said, for example communicating with the energy of the trees. My view on the entire spectrum is that yes, I communicate with my dog Bradley in a way that involves a companionship. He’s comforting and always there for me, but I don’t believe that if we just stare into each other’s eyes and exchange feelings of a mental state that he will begin to feel what I’m feeling and vice versa. I think it’s healthy to be surrounded by animals and nature on a certain level, but I feel that the communication is more of a companionship and awareness of life and nature. I love spending time with my dog and I absolutely love to be surrounded by nature, but what I love about it is just the simple point of existing together, as opposed to a more intellectual form of communication, it’s more of a knowing, than a believing.

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Reflection: Animal Communication
Response to Barbara Janelle’s Seminar on Animal Communication
By Rachel Fleming (04/21/14 19:38:43)
Related animal: Dog

I first want to say that I’m thankful for the experiences I’ve had so far in this class. I may not hold the same beliefs as some others in the class about mystical or spiritual phenomenon, and I may not have a knack for feeling or understanding abstract or expressive art, but I’ve been diligent about reflecting on each experience and recording my critiques/opinions.

In the last class I can honestly say I tried to keep an open mind and suppress my demands for evidence in order to have new and interesting experiences (as much as I resented doing so). Although I may not have taken away some of the messages that Barbara intended for the class, I have taken away other important messages. What I found is that I learned a great deal about a new kind of spiritual “art” that I didn’t know existed before. I had heard of animal communicators, but had no idea how they went about reading animals. I wondered if it was based on scientific evidence (and if that evidence was sound or pseudoscientific), or if it was something else entirely.

From what I gathered from today, animal communication may be a very broad practice. Some may use communication methods that were developed scientifically, while others may solely rely on nonscientific, telepathic sensing and feeling. I honestly do not think that the telepathic techniques are in any way possible, which was mostly what I saw today. The notion of being able to actually put oneself into another body using imagination is (I’m terribly sorry) not possible. I was very glad when Mona asked a question about how to know if the signals we were getting were internal. That was a great question. I personally think that any signals or thoughts that crossed our minds today when pretending to be another animal were made up by our own brains…similar to what they do when we are dreaming. There has to be a neuroscientific explanation for this effect. The act of picturing oneself as another, though, is not useless. In fact, it is something everyone should do or at least consider regularly. Thinking about the needs of others and being sensitive to the emotions and responses of those around us is a great life skill. I’ve heard it called “emotional intelligence.”

The tree exercise was different. At first I wasn’t entirely happy that I needed to go talk to a tree. Interestingly, I knew I would get the sense that everyone else probably got from being near a tree. They do seem to have a sort of “presence.” Even I’ll admit that. However, this could be due to a multitude of things going on psychologically in our heads. When I walked away from my tree, I noticed only a change in temperature, which others may have felt but interpret differently. When I put my back to the tree, I felt a sense of comfort. However, I can feel the same kind of comfort from an inanimate object, such as a pillow against my back on my bed. I was careful in my interpretations of sensations. Although near the end of the encounter I was sort of over the idea of connecting with a tree, I did ask it a question….what is the meaning of life? My “response” was: sunlight. Ha…

Anyway, I kept feeling uncomfortable due to the unscientific nature of the seminar and couldn’t shake my skepticism. I have been trained to question everything I hear, and every scientific bone in my body was aching at some point during the experience. That sounds whiney but I really did feel quite uncomfortable. This was especially due to the fact that I LIKED Barbara. She’s so nice and has the most relaxing voice I’ve ever heard. It was like listening to piano music. I felt as though I was in a native Chumash tribe and that I was listening to an elder speak. Because I liked her (and also because I wanted to be polite to our guest) I didn’t want to offend her in any way and it was difficult for me to hide my expressions knowing she could probably tell that I was tense by my closed body language. I withheld many of my comments because I didn’t want to come off as being sarcastic, having already told the class earlier that I thought telepathy was crazy.

I did walk away with important new insights. I thought about how my relationships with humans and nonhumans could improve by remembering to put myself in their shoes. I also will try to put myself in the present and sense my surroundings as a way to relieve stress. This may be incredibly useful…I’ve been reading articles on stress relief for some time and have a new strategy to try. However, I think the most important takeaway from this experience was learning about my personal response to the information being presented to me. My reactions, feelings, and opinions about the topic provided me with insight about my values and thinking process. I value peace amongst differing minds and logical conclusions based on solid evidence.

I’m sorry to say that I will not be trying to communicate with an animal telepathically in the future. It would just be too uncomfortable for me. I would feel guilt for behaving in a way that a professional scientist would not, and this may cause a bit of internal conflict. Instead, I will think of an alternative. Since the goal is to gather information from another species, I will read the animal externally. I’ll comment on the degree by which I think my interpretation of the behavior was correct or incorrect. I hope this is alright.

Also, I keep wondering if others think I’m being closed-minded. I doubt anyone other than Lisa reads my entries, but here’s a note on that issue. When the information from Barbara’s talk was registering in my brain, it was not hitting a brick wall. It was hitting a filter, and very few points went through. Open-minded does not mean accepting everything you hear. It means considering everything and then making a conscious choice about whether or not you will accept it.

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Comment by LisaJ (04/26/14 15:09:27):
Great comments Rachel. I really appreciate how you are working on creating an understanding of your own thinking, reactions and believes. I actually also have a good amount of skepticism in me, but for me that makes me want to engage with this stuff more. Its like I have two completely different sides that wants to argue with eachother all the time…yes it does get exhausting.
Reflection: Speciesism and Animal Rights
Response to Deke's performance of Wolf
By Montana McLeod (04/30/14 23:28:28)
Deke’s artistic approach on representing the endangered species is a brilliant idea. I truly believe that by declaring a species endangered we are placing a significant status on the animal in the natural world, however, that significance is typically lost as just a factual, brief statement.
The unknown threat of the endangered species list is that many animals enter the list and continue to persist or enter into a slow decline, but few recover enough to come off the list. In fact there are very few cases where species are taken off the list due to successful rehabilitation. Yes, providing statistics and dates as to when the animal is predicted to go extinct is effective and impacts the reader, but it really just provides people with the facts regarding the endangered species. I think what people need is to adhere to the emotions of the human population and to use the disposition of the animal to inspire others into taking actions. And not just within the constraints of its function in the ecosystem, but in the beauty of the interactive experiences and cultural adaptations.
Deke’s performance became more than just an educational reflection of the wolf species; it became an interpretation of their magnificent power. I was truly delighted to hear Deke discuss the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone and how its introduction has changed the river. I have often read about their rehabilitation, needless to say this concept baffles me. Just say it, “Wolves changed the rivers.” It sounds absurd in some ways due to the typical depiction of wolves as the ultimate predator, the lone wolf, the big bad wolf. There are few nursery rhymes of the wolf as the clandestine hero. The environmental impact created by the reintroduction was a massive success, and I think any form of success with the Environmental Protection Agency is optimistic of a prosperous future. With that and the demonstration of the wolf through out cultural ideologies, I found a forthcoming appreciation for Deke’s extensive information regarding the many different perceptions of the Wolf and its significance to the living world.
With that being said, I also became vastly enlightened while, I must admit, simultaneously confused through out his performance. Deke was wonderful at engaging the audience in his seamless transitions and metaphysical connection to the wolf. His transitions seemed effortless and I often turned back to find him in a whole new attire without noticing the change at all.
I really valued the performative interpretation of the wolves through dance. Sometimes portraying animals in dance can be complicated in embodying a separate species without a comical approach. However, the wolves were well represented and effective in inducing the intended emotional response. Deke’s performance really helped me to construct an idea of how to portray an idea through performative art. I valued the way he was able to facilitate the wolf into a whole new image, separate from the preconceived notions that we have overtime acquired. His performative style made me question the ways in which we can interpret and portray art. I think that I have created this idea of the ways I know how to create art, but neglected that art can truly be represented in many explicit ways. The boundaries are essentially permeable.

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Response to Grizzly Films & Russel's Response
By Tanasa Slovin (05/09/10 19:40:22)
The two films, “Walking With Giants” and “Grizzly Man” were filmed in very different ways that depicted the nature of the bears, Timothy Treadwell and Charlie Russell in a diverse manner. With “Grizzly Man”, I am not sure just how to view the true Mr. Treadwell seeing as it is so controversial with Charlie’s response to Timothy and the way that Herzog depicted the film. Who really knows how Treadwell wanted to be viewed or what he personally would have liked to be leaked to the public, etc. Bottom line is what’s done is done and no one will ever really know the truth behind the raw footage that only Herzog holds. Herzog definitely was successful in portraying the entertainment aspect of the film and showing the quirky, flamboyant, yet brave personality of Treadwell. With the film “Walking With Giants”, I personally did not like the fact that Charlie Russell used electric fences to confine the bears and protect himself. Bottom line is you don’t mess with nature and animals that are dangerous. Russell said it himself in the film, “One of our greatest concerns is that the cubs become too dependent on us.” I think it’s selfish of humans to act as though these bears are their pets- even though I know that that is exactly what Russell & Maureen did not want to do or portray. I think that if these people really want to learn about bears and observe them than that’s all that they should do... meaning that humans should only look but not touch. In response to Charlie’s response to Timothy, I think it’s absurd to focus so much on whether or not Timothy used pepper spray or an electric fence, obviously hurting bears was the last thing Timothy wanted to do, even if it put his life at risk. I personally do not think one should put themselves in the position of being killed simply to want to interact with these animals. If you love an animal so much you will leave it alone. Having this crave to want to interact with animals whom are so ferocious and using something like pepper spray in defense just completely goes against Russell’s love for the bears. I think it’s appropriate to study, observe and learn from them but I think Russell and everyone else with this passion should do it at a distance and respect their land, space and lifestyle.

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Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Response to Jim Nollman
By Norah Eldredge (04/11/10 08:56:06)
Related animals: Fish, Turkey

Of these two chapters by Jim Nollman, I found when he was defining what it meant to collaborate with an animal, what our relationship with them currently is, the be the most interesting.
The turkey introduction was a great way to understand how one could start to see these animals differently. He started out experimenting on the turkey and he quickly realized that even though annoying the turkey did get a response, he was not playing the flute for the turkey or with the turkey, but still in the roles of “human” and “subject”.
The next chapter explored things that I have thought about many times before. There is a divide that humans have between them and animals. We as humans need to explore ways to live with animals in a manner of mutual respect for each other. That all species are just trying to live and have energy and vitality to give to their world and environment. There is no greater species, but instead we have been given the opportunity as humans to change the current relationship that we have.

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Response to Readings Artist|Animal & Bee Art
By Mona Luo (05/19/14 01:15:04)
Related animal: Bee

The reading from Artist|Animal raised many uncomfortable and possibly unanswerable questions and concerns. But that was the point. Steve Baker does not outright condemn the two artists in this introduction as many people are wont to do. Instead, he opens his mind and the readers to consider what can be learned from these highly controversial pieces. To dismiss the pieces for being unethical would be both a poor display of faith in the artist as well as unproductive.
Both Rat Piece and Helena addressed the issue of audience intervention. Kim Jones remarked that if the audience had intervened the piece would not have been a failure. The fact that they did not says much about both art and human nature. If you had asked any audience member before they had seen the piece if they would have stopped a man from setting rats on fire, I’m sure you would have had a unanimous response that they would. And yet, in the heat of the moment, not one of them did. The position of audience member, the context of performance art, and the persona of artist all worked towards effacing the sense of responsibility in the viewers. It is easy to stand back a wag a finger at the artist, but it is also necessary to consider the audience as well. Physically, they could have stopped the act, but psychologically they were in no condition to do so. In many ways this harkens back to the infamous Milgram experiments regarding authority and diffusion of responsibility. Rat Piece gives insights to the ugly truths of human nature that would not have been unearthed except in the face of such inhumanity. I found it surprising that Evaristti received such backlash for Helena when he was not the one who switched on the blender. Although he may have thought that to kill was excusable for art, so too did whoever pressed the switch. Helena brings us face to face with the capacity for atrocity in the name of art.
The question of whether it was worth it, or necessary, or just to sacrifice these helpless animals in the name of art calls into question other practices as well. Bryndis Snaebjornsdotter makes this point when addressing the use of animals in science and for food as well. I don’t think it is fair to condemn one without considering all three. Is it fair to kill a cow so that a person can enjoy a burger when an artist is punished for leaving goldfish in blenders, giving insight to the capacity of humans for cruelty? Art has often been considered a luxury, but it is more than that. It is a medium which has the power to call into question the current state of affairs. It is not about complacency or norms, it is about challenging thought. Steak is a luxury. It is easy to dismiss these two artists as cruel or perverted, but then other “cruel and perverted practices” in the “noble” realm of science should be condemned as well. And perhaps they should. But since I enjoy eating meat, I feel I have no right to reprimand artists or scientists because I have likely been condoning activities that are as bad or worse than those listed in the introduction of this book.
As for Bees Making Art…the article was less controversial, but also raised some interesting points pertinent to this class. For instance, the question of what is a collaboration. The article begins by addressing artists working with bee byproducts such as wax. In this instance, the bees have no say whatsoever in the final work of art. Then artists using the bees to build the artwork itself. And yet, the bees still had almost no say in how the final work looked (not to mention they were still not present in the installation itself). Then the bees themselves as the art in instances of bee bearding. The bees were induces to swarm by the artist, but they were otherwise free to do as they chose. And finally works that really worked at considering the needs and natural behaviors of the bees themselves. This seems to be the zenith of the collaborative examples given in this article. Both the freedom of the bees is relatively preserved, while onlookers are welcome to admire their behavior in an artistic context. I don’t know how I feel about this as collaboration. It seems instead like an educational exhibition in a natural history museum.

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Response to Russell and Grizzly Documentaries
By Alli Harrod (05/12/10 16:04:23)
Related animal: Grizzly Bear

In Charlie Russell's response to the work and death of Timothy Treadwell and Werner Herzog's "Grizzly Man," Russell juggles Treadwell's methods and protocol in his interactions with grizzly bears with Herzog's skewed portrayal of Treadwell and his ethics. First, Russell explains that he and Treadwell personally differed in methods and protocol with grizzlies. While Russell used pepper spray and electric fences for his personal safety he criticized Treadwell for not doing the same. He warned Treadwell against not using precautions, claiming that Treadwell's death would "undo" any of Treadwell's efforts to change the relationship between humans and grizzlies. Russell also points out that Treadwell's methods and protocol did, however, work in the relationship between he and the bears successfully for thirteen years and that, with Herzog's portrayal of Treadwell, this fact is commonly overlooked by viewers who mostly see his death as a "deserving" one. Consequentially, Russell argues that Treadwell's work as presented by Herzog actually reinforces the opposite of Treadwell's message, that grizzlies are violent beings and that their relationship with humans should be one of fear so that bears do not attack humans and humans feel justified to carry guns and shoot bears. Herzog's work, Russell claims, traditionally aims to present bizarre characters, so Treadwell was presented as a "nut case with a death wish." He suggests that Jewel Palovak, Treadwell's ex-girlfriend who received all of Treadwell's tapes, should have been more discerning in filmmakers and found someone unlike Herzog who would have been more critical, knowledgeable, and "sympathetic towards bears." Russell states that Herzog's commentary actually "expounds his own, very simple ideas about nature and how man doesn't belong out there in nature with all these 'horrible' animals." I believe that when comparing "Grizzly Man" to "Walking with Giants: The Grizzlies of Siberia," an example of the importance between discerning filmmakers' methods of presentation and point of view emerges. Contrary to what Herzog presented, in "Walking with Giants: The Grizzles of Siberia" we see the embodiment of Russell's theory that grizzlies are "trustworthy...and man is not." In this film we saw how methods and protocol between humans and grizzlies differed (from Treadwell) and how an exact opinion of proper protocol was depicted (unlike what Herzog characterized of Treadwell.) While there were no scenes of pepper spray usage like Russell discussed, there were plenty of depictions of the use of a cabin and an electric fence for the safety of humans and baby grizzlies involved. I think that between the two documentaries there is a significant difference in protocol and personal ethics over how to keep one "safe" and what that means in the land of the grizzlies.

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Response to the Animal Communicator
By Natalie Croak (04/13/13 17:09:12)
Related animal: Dog

During the past two lectures we have been discussing the concept of animal communication. I had heard of the concept of dog whisperers before but I didn't really know the full scope of it. I had no idea that animal communicators believe that they can communicate with animals hundreds of miles away and even with ones that have passed away. I was skeptical of animal communicators because although I believe that animals can communicate with each other much better than we believe they can, I do not think that they can communicate with us in a way that we would be able to understand. Also if communicators are able to talk to animals telepathically, why are they not able to do the same with humans? It would seem that psychically communicating with individuals of your own species would be easier than interspecies communication. I think that animals are able to communicate with one another and with humans more through body language, sounds, and scent markings than with actual thoughts.
I wish that I'd asked the animal communicator more about talking to deceased pets because I'm curious to know if she believes that animals have their own form of heaven. She obviously believes that their spirit continues on after their death but I wonder what she thinks their souls are now doing.
I think that the most interesting part of the workshop was when she had us attempt to go inside of our own pets. I have a yellow lab named Wally who lives in the Bay Area with my parents so I tried to think of what my dog would be doing at that time and what he would be thinking about. My dog is lazy and spends most of the day sleeping on his bed in the living room so that wasn't very interesting to think about so I started thinking about the cats that I live with. I live in a co-op with four cats named Oliver, Gypsy, Agamemnon, and Jake. I decided to get inside of Jake's head because he is almost completely blind. I imagined what it would be like to climb on furniture and play with Agamemnon while only having cloudy vision. Most of the time Jake doesn't act like he's blind, though he seems more cautious than other cats when jumping on or off of furniture. It was an interesting exercise and it got me thinking about possibly doing a collaboration with Jake in the future.

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Response to Toni Frohoff's Discussion & Ideas on Dolphin Collaboration Project
By Alli Harrod (05/23/10 21:45:49)
Related animal: Dolphin

In Toni Frohoff's discussion about dolphins with our class she shared knowledge that will help us with our dolphin collaboration projects on the boat on Tuesday. She discussed a range of topics from "dolphinality," echolocation, types of dolphins, threats that dolphins face as a species, and what we can do (or not do) to help. "Dolphinality," Toni explained, is a term that characterizes individual identities/distinctive personalities that dolphins have which separates each dolphin from the rest of the dolphin species. Dolphins are very social and live within their own "dolphin culture," in "fusion/fission" groups similar to human cultures, where dolphin societies are made up of individual associations in smaller 'subcultured' groups. Communication amongst these groups happens in various ways. Some of the communicative language that dolphins use, Toni explained, are echolocation, whistling, high frequency clicking, and blowing bubbles. She described that dolphins whistle in order to identify a speaker and express themselves through high frequency clicking or blowing bubbles (which she added, may be an expression of excitement or delight.) Their most advanced form of communication, however, is echolocation, which we as humans still know little about. Toni explained that echolocation for dolphins is like seeing sounds in frequencies, as humans would see x-rays as an analog, adding that their echolocation is far more advanced than our sonar.

The different types of dolphins that Toni identified and discussed with us are the coastal and offshore bottlenosed dolphins and the common dolphins, including a short-beaked and a long-beaked species. The short-beaked and long-beaked common dolphins are different species of dolphins because they still can not reproduce together since their genes are so different. However, both species' societies often move and interact in schools and super schools (over 1000 dolphins plus!) She explained that our class trip would be likely to see large schools or super schools swimming around our boat but regardless, we should heed the Marine Mammal Protection Act. This act states that only if animals (in this case dolphins) approach you, may you "hang out" with them and humans are never allowed to seek them out. Heeding this act, we discussed methods of dolphin interaction from a boat that does not breach its rules nor threaten to harm.

Ideas for dolphin collaboration project:

Many of my ideas prior to Toni's discussions with us and the knowledge that we could not stick anything over the edge of the boat, all of my ideas involved putting objects in the water in order to attract the dolphins closer to the boat. Since these ideas threaten to modify or change dolphin behavior, I disregarded them. Now I would like for my contributions to our class project to be related to the hydrophone and documentation of the event. Since dolphins' main form of communication involves sound under the water, I would really love if Toni's hydrophone works and is allowed on the boat. I would like to whistle and/or scat to the dolphins and see how they like it. Also, I converged with Heather, Travis, and James, and we have come up with ideas to present the event to everyone at the show. We figured that many people are not going to be aware of our interactions with the dolphins and what our intentions were unless we show a first hand account with some explanation. I think that all of our work involving interspecies collaboration in this class would be undermined if we did not present what we learned and the interactions that we have had in a way that an audience can relate to and resonate with (and hopefully decide as individuals that they would like to heed example and try interspecies collaboration for themselves and another species.)

Film -

Documentary/"Mock"umentary style (not the whole thing, just a little bit)

1. introductions (so that a viewer can know who we are and what we're doing)
A. Lisa
B. Toni
C. Captain
D. Some students
(hopefully this will give a picture of a statement of purpose)

2. 4 Cameras
A. One or Two on top of boat capturing (both) sides of water
B. Two interacting with students and projects
C. Heather's photo camera for stills

- maybe hook up microphone to camera?
-involve hydrophone recordings

3. Be in certain places for 4:30 ** recording moment (determine this amongst our group while we are on the boat and we evaluate what's going on)

4. Try to capture a brief description by a student or two from each project so that the viewer can get a sense of what is going on...***so that we don't just have a bunch of people flapping around a boat in black and white seemingly with out rhyme or reason and then some shots of some dolphins***...and then edit it to where there would be a brief description and then a shot of dolphin response.

This would be a good way to involve all different people from the class, what our purpose is/what we are trying to accomplish in connection with the dolphins, their actions, and footage of it...

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Revised Profile
By Erik Shalat (04/17/13 00:45:12)
Related animals: Bird, Dog

Hello! My name is Erik Evan Shalat, and I am a long time compatriot of animals. Over the course of my life i’ve had three dogs, a cockatoo and several hamsters. I am a senior art major at University of California Santa Barbara and Interspecies Collaborative seemed like a great way to kick off my last quarter of college. In my time at UCSB i’ve always enjoyed watching the animal life on and off campus, watching the birds down at the lagoon and feeding the raccoons late at night outside the dorms. My favorite animals are fruit bats. Any mammal that can fly is okay in my books. As a cartoonist I have realized that in the same way that giving animals human-like characteristics makes them more relatable, giving humans animalistic traits or animal like postures makes their personalities more identifiable. My relation to animals hasn’t always been so beneficial, though. My cockatoo, Toby, is a problem child. He alternates between singing to me lovingly to getting out of control and biting me on a daily basis. Most of the scars on my body are from my bird’s outbursts. I think he is my closest animal relation, rocky though it is. I taught him to speak, he knows how to say “Hello Erik.” Unfortunately those are the only two words he knows and no matter what we try to teach him nothing really sticks. One of my goals for this class is to better understand the thought processes of animals to better get into Toby’s head and hopefully calm him down so that my parents won’t get rid of him while i’m away. My dog, Sandy, is more my dad’s dog but she sleeps in my room and waits for me when I go away to college, it’s very cute.

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Santa Cruz island
By Michael Walter Lambert (04/22/09 20:42:06)
Related animals: Bird, Fish, Flea, Fox, Frog, Human, Insect, Lizard, Pond Life, Quail, Spider

This past weekend our group from our class 185 LJ Interspecies collaboration went to Santa Cruz Island, one of the Channel Islands. Santa Cruz is an hour and a half boat ride from Ventura. The harbor was Island Packers. This trip allowed us to experience nature the natural way, to see other forms of life in an unaltered way. The trip included sea life as well as life on land. Along with the animals there were countless species of plant life. Apparently there is a movement to remove all non-native plants from the island. So we as a class saw how the landscape looked with both categories of plants. There are common plants, the invasive plants, and even plants endemic to the island. There are plants at Santa Cruz Island that you can't find any where else in the world. I don't know how but people are trying to get rid of invasive plants.
The location of the island and its mountainous terrain makes it hard for larger land mammals to inhabit the island. There isn't much as far as animal life on the island, this even goes for human life. Surprisingly humans have not inhabited the island or if they had they had left. Most of the larger mammals on the trip we saw were sea mammals. Although I didn't see, apparently there were dolphins and sea lions. Some of our group went sea diving and saw many sea animals. But personally from the boat I saw, I think, two whales. They came up from the water every few minutes, and they seemed curious about the boat. They must live close to the surface since they need to breath air. It seems they are social since we saw them in a pair. I enjoyed their fluid motions, and their apparent curiosity of our boat. They are quite friendly, and of course enormous in size. Their shear size makes them relatively easy to locate. I heard they communicate through sound and even have been the subject of a song with a human collaborator.
As far as other sea life I saw crabs, fish, and tadpoles. Interestingly the tadpoles are in small pools of water and are immensely abundant which is strange because we encountered such a small number of adult frogs. The crabs breath in water but do spend some time on land.
As far as other animal life we mainly just saw frogs and lizards and many insects. It was almost like more of an insect world, really. As far as land mammals there were freak like skunks and miniature foxes. The foxes weighed about four pounds. I saw neither of these but had heard of sightings of both from the group. What I did see was an ever moving world of wild life bugs. Just above my bed in the cabin was a whole family of daddy longlegs. There were easily ten plus spiders a foot from my bed. I even witnessed one of the smaller spiders devouring a mosquito. The mosquitos were very into us, we are their parasitic food. The place was busing with insects both visually and audibly. The loudest of which had to be the crickets. There were plenty of animal noises which interested many of the group.
Another common animal on the island were lizards, I saw at least two different species. They were crawling all over the place in the hot sun. It is interesting how they alternate between the sun and the shade. They seemed to react to us humans, communicating what I don't know. I think they are fond of the climate. On our trip I went on many hikes and was able to witness many of these animals and their habits in their habitat. I also got to see how the different humans reacted differently to the animals and how they went about their projects with the animals. Their were more than one way of communication. I made some attempts to communicate with some birds but to no avail. One thing about the animals is that they don't claim the island to be theirs. Hiking and observing was the best I could do. Are animals interested in art? I'm trying to find out. At the very least they could be the subject of art. All are capable of reacting to stimuli, but can they move past instinct and deliberatively conspire with humans to work together in an art project? Probably we can find out through communication. For this class I plan to work with my family dog who is highly intelligent and very sweet and friendly. He has shown the ability to understand some of our dialect. I'm sure he would be willing to do an art project of some kind with me. Being that we know each other he would be an ideal subject for me

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Santa Cruz Island
By Jeffrey Jacobs (05/12/09 22:18:21)
Related animal: Tadpole

Santa Cruz Island

On our recent class trip to Santa Cruz Island for a three day and two night stay, I learned that when anticipating a collaboration with animals in the wild one must be incredibly patient. Upon our arrival to the island I didn’t quite know what to expect. I had heard that animals on the island were actually quite scarce, but still I kept my hopes high. I soon found that I would never be able to collaborate with any of the animals if I wandered around the island looking for them. I also discovered that since they are wild animals, their exact behavior cannot be known ahead of time, and that the best collaborations to occur in the wild would probably be those that are spontaneous. With this in mind I went off on a walk through nature by myself, being very mindful of the movements and sounds going on all around me. I walked along a trail for quite some time, without any idea of where exactly I was heading. At one point I stopped to sit in some grass to observe my surroundings. I soon found that as I stayed still, signs of animal activity were popping up all around me. By remaining very still myself, I became keen to the movements of the insects on the plants around me. I watched a dragon fly bask in the sun as it stretched its wings. I watched a large beetle scuttle across the ground and down into a hole below a rock. I even saw a lizard shoot out across a log before retuning to its recluse in the shadows. From this I learned that the best way to see animals in the wild is to actually become part of the environment, staying still and calm as possible.
I then continued my hike along my trail to the unknown until I came upon a flowing creek. I took off my shoes to cross it and as I did, I noticed that it was full of tiny tadpoles. I had not noticed the tadpoles until my shadow fell across the creek, startling them and causing them to change positions rapidly. I then realized that as I stood still in the creek and moved my arms about, the shadows that fell upon the waters caused the tadpoles to swim in various directions. It was as though I was herding them together, using my shadow as a sheepdog. Although I did see this as a small form of collaboration, I was not entirely satisfied with it. I felt as though I was too in control of the situation, after all, my conscious decisions were scaring the tadpoles into moving around. I was not exactly fond of the idea of scaring the tadpoles into collaboration and I decided to let them get back to their metamorphosis as I continued on my walk.

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Santa Cruz Island
By Andrea Chase (05/24/10 17:18:22)
Related animals: Anemone, Bald Eagle, Bird, Dolphin, Fish, Fox, Garibaldi, Human, Hummingbird, Hump Back Whale, Humpback Whale, Marine Invertabrate, Mosquito, Mosquito Eater, Pond Life, Quail, Raven, Sea Urchin, Seagull, Seal, Shark, Star Fish, Tadpole, Tree, Turkey, Whale

Above is the list of all the animals our class saw and coincidentally interacted with on Santa Cruz island. On the whole I would say that we did not do a spectacular job at treating the animals as equals or partners in our interactions. I personally know that I could not overcome my shock, awe, and excitement upon visitation from the various creatures on and around the island. Despite the fact that I could not immediately curb my "natural" reaction to react to the animals, I am proud of the the fact that I have developed a certain consciousness about my integrity in interacting with animals.
On a different note the trip on a whole was wildly successful in having fun and creating a new conscious awareness concerning human affects on animals. Personally I feel a different consensus about my perception of every animal. The trip has helped me to adapt a universalistic attitude toward all life, something I have always tried to adhere to due to Buddhist philosophies. In terms of the animals I did not do much collaborating through art work. The only blatant moment of artistic interaction producing a tangible piece was when a beautiful orange and red dragonfly felt inclined to investigate me allowing me to draw him for a subsequent 20 minutes or so. In the likes of performance art one could say our adventure swimming with tadpoles at the swimming hole could function as such. Additionally while at the swimming hole, above the waterfall itself, I had the pleasure of watching the natural order of swallows guarding and feeding their young. Serena felt particularly inspired to build a nest for them, but then soon after realized that we had neither the supplies or the original innovation tied to the idea.
The experience itself was so fulfilling I cannot begin to truly describe how I felt or what I experienced. Only a mere 3 days felt like a week. An adventurously wonderful weekend played out with hiking, climbing, napping, and celebrating, and the animals seemed to want to interact with us at every corner.

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Reflection: Animal Communication
Santa Cruz Island
By Tanasa Slovin (05/25/10 21:52:58)
The weekend spent in Santa Cruz Island was wonderful! We were very lucky to have seen a diverse and wide variety of beautiful animals. Just as we left Ventura, we saw a pod of dolphins consisting of about 100-300! It was the first time that I had ever seen a wild dolphin and words cannot explain the feeling of witnessing something so beautiful in mother nature. We also saw about ten humpback whales through out the trip, which was just spectacular. When we were on our way to the island we saw hundreds of dolphins swimming through the sea. Then unexpectedly, a sea lion came out of nowhere and began to copy the dolphins! It was hysterical. Obviously the poor sea lion wasn’t as graceful nor as fast as the rest of his/her dolphin friends, but it was just precious to see this sea lion try to become one with the dolphins and he/she loved the attention that we gave him! Of course the most memorable moment of the trip was when the humpback whale was so close to us that when he opened his mouth, we could smell his or her breath! It was gross, but also quite amazing at the same time. I found myself collaborating with the plants and nature when we went on our hikes just as much as I collaborated with the non-humans of the island. I took some beautiful photo’s of the dolphins, humpback whales, interesting spiders and luckily a small, slightly blurry photo of a bald eagle right before we left the island on Monday. I did see quite a lot of foxes, but never was around my camera to capture the moment. But sometimes I think it is more important to just enjoy the moment while it lasts instead of stressing to find a camera to capture the image. Overall, it was an amazing trip. Spotting thousands of dolphins, nearly ten humpback whales, interesting spiders, little cute foxes (who steal socks) and last but not least a bald eagle! It was a great experience and I cannot wait to go back and visit all of my nonhuman friends ☺

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Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Santa Cruz Island
By Danusia Young (05/26/10 20:13:10)
Related animals: Dragonfly, Fox

Our trip to Santa Cruz Island was a lot of fun. Seeing so many dolphins and whales was something that I will never forget. I went before on the whale watching excursions but I never had luck to see them or interact with them. Seeing them swimming freely was something unforgettable. I completely agree with Tony when she sad that ocean is their home but only our playground. We have to respect that and learn how to interact with them with out taking over their space as we did too many species. The first day on the island was even more exiting; we did see the island foxes. They came very close that was very amazing though we were new humans in their territory. I also tried to collaborate with a beautiful orange dragonfly that was drinking water from one of the pools. After few attempts I was able to sit very close and relax next to my new friend. I felt as the dragonfly was watching me very closely and after looking closely at one of my images I saw his head or rather its big eyes looking in my direction. Maybe we did develop connection during our brake time. I think that we all have to learn how to share our space with other species. I also took the time that we had on the island to sketch and meditate.

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Reflection: Other Related Research
Santa Cruz Island
By Tanasa Slovin (06/08/10 19:59:37)
The weekend spent in Santa Cruz Island was wonderful! We were very lucky to have seen a diverse and wide variety of beautiful animals. Just as we left Ventura, we saw a pod of dolphins consisting of about 100-300! It was the first time that I had ever seen a wild dolphin and words cannot explain the feeling of witnessing something so beautiful in mother nature. We also saw about ten humpback whales through out the trip, which was just spectacular. When we were on our way to the island we saw hundreds of dolphins swimming through the sea. Then unexpectedly, a sea lion came out of nowhere and began to copy the dolphins! It was hysterical. Obviously the poor sea lion wasn’t as graceful nor as fast as the rest of his/her dolphin friends, but it was just precious to see this sea lion try to become one with the dolphins and he/she loved the attention that we gave him! Of course the most memorable moment of the trip was when the humpback whale was so close to us that when he opened his mouth, we could smell his or her breath! It was gross, but also quite amazing at the same time. I found myself collaborating with the plants and nature when we went on our hikes just as much as I collaborated with the non-humans of the island. I took some beautiful photo’s of the dolphins, humpback whales, interesting spiders and luckily a small, slightly blurry photo of a bald eagle right before we left the island on Monday. I did see quite a lot of foxes, but never was around my camera to capture the moment. But sometimes I think it is more important to just enjoy the moment while it lasts instead of stressing to find a camera to capture the image. Overall, it was an amazing trip. Spotting thousands of dolphins, nearly ten humpback whales, interesting spiders, little cute foxes (who steal socks) and last but not least a bald eagle! It was a great experience and I cannot wait to go back and visit all of my nonhuman friends ☺

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Santa Cruz Island Adventure
By Serena Zahler (05/24/10 18:32:22)
Related animals: Anemone, Bald Eagle, Butterfly, Crab, Dolphin, Fish, Fox, Hermit Crab, Humpback Whale, Scrub Jay, Seal, Whale

The class trip was truly an inspiring experience in which I not only learned about the life on the island, but also about my place within that environment which extends to my place in my ecosystem. On the trip I was mesmerized by the lush beauty of the Island itself as well as the animals that call it home. I sun bathed with a firefly, wanted to dress up the cute little foxes, smelled the island skunk, and more. The most eye opening experience for me was when I stayed behind at the beach on Saturday with some of my fellow classmates and professor and began looking in the tide pools around the cliff/rock face. There I found a peaceful anemone being bothered by millions of hermit crabs. As I began to search around the rocks for seashells (one of my favorite beach activities), I found myself startled and scared of the crabs that call this place home. I would lift up a rock determined to find the perfect shell. Instead I found crabs running for safety and I would scream in fear, which turned into excitement. Lisa and my classmates thought it was ridiculously funny that I was screaming at these little harmless creatures, while destroying their rock home. Back at camp, I thought about my day at the cliffs and how ridiculous my elephant and mouse routine was. But my reactions to this experience though insane weren't that far off from my groups reactions to other animals. As we drove to the coast, we drove like something out of a Wiley Coyote cartoon speeding up to see a wild turkey that was running down the road for its life! That day in the overcast grey on the cliffs of Santa Cruz Island, I realized that I can only change my reactions to other creatures by rethinking the way I think about them.
So from now on, I will try to better gage my reactions by thinking about how the other species is feeling about my presence and what my actions will do to them. I pledge to no longer move crab rock homes and scream at them from atop. These experiences have shown me that we are only human and maybe the other species who live peacefully amongst each other with mutual respect have it right and humans just have to catch up. I think our class though a slow start is making progress towards a place where we aren't in crazed, barbaric excitement when seeing animals putting their lives at risk for our enjoyment and fascination.

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Santa Cruz Island Day 1
By Danielle Terhune (06/01/10 10:43:35)
Related animals: Dolphin, Dragonfly, Fox, Frog, Lizard, Sea Lion, Seal, Tadpole, Whale

Santa Cruz Island Day 2
Sunday, May 16 2010
A Recollection of Day 1

Within minutes of our ferry leaving the harbor we were surround by groups of dolphins! It was one of the most exciting things that I have ever witnessed. It seemed like they all appeared out of nowhere from all sides. They were riding the wake! They were circling the boat, swimming underneath it, and swimming in front of it!
The best part of the whole dolphin experience was when they were jumping across the water past the front of the boat then all of a sudden a sea lion goes leaping through the air with the dolphins. And it kept going and jumping along with the dolphins mimicking and chasing them. I remember Tanasa, Lisa, and I were laughing so hard because it was so amazing and funny to see a sea lion enjoying the same entertainments as the dolphins.
After we left the dolphins and continued our way to Santa Cruz Island it took almost our whole trip before we saw anything else. After the first stop at the Scorpion dock some crazy sight seeing happened. First we saw way more sea lions and then dolphins and then smidgens of a smallish humpback whale. Then the whale disappeared by the dolphins came closer to check our boat.
There was a cute little two year old boy out on the deck in his mom’s arms who wasn’t satisfied with the dolphins at all. He demanded to see the whale, over and over again. All of a sudden a giant humpback whale appeared in the distance spouting up water and splashing its tail. The boy got super excited and it was adorable. Then, according to the boat driver, the whale did something unprecedented, it came up over and over again to the surface when normally it’s supposed to come up for air every fifteen minutes or so. You could hear the awe and excitement in the driver’s voice each time the whale surfaced again. I knew by that indicator that we were witnessing something special.
I’m wondering why we were so lucky to spot this whale and its abnormal behavior. I think back in class when we had Toni lecturing about the dolphins and Nora mentioned that she felt this overwhelming sadness and cried when she was little after doing a ‘swim with the dolphins’ experience. Then I believe someone else mentioned that after seeing a whole in captivity as a small child they too cried. I’m wondering if that little boy on the boat calling for the whale had some sort of impact on the whale’s decision to resurface an unprecedented amount of times.
Later in the day our whole group, or most of us set off to the swimming hole. It was a good mile of so hike down the road, and trough a dried up rocky river bed. There were sporadic patches of algae-rich puddles and ponds before we reached the swimming hole. In these scummy spots were tadpoles. They were so big too. Some had little legs along with their eel like tale. They were pretty cute. There were a lot of tadpoles in our swimming hole as well. The water was super cold, but did not keep the majority of us, including myself from jumping right in.
The best part of the swimming hole was watching the orangey red dragon flies fly around, and eyeing the sunbathing lizards. Lying out on the rocks with the lizards made me feel like we were enjoying one of God’s great gifts of sunbathing. It felt so good and refreshing.
Later in the night between dinner and s’mores Matt and I went outside in search of marshmallow roasting sticks. I bent down to grab a prospective stick and something caught my eye about five feet away. It was the tiniest little fox, the Santa Cruz Island Fox. Apparently it is the second smallest fox in the world. Matt pointed out one in the field below. This fox seemed much larger, like average fox size, but Lisa assured me it was impossible to see a fox that big on the island because there is only one species here. I’m still not sure. That fox was pretty big. I am so happy that I got to see it.

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Santa Cruz Island Day 2
By Danielle Terhune (06/01/10 11:13:39)
Related animals: Fish, Sea Lion, Seal, Star Fish, Tree, Turkey

Santa Cruz Island Day 3
Monday, May 17 2010
A Recollection of Day 2

The day started off with a trip to the far side of the island, to one of its cliffy beachside spots. We all crammed into Moe, our old beat up truck for the day, and took off down the windy roads of Santa Cruz Island.
On our way there we saw what seemed to be a road runner, but it seemed a bit fat. We slowly chased it in the truck and it stayed on the road, running for awhile, and then took up along the hillside. We were later told it might have been an island turkey. Later on, on our walk back from the seaside to our camp the truck same up on me, Royce, Tanasa, and Danusia and we ran from the truck mimicking the bird we saw earlier. It was super fun but seemed like we could have definitely freaked out the bird earlier.
At the beachside of the island we saw some sea urchins, starfish, and other tide pool creatures. We also saw the head of a seal checking out all of the commotion.
Later that night almost all of us saw the foxes again. They are always so cute!

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Santa Cruz Island Day 3
By Danielle Terhune (06/01/10 12:15:35)
Related animals: Bald Eagle, Crow, Dolphin, Whale

Post Santa Cruz Island
Tuesday, May 18 2010
A Recollection of Day 3

We packed up and cleaned up camp pretty fast. We took off to the dock early and decided to go on a hike. The supposedly mild hike contained lots of ups and downs, rocks, grass fields, roots etc. I believe it was three miles one way, so six in all. Man! I am sore.
On the hike we saw crows and smelled the spotted skunks, but that was it. At the destination we ended at rocky caves and cove area. At this place there were some of the orange fish and more sea stars. On our way back we could see whales from the cliffs.
Back at the dock after the exhausting hike we saw a bald eagle fly across the bay and perch on a faraway branch. We were only able to see it through binoculars. There were very cute seals in the bay as well.
On the boat trip back we came upon more humpback whales. This time they were so close to the boat we were able to smell their stench. Within 7 feet or so of the boat we were able to see its gigantic mouth open towards the boat. It was breathtaking! And very very smelly! More dolphins cam as well. It was fabulous! And a great wrap up for the trip.

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Reflection: Other Related Research
Santa Cruz Island Expierence
By Travis Jepson (06/08/10 01:14:10)
Being truly alone in nature is a very rare experience. Especially today we can see that our civilization is rapidly impacting our environment, though nature is responding it can prove difficult to come across areas where we cannot see the influence of mankind.

I loved being to experience pure(er) air, sheer silence except what could be heard in the sounds of the surrounding natural environment. I loved the feeling of being truly alone if I chose to be. Going places that no one had been in hundreds of years was perhaps my most exciting aspect. Though I know that the island had been used in years past, some of the trails we took way up into the mountains, or far along the cost line had a feeling of being undiscovered.

For me it was not necessarily seeking out "wild" animals to interact with, but trying to picture myself in an environment outside of civilization. I have no illusions that I was living rigidly as our main camp had full facilities and modern conveniences. It was nice to be able to just be able to walk away and within 20 minutes you could not hear a man made sound. It was a peaceful feeling. What made the feeling of isolation so pleasant would have to have been the fact that we had absolutely nothing to worry about as far as predators were concerned. The closest thing to a threat on that island was a 6lb fox that was extremely playful.

Overall I loved going to Santa Cruz island and enjoyed the long trek up the series of waterfalls the most. It was great to be able to explore and have a completely new set of surroundings. I would love to go again.

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Santa Cruz Island Trip Reflections
By Marissa Gravett (06/07/13 23:52:57)
Related animals: Island Fox, Nudibranch, Scrub Jay

We went on a field trip to the Santa Cruz Island a few weekends ago, and I have to say it was one of my favorite weekends of the year. I had always wanted to visit the islands, but I never got to organizing a trip with my friends. It was such an awesome weekend. I really enjoyed being disconnected from technology so that I could better connect with nature. I also enjoyed spending quality time with my fellow classmates. I did not end up doing a project while I was there, but I did pay attention to the objects that animals left behind that symbolized their presence such as foot prints, feathers, and birds nests.

I had two exceptionally memorable experiences while on this field trip. My first was when I was coming out of the bathroom late at night and a fox came up to me. It was probably less than 2 feet away from me. I was so in shock, I didn't even move. It was the cutest thing I had ever seen. Second was when I was snorkeling. I have never been snorkeling in Santa Barbara so I was amazed at how much life there was and how great the visibility was. I saw beautiful kelp forests and awesome snails and a beautiful neon orange and blue nudibranch.

Also, seeing the Scrub Jay was very special. I saw many of their vibrant blue feathers sprinkled over the island ground.

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Reflection: Aesthetic Expressions of Non-Human Animals
Santa Cruz Island: Whales and Dolphins and Sea Lions, Oh My!
By Sara Putman (05/19/10 19:59:08)
Related animals: Anemone, Ant, Bald Eagle, Bee, Butterfly, Crab, Crow, Dolphin, Fish, Fox, Frog, Garibaldi, Hawk, Hermit Crab, Hummingbird, Humpback Whale, Island Skunk, Ladybug, Lizard, Mice, Mosquito, Mosquito Eater, Moth, Quail, Raven, Sea Lion, Seagull, Skunk, Spider, Star Fish, Swallow, Tadpole, Turkey

Santa Cruz Island had exceeded my expectations for wildlife viewing. I am still astonished at how many different species we saw in only three short days. The island itself was beautiful and I was amazed by how many different colors were present throughout the island. There was so much to look at and even more to tell about the island. I was constantly overwhelmed by the visual beauty as well as the abundance of different sounds, smells, textures and even flavors. In other words, just being on the island made me more in tune with and aware of my five senses.


Sight- I took over 300 photos on this trip, and even though the pictures captured what I wanted, they still don't fully do the island visual justice. I've never seen as much marine life in one weekend, or in one day, as on and around the island. We encountered lots of humpback whales, common dolphins and sea lions, as well as, island foxes, mice, quail, wild turkey, Garibaldi(our state fish), swallows, tad poles, frogs, dragon flies, butterflies, sea stars, sea urchins, sea anemones, crabs, Scrub Jays, hawks, and one Bald Eagle, just to name a few... Just looking at the scenic landscape (rocks, plants, flowers, was intensely colorful and full of life I've never experienced before. Since a lot of the species on the island only exist on the island and no where else in the world, I could tell just by looking at the wildlife (plants, animals, rocks, etc.) that I had not seen them in my life before.

Hearing- The humpback whales' blow holes definitely made noise and we were able to hear them from a good distance away (while hiking on the island). There were many sounds that came from animals that we never saw, like the spotted skunks. The scrub jays (blue colored birds), crows, and ravens made tons of noise, especially the loud cawing of the huge ravens.

Taste- I did some research on one of the plants on the island, called Rhus integrifolia or more commonly known as the Lemonade Berry plant. This plant's berries can be used to make lemonade, yet this plant is related to poison oak so it can be irritating to some people. "Many plants within this genus are considered toxic, although some reports indicate the berries of this species can be used to make lemonade flavored drinks (hence its common name)." Before I knew that this plant may be potentially toxic, I sucked on one of its berries, only to find that its lemon flavor was intense yet quite good, and luckily, I never developed an allergic reaction to the plant. However, I felt some tingling in my mouth for a while after sucking on the berries, yet I'm sure it was mostly psychological.

Smell- Wild fennel was abundant on the island, and the smell resembles anise or black licorice. Just about everywhere we went, the fennel was present, hence it was one of the smells that I remember most.
Skunk smell was also prevalent on the island, yet we never saw any spotted skunks.
I also intensely remember the smell of the humpback whale's breath as it surfaced for food. At first, I hadn't realized that marine animals would have bad breath and thought it was one of the persons around me, yet this trip definitely proves me wrong.

Touch- The terrain was mostly rough and had jagged rocks that were definitely rough on our feet and hands. The water was extremely cold, yet some of us ended up swimming in a watering hole a couple miles from where we were staying. I remember that a lot of the leaves and flowers felt like velvet, and almost seemed to call out to me to touch them.

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Saving Luna
By Tessa Tapscott (05/13/13 22:30:10)
Related animals: Human, Orca

While the end of the documentary, Saving Luna, is heart-wrenchingly sad, one must look at the film and his life as a whole and try to extract the message the “little orphan whale” has taught us. The way Luna sought people out as companions is unusual for orcas, thus the established boundary between humans and whales was broken, and I think this worried quite a few people. It is true that such interaction with such a large and unpredictable creature could lead to endangerment of both whale and human lives, but I agree with the director in believing that trying to ignore the whale was not the right choice.
I think it is some what speciesist to assume that Luna would respond like all other whales simply because he was an orca. Are humans the only ones with widely varying personalities? Certainly many humans respond to situations in similar ways, but there are many cases of people, perhaps with psychological disorders, that cannot simply be lumped into and treated like everyone else. As the film stated, orcas are extremely social animals with highly developed senses of kinship and emotion, who is to say that Luna did not have some sort of psychological issue, either from being left alone at such an early age or from even earlier in his childhood? If a human were acting strangely, in a way that was counter to general demeanor, they would treated as an individual and helped as such. Yet when Luna acted differently many still tried to treat him like a normal whale, for whom human interaction would be a bad thing. This film, however, proved that this was not the right response, Luna needed the attention from humans because he would not have any other interaction. What did they expect to happen? For him to just swim around by himself ignoring the life above? Of course Luna got into trouble when he was ignored, he had no one else! It would be similar to a foreigner going to a town with hopes of interacting with a new culture as friends, but then being shunned for no apparent reason, even though at first everyone in town liked the foreigner. While regular whale interaction would have probably been much better for Luna’s psychological growth, the Nootka Sound was not equipped to offer that, so the next best thing were its humans. People have proven to be successful friends and guardians of many other creatures, where is line drawn between wild animal and companion animal?
I believe that in cases like these it is important for people to regard the animal with respect for its species, but also as an individual, who cannot and should be simply lumped into a category and dealt with based on statistics. I hope that Luna’s short life left an impression of all of those involved with him throughout his time spent in the sound. Luna’s life will stand as a reminder that humans can break the barrier between themselves and other animals, that we can help them just by regarding them as an equal and that interaction with them will help us to become more open minded, compassionate and intelligent beings.

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Saving Luna
By Laura Santizo (05/21/13 14:43:17)
Related animals: Orca, Whale

When watching the movie I really thought it was going to have a happy ending. There seemed to be enough people involved that they should be able to reach a creative and positive solution. Sadly, Luna didn’t make it and I can’t help but feel that the scientists and department of fisheries failed this creature horribly.
First of all, I don’t understand why they couldn’t employ someone to take care of Luna. The marine scientists that studied Orca’s knew about her social nature.Clearly all she needed was friendship, someone to play with and keep her company. Both the filmmaker and local who took the time to interact with Luna were able to keep her safe. It was only when left alone that her interactions became “dangerous.” Luna was never trying to harm anyone she was merely seeking the physical contact and companionship she needed. Instead of providing her with a consistent caretaker, they actively ignored her and discouraged human interaction which I believe only served to make her more lonely and more likely to seek to the wrong entertainment.
Secondly we rarely get to interact with such large and powerful animals, I don’t see why no one viewed this an opportunity to create a sanctuary for Luna. I think all the boats should not have been allowed to travel through this area unless they had protective cases on their motors. By simply requiring boats to take this precaution this tragedy could have been avoided. Luna could be still alive and maybe even reunited with other whales by now.
It is such a shame that these organizations couldn’t work together to preserve Luna’s life. I think this story should serve to show us that we must be more sensitive to the personalities and needs of all species. We should take it upon ourselves to live a more harmonious life and share our resources with every animal around us.

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Reflection: Speciesism and Animal Rights
Saving Luna
By Hector Medina (06/04/13 11:40:55)
Related animal: Orca

Watching this movie was very sad and heartbreaking yet it was a great way to educated people. I don’t think I could be able to neglect an animal that was caving such attention. Yet I think I would be hesitant to simply put my hand out to an orca. I feel bad for it, all he wanted was a friend. After people ignored you, I wonder how he must of felt. Did he not realize he was a whale? That he was different and that humans were not a species to be friends with? It’s interesting how friendly he was, not afraid of humans. Kind of acted like a dog. I also have to wonder, he appeared after getting lost from his pod during its migration route. Then again he was use to humans; he could have easily died or killed in the wild. Well they had to swim close by sometime again, why didn’t it reunite with them? I feel bad for the girls who had to monitor him and keep people away from him. I don’t think I could do their job. How do you tell someone to not pet an animal desperate for attention? After a while my heart would hit, I would think I have a cold heart. The part in the movie when they are not even allowed to look at him, yet she cannot resist, was so sad. It must have been real tough love. The thing that stood out to me the most was the end bit. It got me thinking about the interest of the animal. I wished we could talk to him and know exactly why he was there or what he wanted. Did he have a purpose? Was he really the reincarnation of the old wise man from the tribe? For me it got too out of hand and too many people became involved. If it like people so much then why not send it to Sea World. It would of love showing off to people. I guess he was there to educate people. He was there to showcase the dos and don’ts when interacting with an animal and to what extent. In the end I’m glad that it was just a movie and not up to us to figure out the future of this orca.

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Saving Luna
By Caitlin Gallagher (06/06/13 07:56:52)
Saving Luna was a very touching film but I was conflicted with how wild animals should be treated when they seek out contact from humans. It was amazing to watch the community come together to rescue this animal while so many others fought for him to be left alone. When the end came I was brought to tears, I couldn’t believe that they let it go that far, everyone knew it was bound to happen but they refused to let people intervene. I think that Luna is a special situation and it was not right to ask people to ignore him because it obviously didn’t work. It is very rare an animal approaches people that willingly and neglecting him did not help the situation. People were willing to be there to watch over him and keep him out of trouble but the they forced tough love. I have a deep respect for the tribe willing to risk their own life to save the orca because he was believed to be a reincarnation of the tribe leader. It’s amazing to me that they have such a profound connection with the animal and were able to lure him away in their canoes. I have to agree with the tribe’s belief that Luna was there to teach them a lesson and whether he lived or died the people would learn something. Luna’s story has moved me an many others and if anything it has given me a better understanding of how fragile the balance is be nature.

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Saving Luna
By Natalie Croak (06/08/13 20:10:14)
Related animal: Orca

In class we watched "Saving Luna," the story of a baby orca who becomes separated from his pod and attempts to become friends with humans in a British Columbian port town. At first people play with Luna and let him follow their boats. After a while however the authorities decide that this much human interaction is harmful for him and they hire people to encourage boaters to stay away from Luna. Luna still continues to attempt to play with anyone who will give him attention, leading to the decision that he should be removed and taken to an aquarium. The First People believed that Luna was the reincarnation of one of their leaders so they lured Luna away from the nets with drums and wooden canoes. However at the end of the movie Luna ends up being killed by a tugboat propeller because he got too close to the boat.
This movie was incredibly depressing for me because it seems that there is no real right solution that could be found. The ideal would be for Luna to be reunited with his pod, however after the movie ended we learned that Luna's pod died of starvation a few months after his death. I am very against putting highly intelligent animals like whales and dolphins in aquariums because I believe they are smart enough to know that they are prisoners. However I agree that it wasn't the best situation to have Luna playing so close to the boats. If anything I hope that Luna's death draws attention to the problems that marine animals face and that better tactics for dealing with orphaned animals are developed.

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Saving Luna
By Raymond Douglas (06/09/13 17:45:49)
Related animals: Human, Orca

Seeing this film was the first time I heard about Luna’s story. But, it was also the first time I started to seriously consider some of the topics and issues at play in the film. I think it is known that the reason that the film was created to be that orca whales typically don’t interact with humans in such a loving, platonic way. The people of the area embraced this new member into their community and sought to protect and enrich its life. Despite this massively supportive welcoming party of humans, the true reason for Luna being alone is overwhelmingly sad. Luna was separated from his pack and left alone to fend for himself. Yes, Luna is a large mammal capable of intense killing tactics, but he still did not have his natural support system of his blood family. His new community knew this and took to watching after him and protecting him at all costs.
Eventually, however it was thought that too much human interaction would spoil his life and eliminate any possibility of Luna assimilating back into his natural family, who was now many miles away and totally unaware of what was happening. This was, in my opinion, the most incorrect assumption anyone could make. This whale had found itself a new family. One with copious amounts of love and interest. Such affection enriched Luna’s life in ways that it could never have been enriched. He played in ways that his natural family would not. He was starting to be the center of a documentary! He also knew exactly what he wanted. When the community was ordered to ignore him at all costs and to not provoke any of his older, more playful behavior he made obvious attempts at reconnection. He would try to impress people in boats and people ashore and he would seek out those who loved him best. After a while, I think it became clear that this community was the only thing supporting Luna in his quest for happiness as an orca. He had found his natural community and wanted to thrive as much as possible. It was almost as if he knew the dangers that came with swimming near motorized boats and other water machinery. But, he kept on pushing to touch the humans and share moments with them. What started as an effort to reconnect him with his roots actually pushed him away from his roots. His new roots. He had found a place he never wanted to leave.
It is known that at the end of the documentary the prop of a boat kills Luna. People of the community grieved for his permanent disappearance. It also needs to be known, however, that what they did was the most obvious and correct answer to the presence/problem of Luna. Embrace him for he wanted to embrace in return. Any species that seeks to be part of something larger across interspecies boundaries shouldn’t always be dissuaded. A different lifestyle awaits, but one of equally opportunity and reward.

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Saving Luna: The Incredible Story of a Whale-Human Relationship
By Katie Edwards (05/16/13 16:17:22)
Related animal: Whale

Saving Luna

Watching “Saving Luna” was incredibly moving for me. I had never heard the story before, and I think the film did a wonderful job of capturing Luna's spirit and his impact on the people around him. I can't imagine being able to interact so closely with an orca, let alone play with him and fearlessly put my hand into his mouth. His behavior was almost dog like—it was as if he had grown up not realizing that he was a whale or that there are certain expectations from humans of particular species. Comparing Luna to a domesticated dog may seem strange, but I mean it in the sense that the closeness of his relationship with humans was like that of a pet people would bring into their home and love unconditionally. He wasn't afraid of humans, and would immediately approach them with nothing but friendly intentions. I find it bizarre that he seemed to have such a demeanor all along, even before he became such a popular tourist destination. It was as if he was meant to be raised with humans. Perhaps he was filling the void of not being with his own pod, but I still find it remarkable that he would choose to remain with humans for years rather than attach himself to another orca family.

Despite being in the wild, Luna's upbringing was strongly influenced by human interaction and attention, which must've led to a lot of confusion and struggle for both Luna and his friends during the periods of “tough love” restrictions. I think it was cruel to go back and forth between giving Luna a lot of attention and then purposefully ignoring him. I understand that it would be difficult to hold your ground when faced with the decision to neglect an animal you'd grown so close to, but I feel as if the fickle nature of people's relationship with him only led to more heartbreak for everyone involved. While there was obvious danger of Luna being around so many boats and approaching people who did not ask to be approached, I think emotionally it was better for him to have human affection. It would be different if he had been ignored by people from his birth and didn't think of humans as his surrogate family, but since he went years believing people were his friends, I can only imagine how impossible it would be for him to stay away when people ignored him. It was the responsibility of the people to decide how to act around him, and I think they were inconsistent and therefore unfair.

It's difficult to decide what's in an animals best interest when there's really no way for them to explicitly communicate how they're feeling. We can make all the assumptions we want, but we're incapable of knowing exactly what the animals needs or desires. Luna certainly acted like he wanted to remain in contact with humans, but there's no saying what would have happened if the efforts to relocate him had succeeded. We don't know if he would've adapted or struggled. The whole situation was a big “what if,” and with so many people voicing their opinions about what would be best for Luna, it was impossible to come to a conclusion that would please everybody. Personally I think keeping Luna with humans was best for everyone's emotional health, but who knows what would've happened if he had been taken somewhere else or placed back with his family. When it comes to making decisions for other species, I find it hard to remove our own desires and biases and think strictly of the animal's interest.

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Second Article Response
By Norah Eldredge (04/20/10 12:15:37)
Related animals: Cat, Dog

This article made me think about my own personal relationship with animals. I have a very strong opinion about animals and my interactions and relationships with them.

Ever since I was a kid, I have always felt akin with all animals. I would look at them and understand them. We are not verbally communicating, but in some way mutually acknowledging each other. My parents would take me to dinner parties or friends houses and I would automatically become great friends with the dog or cat at that house. Even animals that I briefly meet on the street. Dogs run up to me, look me straight in the eyes.

This has never been something that I have done intentionally or with any end in mind, I have always just felt that critters and I get along. They sense my peace when I am around them, they understand how much I value and admire them, or something. I truly have never thought about it until this class.

Reading this article made me think. Not so much what it had to say, but that there was so much to say! For me, this is very simple, and I guess I have always thought that people’s relationships with animals have been very simple. Either good or bad, happy or not, superior or equal. There has, as I now know, been a lot of thought about it. Does this extensive thought and analysis on the subject create distance between animals and us? A dog does not spend more that a few seconds debating his relationship with a human, but instead simply trusts his gut. Humanity creates a divide between us and other species, but will analyzing it to death close that divide or widen it? I have not decided an answer to this yet.

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Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Sedgewick Reserve
By Chelsea Hunter (05/10/09 11:23:59)
Related animal: Cow

Unfortunately I felt little connection to any animals at the Sedgewick Reserve which is usually the feeling that I get when dealing with animals in the wild. Before the meditation we saw a deer so I thought about the deer and sent visuals to it hoping that when I opened my eyes it would be near me. We did see deer later on but they did not really seem interested in us. I really wanted to use the tools that we learned to communicate with the animals but It didn't seem like they were willing at the time.Everyone was really excited to about the cows and the opportunity to be able to get up close to them and touch them. Right away i got a feeling of nervousness from the cows and I felt like their instinct to eat was the only thing keeping them near us. I think if only one or two people would have gotten near them then they would have been more comfortable rather than a whole crowd of people trying to touch them at once. I felt like Patrick was really uneasy when everyone was trying to press against him, I know that it was supposed to make the cow comfortable but I felt like he was feeling trapped. Later on during the night when we finally heard the Coyotes calling to each other I felt a real sense of animal communication that I don't think I will ever really be able to a part of. It was so beautiful to hear their calls and listen to them as they communicated with each other. I really had a nice time sharing an environment with animals that live in the reserve and although there was no concrete communication I did feel closer to the animals of the wild.

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Sedgewick Reserve
By Jeffrey Jacobs (05/12/09 13:39:51)
Related animals: Bird, Cow, Deer

Sedgewick Reserve

The recent class trip to the Sedgewick Reserve was arguably the most successful yet in terms of interspecies collaboration. We encountered several different animals and interacted with them in varying ways. In the beginning of the trip we al hiked in a single file line up the side of a hill to a shady tree at the top. Once we got there, we were dowsed in burning sage and led in a meditation by Hannah. The meditation was quite nice and relaxing as I imagined myself floating in space towards a pink rectangle surrounded by blue. I attempted to tap into my inner shaman and become one with nature, to better facilitate my ability to interact with animals, as I had learned to do on Santa Cruz Island. As we walked back down the hill we saw a dear jumping through the grasses below. If we had stayed still longer perhaps he would have come closer to us.
Later, we attempted to collaborate with the cows that live on the reserve. We had learned from a video that cows become relaxed when pressure is applied to their sides. My classmates leaned on the cow to try and exercise this practice. The cow did not seem to like it very much though and tried to free itself from the people surrounding it by walking backwards, for a moment it looked like a four person one cow tango. We fed the cows hay as some mother cows protected their calves in the background behind a fence.
That night, we went on a night hike to see what nocturnal animals we could discover. Along the walk we came to a pond where several birds stated making noise as we passed. We stood still and listened to the animals flap their wings each time that Nathan dragged his feet across the ground. It was an official collaboration! Nathan was making ‘music’ together with the birds as we all stood and listened with amazement. We walked away from the pond with a feeling of grand accomplishment.

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Reflection: Non-Art Interspecies Collaborations
Sedgwick Reserve
By Michael Walter Lambert (05/08/09 13:56:26)
Related animal: Spider

We were to meet at Sedgwick Reserve on thursday at noon. The fires near Isla Vista to the south had my attention but off I went to Sedgwick. It was an interesting car drive mainly through the country. I arrive at Sedgwick and it is hot. We immediately eat lunch and wait for the rest of the group. Upon arrival I encounter a dog that seemingly lives there. When he saw me he immediately ran and grabbed his frisbee. I tried to play fetch but he was reluctant to let go of the frisbee. He even held it less tight so I could get it without him letting go. He was quite good at fetching the frisbee even catching it i the air. Other animals were squirrels and lizards.
When more of the group got there we decided to take a hike, a short hike but mainly up hill. We got to the top and tried a meditation exercise. We were up on the top of the hill for hours just thinking. I think we were taking in nature. The tree above us was quite incredible and I was grateful for the shade it provided. There is something nice about sharing time with a tree. There were many insects up there and some cool plants. We did hear many animals and even saw some deer. There were several deer,
We hike over the hill and back to camp. There are more human collaborators waiting for us. We chill for a second and then decide to check out the cows. Especially the male cow Patrick who had earned himself a reputation mainly just for being fat. There was three cows in all and several at a near by farm just watching us. The cows we interacted with had a strange color pattern, black with a wide white stripe covering the area between the front and back legs. We offered the cows food but still they were skittish. Eventually we got to touch and even pet the cows. We tried to lay down to ease the tension but this did not work. The cow is a large animal and these cows were very cute if not a bit fat. Eventually some of the human collaborators attempted to flamingo dance with the cow by letting the cow lead. I think Masha got it on tape.
Before going in for dinner we decided to go look at the water troff, a man made watering hole meant for the animals of this region to get a drink. There is a camera set up meant to take pictures of the different animals who drink there. The camera senses motion. The water was filthy and an unhealthy green color. We decided to go to the top of the hill and see if any animals come. It was getting dark but it was quite lovely. There were animals out, letting us know they were there through sound. We didn't see most of these animals but we did see two Owls who were hooting away. The experience had a nice spiritual feel to it.

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Reflection: Other Related Research
Sedgwick Trip
By Hannah Vainstein (05/06/09 12:25:19)
Our first field trip for Interspecies Collaboration was to Santa Cruz Island off the coast of California and our next field trip is to the Sedgwick Reserve near Santa Ynes California. During our first outing a small group of us had used a meditation from the book 7 Steps to Communication with Animals by Carol Gurney. Her mediation was similar to a meditation that I have been doing for several years.

In my practice called Theta Healing, a technique developed by Vianna Stible, one travels through what are called the seven layers of existence in order to reach a state which one feels and is connected to all that is. Through this meditation one achieves a theta brain wave from which the technique is named. Once entering the theta brain wave and the seventh plane of existence one then commands is then able to ask to communicate with a particular animal or ask if there is an animal which wishes to speak to them or ask for an encounter with an animal.

On the Island we used Carol Gurney’s meditation and people seemed to respond. For the Sedgwick I will lead our group through Vianna’s mediation and facilitate a space for everyone to seek an interaction with an animal. I will also crate a passage way for people to walk though. Once they walk through this space they will be entering into a journey to receive a communication with an animal. We have discussed possible singing with the coyotes. I think is would be a wonderful endeavor. I will also encourage everyone to be very aware of feeling they have and thoughts that might enter their heads. Everyone receives communications differently and it is important to be aware of their surroundings.

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Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Sharing Thoughts with Tibou the Dog
By Shanti Harris (05/12/09 13:17:30)
Related animal: Dog

The morning before animal communicator Barbara Janell came to visit our class, I had followed the steps discussed in the text "The Language of Animals." I had hoped that practicing the meditation and visualization techniques would allow me to further understand Barbara's points of view and exercises related to interspecies telepathic communication. She discussed similar techniques and strategies to help clear the mind and become in tune with the natural world and all beings, non-human and human.

Our class was fortunate to have Tibou the Dog with us so that Barbara could demonstrate her methods of interspecies communication. After our class had completed some of the techniques she discussed (Watching the breath, relaxing all parts of the body, feeling Tibou's presence, etc) I had noticed about an hour into the discussion session that Tibou had been sitting next to my feet for almost five minutes. This seemed like a long period of time for a dog to sit near one person when multiple people were in the room.

Tibou stared at me during that period of time. It felt like he was trying to tell me something. I stared back at him and sent him positive thoughts and images of warmth and kindness. He continued to stair back at me for a few minutes and I felt a similar feeling/vibration from Tibou that I had sent him. This exchange of positive vibrations between species (dog and human) was quite strong. I predict these thoughts/vibrations were easily exchanged as a result of the meditation techniques I did earlier that morning, practicing Barbara's techniques and being in tune with Tibou's presence.

After reading “7 Steps to Communicating with Animals” and hearing Barbara Janell speak, I have become more aware of my surroundings, the environment, people and the animals (birds, squirrels, dogs, raccoons) that I see on a day to day basis. I try to feel the presence of the various species I encounter. Sometimes I send them visual images or thoughts. I don’t always get a response, but occasionally I notice that they strongly sense my presence.

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Snowy Plover
By Megan Mueller (04/28/14 21:36:37)
Related animal: Bird

I encountered a Snowy Plover bird on one of the first days I moved to Goleta. While walking on the beach at Coal Oil Point, my boyfriend and myself met the friendliest bird. Not knowing about the reserve/endangered nature of the bird, we sat on the beach and interacted with the bird for about an hour.

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South Africa
By Sinead Kennedy (06/04/09 02:23:39)
I started my time in South Africa feeling as if this was my time to conquer the sea. I quickly learned that is was not an okay approach to take towards the ocean. It is angry when it wants to be, and then exceptionally calm the next minute. It allows you onto it's surface only on certain days, and when it does, you feel like you're on thin ice with this angry thing.

However, a month into it, and having spent countless hours out as sea, I began to feel completely different towards the ocean. It became this energy, this being, that acted as it pleased. No, actually, it wasn't angry, it just wasn't expected to be perfect for you. The ocean wasn't there for our boats, it was there, harboring this magical marine layer of mysterious life.
The ocean can feel very mystical. The animals within are almost fairy tale, until you get in and join them. To truly feel a part of this life, however, I think one has to earn it. It takes awhile to get a true understanding of the ocean and it's creatures. But once you're in, it's amazing. Some animals are curious, and some just seem not to care. It is the ones who don't really even notice your presence that make me feel the most at home. They don't even notice, as it feels just right to be in the ocean alongside them.

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Reflection: Art Related to Animal Rights
Steve Baker/Mary Kosut & Lisa Jean Moore
By Megan Mueller (05/31/14 20:17:40)
Steve Baker:
1. Steve Baker thinks people who criticize artists working with animals of being non-ethical is valid. But the purpose of his book is to highlight artists working with the theme of animal rights in ways that take responsibility for their actions without being bound to a clear line of what is right and what is wrong.

"So, against the grain of much contemporary commentary, this book presents the case for the importance of trusting artists to operate with integrity in relation to the animals that figure in their work. It argues that in approaching such work, there's much to be gained by setting out with the expectation that artists can be trusted to act in this manner."

2. The issue for Baker is taking the artist practice seriously.

"The book contends that contemporary art's distinctive contribution to understandings of human-animal relations will be recognized only if artists' practices-flawed and provisional as they may be- are taken seriously. To impose questions of ethics before even attending to the art is, at the very least, to risk failing to take those practices seriously."

3. Baker's criticism of the Rat Piece is that by performing this violent action in front of an audience he was setting the audience up to fail. An audience is generally a passive group. By expecting them to stop the artist is unreasonable. In both pieces, the artists were not concerned with the conditions of rats and goldfish, they were used as literal and symbolic tools to demonstrate life and death.

4. I don't think Baker is necessarily defending the pieces but is saying to not learn from them or to not consider them art would be a waste.

5. I think Baker is generally interested in artists working to highlight the issues of animal rights. But I don't think its necessarily a clear cut yes.

6. When thinking about myself as an artist, I believe that I do have responsibility ethical responsibilities. Those responsibilities include animals. When speaking for artist as a whole, I do not hold the group to the same standards. I do not want to be a censor. I think it is possible to learn from provocative pieces. But I will not partake in that dialogue by compromising animal life.

7. I definitely agree. I think there are many examples of compromise in science and cooking that should be held to the same standards as art practice.

Mary Kosut & Lisa Jean Moore
1. What important questions/issues does the text bring up?
What can contemporary interspecies bee/human art projects tell us about our shifting relationship to “nature” and the “animal” in visual culture?

There are species of animal and insect that held in high regard culturally than others. 1000 dead bees vs 1000 dead kittens.

2. How are the approaches to art making with animals different and/or similar than the ones discussed in Baker's text?
I think the approaches tend to use animal bi products (honey,honey combs, wax) or engage the animal as a co maker of the work.

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Reflection: Animal Communication
Talking to Reese and Napping with Bees
By Tessa Tapscott (04/22/13 11:15:57)
Related animals: Bee, Horse, Human

I found Barbara Janelle’s visit to be very inspiring and thought provoking. While I cannot say that I am true believer in such direct animal communication, I appreciate someone that recognizes that animals are conscious, sentient beings with voices that should be heard. My favorite part of the work shop was when we got to search out and connect with our own animals because I felt like I really did feel myself telepathically talking to them. The mediation exercises to get to the point to be able to do that were very helpful as well. I have been trying to set a side a quiet 15 minutes each day to connect with my horse, Reese, because whether or not I am actually speaking to him or if is all in my head, it is a very calming, centering practice that will only benefit me.
I have found that connecting to Reese is one of the fastest connections, I attribute that to the somewhat telepathic connect we utilize when we go riding together. I can’t say that he has been telling me things that I do not already know or could guess at, but the thoughts come paired with a voice and images that do not seem to be my own. He makes jokes! Most recently when I was saying my goodbyes to him at the end of our session I told him that I miss and love him, to which he responded that he loves me too, but because his heart is physically so much larger than mine it means that he loves me more. Even when these interactions are over I do not feel that I can completely embrace the idea of direct animal communication, but there have been some interesting coincidences; for example, I received a text from the lady that rides Reese (who never sends me updates) saying how good he was that day, right after we began doing these communications. I thing he reason it is so hard for me to accept is because it seems so simple. If I learned this much in one session why could we not all be able to telepathically communicate with animals? If they are so free with their responses, would talking to them like this regularly solve many behavioral issues (both on the animal and the human’s part)?
While I enjoy talking to Reese, I did want to try to connect with some other creatures. I did not set out looking for those creatures and figured that they would just find me when they wanted to. And I was right. I searched for a bench on campus to take a break on and chose one only to realize it was already occupied by a small swarm of wood-boring bees. Usually, this sort of thing would make me quite uncomfortable and I would have gone to find a new bench, but with this class in mind I stayed put. I ended up laying down to take a nap. As I lay there, they the bees simply went on with their business, buzzing quite loudly and near to my head, but never seeming to be bothered by my presence. While I could not quite connect with one in the way I did with Reese, I felt enveloped in their noise and industry. I am enjoying this chance to face animals that I may have once cringed at, but now can view in a new light. Attached is a sad attempt to capture their buzzing.

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Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Telepathic Communication with a giraffe
By Shanti Harris (04/28/09 08:05:03)
Related animal: Giraffe

This weekend I went to the Santa Barbara Zoo. I attempted to communicated with the animals telepathically and sent them both visual and emotional messages. I did not seem to recieve much feedback at first, however, was drawn to the Giraffes. I felt like I was being pulled towards them as I walked along the path at the zoo. When I reached their location, I calmly waltched them interact with eachother. I tried to send one of the giraffes the message that I wished to see him/her more closely so that we could communicate. One of the giraffes turned around and slowly walked a little bit closer towards my direction. The giraffe did not get very close, but had staired at me for about four minutes. I staired back, sending positive vibrations, and felt a calmness, and sweetness as the giraffe looked at me. After four minutes, it had carried on with its previous activities (eating and interacting with the other giraffes) .
I am convinced that the giraffe sensed I was trying to communicate with it. My presense was certainly noticed. I hope to have more encounters like this and develop the awareness and skills to communicate with animals more frequently and clearly.

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Telepathy With Animals Movie
By leona chen (05/12/09 21:33:50)

Telepathy with Animals film
Kathy High: Film producer/ director
Dawn Hayman: animal psychic

The one thing that was interesting from the movie we saw on telepathic communication with animals was the three step activity that helped to engage communication with other animals.

1.) sit quietly with animal
2.) ask them to describe themselves
3.) tell them something about yourself

In the movie, I learned that animal language is a foreign language. Trusting if the animal is actually communicating or if its your own imagination is difficult to tell. And till this day that is still one thing I struggle with in my interspecies collaboration.

Related Website: Animal Communicator: Dawn Hayman
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The Art of Interspecies Communication by Jim Nollman
By Montana McLeod (05/05/14 09:24:28)
The Turkey Trot was a rather interesting piece regarding a man’s ability to facilitate both his admiration for animals and his artistic outlet. Nollman comments on anthropomorphism, the projection of human attributes to an animal. And really, so many of us are guilty of doing it. It’s a form of comical relief and recognizing your pet as an individual. But really we should question why we assume that they must carry human qualities. We automatically assume that they are created with the ability to express emotion and intellect, although that’s not always the case. Jellyfish are brainless, spineless, and heartless. They do not have the capabilities of expressing emotion or intellect, yet we may still project characteristics on them when we see their intraspecific relationships in an aquarium full of jellyfish.
I think this made me question if our pets saw us as only capable of certain emotions. Maybe that’s why they can only respond to certain situations.
Nollman wishes to avert this “dead view” and finds that he can learn from different animals through his artistic abilities. At one point he is told to “ride the turkey’s energy.” This was relatable due to the work we have done with Janelle. To see how he was able to establish a bond and channel the energy was incredible. He acknowledges that the animals may already have their own form of communication, moreover, we who possess the upper hand in knowledge and research, should try to acclimate to theirs. It’s a wonderful idea to be able to communicate with your pet or any animal, however, I do believe that it won’t be obtainable in the way we have since pursued it. He says “language reflects perception” and if we cannot balance the understanding of our perception and their perception, we will not be able to communicate collectively.
The animals must need to be in their own environment, under stable circumstances, and comfortable in the place of human company. By working with the animal and not just by observing the animal he was able to truly gain a better understanding of the animal’s perspective.
These newly developed understandings of mutualistic/ symbiotic relationships provides so much more knowledge for the understanding of the relationships that make up our world, and provides for many necessary functions of life.

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The Country State of Mind
By Megan Mueller (05/22/14 11:33:00)
The Country State of Mind is an excerpt from Barry Lopez's book Arctic Dreams. Its a combination of travelogue, historical information, and critique of research/Western thought. Lopez speaks from the first person and is informed by actually walking the spaces in which he writes about. I underlined quite a bit of the chapter, feeling quite moved by his observations and analysis.

A few gems:
One is better with a precise and local knowledge, and a wariness of borders.

It is impossible to seperate their culture from these landscapes. The lands is like a kind of knowledge traveling in time through them. Land does for them what architecture sometimes does for us. It provides a sense of place, of scale, of history, and a conviction that what they most dread-annihilation, eclipse-will not occur.

English divides time into linear segments by making use of many tenses....A Hopi would be confounded by the idea that time flowed from the past into the present.

A couple students from UCSB did an outdoor art project in the Mojave desert in the beginning of this quarter. We were the first to arrive on site for installation, beating the curator, meaning that we were responsible for finding out plots of land on the 40 acre site. The curator had emailed us a hand drawn map of a cul-da-sac plotting the center point with an existing landmark. Standing in the sand, off the road, we found the road to curve more than the drawing allotted for. Shifting the orientation of the lines from 90 degree angles to a softer rounder curve. The desert seemed desolate. It was hot, barren, every step felt important as you tried to place your foot on areas of sand that appeared sturdy. If they were not, you foot collapsed the roof of shallow tunnels dug beneath the surface.

It took a great deal of time to find the one landmark we were given, it took even more time to drag our materials by hand to our spaces. We had driven a Uhual from Santa Barbara to Wonder Valley, so it was not possible to use the vehicle to deliver our materials any further than the road. The more time that we spent that weekend on the site, the more we saw. We saw two snakes, one coiled under a bush - I assume taking refuge from the sun and the other a small thin white snakes slithering on the ground and then away into a hole in the sand. I saw an iridescently blue beetle play dead when I moved the sand in front of it. There were more plants than I realized were there, in the middle of the day, they looked brown and hot and dead. Once the sun began to set around 6, the color palette shifted to soft greens and yellows.

Point being, the longer I spent time on the site, the more I learned about it. Being present allowed me to realize that there is indeed a flourishing and resilient ecosystem and the nuances of space, time, and place. These animals, insects, etc could be read about but informed me so much more when allowed to be witness to their lives. Mr. Lopez already understands what I have recently just learned. He articulates his observations, experiences, and research in a poetic manner. His way of writing is an inspiration.

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Reflection: Art Made for Non-Human Animals
The Dolphin Excursion-making a map
By Andrea Chase (06/07/10 00:37:55)
Related animal: Dolphin

The dolphin excursion out to Santa Barbara Channel was an extremely exciting experience. As we left the Harbor the day proved to be quite beautiful with not a cloud in the sky. It was an interesting ride weaving in and out of the notorious oil rigs parked in the middle of the channel. 45 minutes after departing we came upon a mega-pod of short-beaked dolphins. They were swimming throughout the water as far as the eye could see. We proceeded to go through various predetermined motions displaying differing levels of excitement, somewhat monitoring the dolphins reactions. The hydrophone's recording of the dolphin's noises was amazing. After following the dolphins for about 45 minutes we had to head home. I thought it would be quite interesting to track the motions of the boat with various symbols representing different stops, motions, meditations, and other interactions with the dolphins by using a gps satilite tracking system.

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The goats at Coal Oil Point Reserve
By Megan Mueller (05/31/14 17:23:13)
Related animal: Goat

The goats at Coal Oil Point are incredible and probably one of the highlights of my quarter. It was my first interaction with a living goat. My knowledge of them previous to our trip was from books or the internet. A couple months ago a video made its way through my Facebook circles that displayed a couple of goats playing with sheet metal. The sheet metal was bent into an arch and secured to the ground. The goats would take turns jumping up onto the top of the metal. From the video its was obvious they were a curious and sure footed animal with excellent balance.

The goats at Coal Oil Reserve were similar in their curiosity and athleticism. Cristina introduced us to the wonderful animals and even had Linda the goat demonstrate her ability to open the gate in exchange for a hug. After that, we were invited to visit with the goats in their fenced in areas. There seemed to be 2-3 adult female goats and 2-3 baby "kid" goats in each space. The goats were incredibly friendly. The adults would nibble on your shirt to get your attention. I petted each of them as much as possible. The kids were also quite friendly and enjoyed being petted. They gathered around us, stood on logs, and even got into some people's laps.

The goats were funny, playful, affectionate. They made vocalizations for attention. They had distinct personalities and obvious intelligence. For me, there is something exhilarating about standing with animals in their spaces. Confidence, posture, and movement all become heightened. The animals were in between a horse and dog in scale, so I found myself wanted to interact with them like dogs. I think a lot of us offered our hands to be smelled in the same way you would a dog. The goats didn't mind but it was clear the gesture didn't mean much to them. I found myself self conscious at first, wanting to make sure I was being respectful of their space. The goats were so friendly and interested that I was quickly comfortable in their space.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Animal Play Behavior
the lonely cat
By Lillian Shanahan (06/07/10 09:12:36)
Related animals: Cat, Stray Cat

The school year is over and I will be leaving the stray cat I have been stry to communicate with. It no longer runs from me but he wont let me with in 3 feet. When i move closer to him he doesn't run away he just slowly walk another 3 feet away.

then we just stand there as he meows to me. Even though I didn't get to a level of complete comfort with him, I was happy that he will stay around in my presence now.

I hope that he

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The Man Who Talks to Whales
By Natalie Croak (06/09/13 12:59:13)
The first chapter of "The Man who Talks to Whales" went into the author's relationship with animals and how this changed as he got older. Ever since I was little I have been fascinated by animals. My mom told me that when I was a toddler she'd let me explore the backyard and I would always bring worms and spiders over to show her (which she definitely did not appreciate). As I got older I continued to love animals, capturing snakes and lizards to watch and keep as pets for a day before letting them go. Nollman describes wanting to learn from animals, not just learn about them. I agree with this because I think that the more that we learn from animals the more we learn about ourselves and how the world operates.
The fourth chapter goes into what Nollman describes as interspecies protocol. One example of this is the lions and bushmen in Africa have an understanding of when it is each groups turn to use the watering hole. I thought that this was really interesting because I never learned about this type of protocol in any of my biology classes. However I think that this type of protocol would only occur when there is a resource that both groups need and there is no shortage of it.

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The Man Who Talks to Whales by Jim Nollman
By Megan Mueller (05/23/14 16:19:38)
This class has been fascinating in the sense that every person has an opinion of the place of animals in our lives and in the world. I don't think I've ever realized the extent before. I am by no means an expert on animals, all of my information is based off of personal experience, internet videos, and Cesear Milan's tv show. But somehow I still feel very well informed and very connected to animals. If I took that same equation and applied it to math or physics, I don't think I would have the same confidence. So I guess what I'm trying to say, is like religion, every person has some sort of belief system (informed or not) about animals.

Nollman's essay presents an intriguing case for animals to be learned from instead of learned about. He articulates the limitations of careers in animal field that he was exposed to as a teenager as well as his surprising reconnection with animals as an adult musician. I respect his sense of play and observation to engage a turkey with sound.

The difference between observation and participation relies on fluidity and dynamic wisdom over traditional data points. The goals are different.

It is fascinating to read Nollman's dialogue around tone and audience. His self awareness and ability to rewrite are admirable. I understand that this way of thinking is not something I've exposed to much in my education and I wonder why not? I find value in his approach.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Interspecies Communication
The Man Who Talks to Whales Reflection
By Erik Shalat (04/15/13 13:26:18)
Related animal: Bird

Chapter one of Jim Nollman’s book, The Man Who Talks to Whales, begins with a view into what led Jim to make his ground breaking work communicating with animals. He believes in our youth it is much easier to relate animals to people, the apparent social gap between the two isn’t as strict. However, by the age of sixteen he had still retained
the sense that animals received an unfair presence in society; animals exhibit traits and characteristics that make them more than just mindless beasts running purely on instinct. Animals can feel joy and pain and sorrow and much more. One thing I found particularly interesting what that Jim found anthropomorphism to be offensive since it suggests that the only way to make animals relatable is to make them virtually just humans. Eventually Nollman moved to Mexico where he first started experimenting with music and animal interactivity, inspired by a neighbor’s turkey that would resonate gobbles with his flute playing. This is where his story becomes a bit more metaphysical and less grounded in substance.

Chapter four, Interspecies Protocol, takes us deep into his ongoing journey past the initial experiments with the turkeys. Interspecies Protocol is a sort of mutually understood agreement between animals and humans. Having an interspecies protocol is a symbol of animal respect, as it shows that there is a certain amount of control being in the animal’s control; they are not forced to buckle under human whims. His first example of protocol is with the Bushmen of the Kalahari desert, who would schedule trips to a watering hole in an effort to avoid conflicts with lions. When ranchers were introduced to the desert they started intruding on the lion’s water hole time and this disrupted the balance leading to the extinction of the bushmen.

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Reflection: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
The Man Who Talks to Whales Response #1
By Marissa Gravett (04/17/13 23:20:03)
Related animals: Anemone, Clownfish

In Chapter 1, Nollman describes his relationship with animals and how it changed as he grew up over the years. This chapter really made me think about my relationship with animals and how it has changed from when I was a young girl because I have always felt mine to be unique. I thought that it was very interesting how he stated that he “did not necessarily want to learn about them, so much as [he] wanted to learn from them.” Seeing as I have been affiliated with many jobs and volunteer programs involving animals, I contemplated whether or not I do these things because I want to expand my knowledge about them or if I want to learn from them. This made me question my reasoning for choosing to spend my time with animals in my jobs and internships. Although I did not come to a definite conclusion, I have a feeling that my intentions are to learn about the animals so that I can better understand them so they can eventually teach me more about myself. I really enjoyed reading about Nollman’s journey to find meaning in his relationships with animals over the years in this first chapter.

In Chapter 4, Nollman explains the different “protocols” between animal-human species such as lions and bushmen and clownfish and anemone. He defines interspecies protocol as the forms and manners (and defense procedures) that any species conforms to when relating to another species. I thought his discussion of the clownfish and anemone relationship was exceptionally interesting. I have always been taught that their relationship was a symbiosis where both organisms have a physical codependence that is advantageous to both species. Nollman describes their relationship as more of a protocol, which is more of a social behavior that is established between the individuals. I had never thought of their relationship in this way, so it was interesting to think about these two species’ interactions from a different perspective. We tend to group animal relationships as characteristics of the species as a whole, but as Nollman argues, it is very important to look at the relations between individuals

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The Man Who Talks To Whales: Nollman's Visit, Turkey Trot, Interspecies Collab.
By Alli Harrod (04/09/10 21:02:07)
Related animals: Anemone, Clownfish, Grizzly Bear, Lion, Whale

"The Turkey Trot" and "Interspecies Protocol" are two sections from Jim Nollman’s novel "The Man Who Talks To Whales" that discuss the difference between studying about animals and collaborating with animals. During Nollman’s discussion in person, he epitomizes the distinction between studying and collaborating as “objectivity” and “subjectivity.” Nollman argues that scientific study of animals is objective because it is based on observations while interspecies collaboration views an animal as an individual rather than an entity that is a part of a larger group. He claims that failing to see animals as individuals is, what we have discussed thus far in "Interspecies Collaboration," “speciesism/speciesist” because denying an animal their individuality means that one assumes that every animal in any given species is exactly the same as all of the others. Furthermore, speciesism places one species above another. Clearly, just like humans, not all animals have exhibited the same social/environmental conditions, so to assume that they are not individuals is therefore absurd. In "The Turkey Trot," Nollman states, “I did not want to learn about them [animals,] so much as I wanted to learn from them [animals]” and with his collaboration with whales and turkeys, Nollman has learned much about members of those species’s realms of life through music.

In his personal discussion in class he mentioned that he felt like the whales communicated with him when they changed their pitch to mock his and repeated the same ‘notes’ back to him. He argues that scientific objectivity can not even begin to describe his experiences with whales and turkeys because it is unquantifiable information – Nollman spent many years interacting with whales, for example, and learning about their culture. The inability of those who do not view animals as subjects, Nollman argues, keeps them from understanding animals, and species(es) as a whole because they are not willing to put in time like Nollman has, to find a quality connection and do not view animals as collaborators. In "Interspecies Protocol" he uses the relation between the Kalahari Bushmen and lions to exemplify and highlight the history of human/animal bonds and the result of the destruction of those bonds. He describes that the peaceful relationship of Bushmen and lions through out time changed to a relationship of “fear and disrespect” once ranching was introduced and the Bushmen’s lifestyle changed (50). He claims that before the introduction of ranching, lions and Bushmen had a mutual agreement to respect each others’ spaces and never squabbled, but both lions and Bushmen were killed and the result yielded “no interspecies protocol” (51). Nollman’s experience/insights on interspecies protocol and subjectivity help interspecies collaborators like ourselves be more conscientious about our responsibilities as collaborators in the way we treat other species and how we view them in relation to ourselves.

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The reef and pig sanctuary
By Andrew (06/10/13 19:35:49)
Related animal: Pig

Interpecies Collaboration Week 7

Since I haven’t talked about them yet I would like to talk about our trips to the reef on campus and the pig sanctuary in Solvang. I had never been to the reef until our class field trip and I’m sad that I missed out on it this whole time. In the two hour touch tank/information session I learned a ton of weird and interesting facts about some of the species of water animals that were at the reef. The most interesting was the octopus. I knew they were smart animals, but I had no idea they were capable of doing some of the “tricks” that they can do. The fact that an octopus can fit through any space that’s the same size or bigger than its head is outrageous; especially taking into account how many arms an octopus has.

The pig sanctuary was better than I could have ever imagined. For some reason I thought they would all be in confined spaces and separated from each other, but it was the opposite. The pigs got to roam the grounds for the most part and only the mean ones were kept in other areas. The pigs had such character. Madison brought some snacks for the pigs that I started feeding them with and one actually began following me searching for more food. I stopped walking and sat down in the dirt hoping the pig would do the same. I wanted to get on the pigs level and see how it would react to me face to face. After trying to bite my nose off thinking it was food, the pig laid down next to me signaling for a stomach rub. I gave the pig a brief massage and it was instantly asleep. They were like little children that just wanted love, pieces of apple, and a stomach massage. I felt like I had connected with this pig because I took care of it for a little and for that the pig saw me as a friend and not food or an intruder like when we first arrived. When we were almost ready to leave something very strange happened. I was walking across the pig sanctuary to meet with the rest of the group and on the way I walked passed two pigs just standing around. I told them to come with me like I would to my dog and they both started walking a few feet behind me. They followed me all the way to the other side of the sanctuary and when we arrived at the group they parted ways. They somehow understood what I said or the hand gesture I gave them. It was awesome!

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Reflection: History/Philosophy - Relationship Human/Non-Human
By Andrea Chase (04/18/10 20:49:14)
This reading was interesting in its discussion of artists' conceptions of creativity as stemming solely from "wild" inspirations. It reminds me of the positive relation that has been often associated with creativity bred from that which is natural and not affected by human influence. From architecture to narrative the unexplored regions of wilderness, whether tangible or emotional, have always served as a means of inspiration. It does not surprise me that conceptual artists over the past century have turned to that which is considered removed from the hand of man in order to advance art movements. The various artists discussed seemed to want to push the boundary between the relations of that which should not be interacted with, the wild. The didactic between the right to tame and the highly unnatural need to overcome instinct is the main discussion through much of these artists works.

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
By Heather Sielke (04/21/10 07:57:29)
Related animals: Cat, Dog

After Barbara Janell's workshop on Thursday I went home to try some of the things she taught us. In class we had this one one exercise that we tried to enter an animal and try and communicate with them. I chose my eldest cat Twinkle Bell which I have had since I was four years old. A couple of weeks ago we lost her and I wanted to see how she might be feeling after the ordeal. We found her a day and a half later in my neighbors yard she had gotten in a fight with this annoying orange cat that like to torment her at night in our back window. Also in the past few weeks we had to cut and pretty much shave her fur because it had gotten matted a kind of dread lock. In the class while think of her I felt calm but every time I tried to think of her my left index finger would twitch and would not stop until I stopped trying to communicate. When I got home I tried it again with her in my lap and got the same twitch. I do not know what it is about and am confused.

So then I was pet sitting and child sitting my neighbor's child and dog and I decided to teach Timmy the child how to communicate with Scooter the dog. I sat down with them and tried to focus in on being inside the dog Timmy just wanted to watch. First I focused on myself and what I was feeling then I tried to "enter" the dog's mind (i guess). I got an extraordinary wave of thirst. When I stopped I was no longer thirsty. I was time to take Timmy over to get dressed for bed and so when I took them over and let Scooter go she went straight for the water bowl I thought it was so weird.

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Thoughts on "The Man Who Talks to Whales"
By Kirsten Howard (04/09/10 20:42:47)
Related animals: Anemone, Turkey

There is a part of Jim Nollman's text that caught my attention. It is from "The Man Who Talks to Whales," in the very first chapter and second paragraph. He states,

"They say that a human fetus retraces the path of evolution in its development from one-celled creature to human being. This is known as ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny. I say that the process continues long after birth, but now on the level of culture. A five-year-old is much closer to his animal roots than a six-year-old. And so, with each passing year the chasm between us humans and the rest of nature grows wider and wider." (5)

I would agree with Nollman in that we do begin to separate from animals as we grow up, at least in this culture. However, I have recently begun reading the Hindu text, "The Bhagavad Gita," as well as "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali," and something that both mention is that with the study of meditation, yoga, and spiritual practice, a sort of involution happens (the opposite of evolution). By this, I mean that one can come to realize that the Self is the same inside everyone, every being, everything. With this realization comes a further compassion for others and animals. I came to this realization before reading those books, during a yoga class. I had a sudden strong sense of oneness with all beings, and after that class, I have never eaten meat for that reason. Therefore, when I read that paragraph by Nollman, I realized that it doesn't have to be the case that we come into this world being one with animals, and we slowly become separate from them further and further with age. I think that if we work on understanding animals, and that they have spirits within them, that we will return back to a state of oneness with all animals and all beings.

I have been thinking about what to do for a project, and I keep coming back to this idea of feeling close to animals when meditating and doing yoga, and I wonder if there is someway I could incorporate this into a project. I also have thought about ideas of giving. One idea is to brush my hair and my dogs hair, and leave the strands that come out under a tree where birds are present, because they make nests out of things like that. Perhaps my dog and I could also collect branches and twigs and leave them there too for the birds to make nests. These are my current thoughts, we'll see what comes of them :)

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Reflection: Other Related Research
Thoughts on Final Project
By Madison Wanamaker (05/20/13 12:23:08)
For the gallery exhibition next week I have decided to show my 10 pig portraits, along side a group of other non human portraits as two separate but related bodies of work. I am enlarging the prints to larger-then-life size to bring attention to the details of each face. I hope to use the editing of the photographs, the size of the prints, and the display to elevate my subjects, in a way that will provoke thoughts about these animals, and our relationships with them. In the second group I will similarly display another 10 various non human animals including, foxes, cats, dogs, and rats, who have participated in my portrait project. It is my belief that putting socially recognizable "pets" in the same light as a pig- something most americans eat- that the viewer will be forced to see the similarity in the many species while also seeing the uniqueness of the individuals.
I have not finalized my decision of which animals to include in the second group, however I will include several options below. One of my main concerns is that many viewers have their own opinion about which animals are "pets". I am trying to create a group of animals that are identifiable as elevated to a certain degree of companionship, to contrast the pot bellied pigs. Maybe some animals I consider pets, like a rat, may be as equally undeserving as a pig to others?

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Reflection: Animal Communication
By Cori Arnold (05/11/09 14:56:01)
Related animal: Dog

Labor Day weekend my twelve-year old family Dachshund passed away. My mother had called me two days before telling me that the dog had become rapidly ill and that the veterinarians were doing testing. His life and his pain quickly ended, leaving me very sad and determined to raise a dog of my own.

Within twenty-four hours I had found the most adorable Dachshund ever! He was black and tan with curly long hair, and the cutest eyes a puppy could posses. I was instantly sold and brought him home. From the moment that I had first seen this dog he was the happiest non-human animal I had ever encountered. To this day he is still the happiest dog I have ever known. In addition to his blissful personality he is extremely intelligent. Anything that he has been taught he picks up within a few hours. I was having extreme difficulties with having him go to the bathroom outside, because he would not bark to let me know that he needed to go outside. Since it was around Christmas, I had a bunch of old sleigh bells and decided to try and hang one from a piece of string on the back door, in hopes that he would ring it when he needed to be let out. Initially I was very skeptical of this method; even though, other dog owners had told me it had worked for them in the past. I hung the bell and showed him once or twice what the purpose of it was and within an hour or two he had figured it out! I was astonished with how quickly he had learned to use the bell as a form of communication with me.

There are many things, which I have trained my dog to do and I could probably write a short book about his intelligence and his modes of communicating with me, but one last thing I would like to mention is giving him his daily medication. A few months ago, he had a foreign body stuck in his left eyeball. I had to take him to an eye specialist in Arroyo Grande to have it removed and fortunately he completely healed and was back to normal within two weeks following the procedure. The eye-specialist informed my husband and I that we would need to give him eye drops for the rest of his life two times a day, stating that this would help prevent him from having dry-eye and possibly running into the same issue again. I was extremely concerned that it would be difficult to give him the drops twice each day, especially after watching "The Dog Whisperer", because there are couples on that show all of the time who have issues with giving their dogs medication. I decided to try and make him as comfortable as I could when giving him the drops. First, I began by sitting down on the floor and having him curl up into my lap. Then, I would let him smell what I was about to put into his eyes, so he knew what to expect. Finally, once I was finished I would give him a treat for being a good dog. This has quickly become our daily routine, to the point where all I need to say is "Topper let's do your eye drops" and he is running over to me to curl up into my lap, putting his head back and keeping his eyes open. I barely need to do anything to hold him still, it is amazing!

I find it fascinating that although I can not physically communicate in English with my dog, we have managed to find our own way of communicating with one another. Obviously my methods are not full-proof, but are and have been extremely useful. I have found the work I've been doing to raise my pet very helpful to understanding how I can possibly communicate with other non-human animals. I have learned that it is not impossible to communicate with the other species, it may be difficult and take time to figure out, but I do feel that it is quite important to understand non-human animals and their interactions with humans.

Click on images to enlarge photos

Notice how his left eye is dilated, this was after the foreign body was removed.
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Reflection: Other Related Research
Tree Healing
By Sarina Martinez (04/21/10 23:00:34)
Barbara's workshop brought about some very interesting ideas that I have over looked before. I know that a person personal emotions can affect the people around them, and also that animals are more subjective to emotions. I just never thought to put the two together and consider how my mood could affect an animal.

I have a little dog, Hallow, and I tried some of the techniques that Barbara demonstrated in class. The first was to try and see Hallow's size, and she seems smaller than her body. At times I can feel that she fits the size of her body but in general she is quite a bit smaller. I think this has a lot to do with her being in a shelter and being abandoned. So I tried to sit with her and send positive and confidence boosting vibes. She seems to be especially receptive to emotion so I feel that these sessions of positivity will help her greatly.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Animal Communication
Trip to the West Campus Stables.
By Erik Shalat (05/13/13 09:48:37)
Related animal: Horse

This has been a great quarter to go see big animals. I’ve seen huge farm pigs, sheep and cattle. A few days ago I visited the West Campus Stables to draw from live horses for my intermediate drawing course. I have a history with horses; I tried to learn to ride them one summer when I was about five and our neighborhood is considered very “horse-friendly” with several equestrian riders trotting along our streets and parks. Actually, the park at the bottom of my street has about three horse farms surrounding it. So while I see horses often, I don’t think i’ve actually touched one or interacted with one in several years.

I managed to form a bond with one horse by the name of Chief. Before I tried to draw him I petted him and fed him some grass, because that seems like the thing to do around a horse I suppose. Later when we were left to our own devices, I hung around his pen and he kept following me when I tried to draw him. I would pet and feed him, and try to go back to drawing, he would get right back in my face and beat his hoof on the fence. He stayed right next to me for about half an hour. At a certain point I was more interesting in interacting with the horse than trying to capture it in illustration so I put down the paper and pencil and started moving around. The horse would follow me back and forth along fence. I would go to the very end of the fence very quickly, and he would beat his hooves again and walk over.

Horses have curious faces. When you look closely, you can see why horses are associated with dour, long faces. It’s more than the downwards, extended mouths. They have very sorrowful eyes. Something I love about horse’s appearance is that they have such a sheen to them. The short hair and thick, prominent muscles makes them glisten in the sun.

A misconception I had about horses is that they’re always standing up. I was under the impression that horses were too fragile and if they fell down they would break their legs. The horses on the West Campus Stables would roll around in the dirt with the kinetic force of a car. They propelled themselves down and got on their backs and twisted and turned. When I saw it I was frightened; I thought they were hurting themselves. Horses are a lot sturdier than I thought.

I am considering a project with horses, assuming I can gain access to the West Campus Stables without people getting angry that I am using their pets for art. Horses are a very easy animal to feel empathy with. That is generally true of larger animals like dogs, horses and pigs. Horses are much more reactive than pigs I feel, so there is definitely some potential for projects.

[Write Comment]
Trying to communicate with a cat
By Lillian Shanahan (04/21/10 15:04:54)
Related animal: Cat

There is a cat that lives out in the buses near the CLAS building. I have been trying to get it to come to me for weeks, but the moment it sees any human being it runs off into the bushes again. I found out that one the ladies who works on campus has been feeding the cat for a while. We talked about it and came to the conclusion that the cat must have been abandoned by some IV student and had had some traumatic experiences,

thus the cats protocol with humans is run on site. She gave me some cat food so that on the days she can't feed it I will. She said she has been feeding it for 6 months and its still afraid of her. although now it will stand for her to be near him while it eats.

She named the cat Tommy (for Tom Cat). After Barbara's lecture I have been trying to communicate with the cat- I have done it at least 3 times, but still no success, the last time I closed my eyes and concentrated hard- but when I opened them the cat was no longer there.. I just kinda felt stupid.

But I am not discouraged, I am going to still try and communicate and hopefully allow the cat to become more comfortable with me and know that I mean it no harm.

I actually had a dream last night that I got the cat to come to me except I feed it my coffee instead of the regular food. It seemed to enjoy the coffee, but I didnt want to make it sick so I can to get the food and came back and sta with it while it ate... and it talked to me and told me that the food was salty and addictive and that its not what cats should it bc its mainly full of grain....

I don't know if that was the cat talking to me or just my own prejudices against processed animal food.

[Write Comment]
Reflection: Animal Play Behavior
Turtle Attack
By Sara Selmic (05/13/13 12:36:24)
Related animals: Mallard Duck, Pond Life, Tadpole, Tortoise

I went back yet again with just bread this time. The ducks were again trampling the turtles to get to the bread. I was starting to think these ducks are pretty mean. The mother was there with her ducklings again, but they were out and about no longer attached at their mother's side. Two of the ducks were sleeping near their mother who was also sleeping, but the other two were frolicking about in the water. I was watching them play as some turtles came up to the bank where I was and just observed me, when I took my camera out to take a photo they got scared and ran away. It was sort of silly. A little later I saw a large turtle trying to bite the ducklings. Then a woman told me that their used to be six ducklings, but the turtles got to them. That is so crazy to me. I thought the ducks were the mean ones and I had no idea turtles were into that. I thought they were strict vegetarians. So with the help of this woman we ushered the ducklings towards their mother so they wouldn't get chomped on any further by the turtles.
I also randomly saw a huge koi fish in the pond. I've never seen one that size, it was magnificent.

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
Turtles and Ducks
By Sara Selmic (05/13/13 12:27:22)
Related animals: Mallard Duck, Turtle

The next time I went to see the ducks and turtles I brought them food. I brought cucumber pieces for the turtles, because this is what my friends with these types of turtles fed them and bread for the ducks. I first went to give the turtles their food, but soon realized only the large turtles would eat the cucumber pieces and a few small ones. I hung out with one turtle who didn't seem to mind I was sitting so close to it, the rest would jump into the water, but they were younger turtles. I then threw the turtles a little bit of bread and they were swarming around and fighting each other for it. They must have gotten used to people throwing bread into the pond I thought. Soon the ducks came over realizing I was throwing bread. They were rather vigorous and mean to the turtles, swimming over them to get to the bread. I shortly ran out of my food supply. I went to a different part of the pond to sit with the ducks again. A woman pointed out to me a mother with her ducklings and I sat and observed them for a long while. The ducklings had difficulty getting in and out of the water and would stay by their mother's side at all times. They even sat under her to sleep, it was so interesting.

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Reflection: Non-Art Interspecies Collaborations
UCSB "Reef"
By Michael Walter Lambert (05/05/09 18:09:36)
Related animals: Crab, Pond Life, Star Fish, Tiger Shark

Our trip to the reef at the UCSB or the Marine Science Institute gave me a chance to interact with sea life that I normally would never encounter. I had only brief experiences with this kind of sea life in the past. This sea life was very interesting. Most of the animals had no heads, I guess you could say they were very basic. I wonder how much the think. It was great to get to touch some of these animals even I was initially timid. I was curious but a little scared. It is interesting to feel life that you don't understand. My inability to understand these animals makes it difficult for me to think of a collaboration with them that they would approve of. However basic the sea life they were still fascinating. They were prickly, sticky, gooey and seemingly content. There were also crabs and tiger sharks. One of the sharks seemed to be doing something of a dance near the surface of the water. The rest of the sharks were less playful. Some of the animals interacted and some didn't. The octopus was shy and so too was the lobster. The fish were of different sizes. It would be interesting to find the likes and dislikes of the starfish, the animal that I thought exemplified the group, and to collaborate accordingly.

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Reflection: Non-Human Animal Perception and Cognition
unexpected collabortation
By Jenna Ferri (05/07/10 11:33:27)
Related animal: Dog

This past week I had an unexpected collaboration with a dog I had never met. This dog whom we nicknamed yoda due to his appearance was sitting outside sweet alley waiting for his owner. Yoda was waiting patiently and had the sweetest look on his face so I decided to try and collaborate with him. I wanted to see life from his perspective so I layed down next to him and see what he was experiencing.
The most unusual thing happened, when I laid down with my elbows on the floor but my knees still supporting me, he mocked my pose and shifted his body to bow down like mine was. He was so perceptive to how I was moving and he felt he needed to mock it to form an unspoken bond. I tried another position and yet again he followed my moves. We had this connection though not for long between the two of us that was pretty magical.
Attached is a picture of him bowing right after I had gotten onto the ground.

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Comment by LisaJ (06/14/10 17:15:31):
great impulse and picture!
Walking with Giants & the Grizzly man
By Avid Mozaffarian (05/20/10 11:38:38)
In “Walking with the Giants” the two researcher couple took on the task of reintroducing 3 bear cubs to the wild on an Island called Kamchatca off of Russia. Their minimal interference with the cub’s process of collecting food and learning how to hunt was a very positive way. I do wish they would of kept the Island secure of hunting bears from hunters by getting help from the government and restricting some laws. The researchers interaction with the other bears on the Island for the researchers might have been positive, but from the bears perspective it had a negative effect. They allowed the bears to trust humans to some extend and that made it easier for hunters to get closer to the bears and hunt them.
On the other side of the spectrum, in “Grizzly Man” the same basic concept was created. I do believe his interaction with the bears for such a long period of time could have been a positive step forward for human interaction and understanding of bears to know what each noise they make or jester they do means. His move to stay on the Island longer was not a good move. To stay in the territory and deal with unfamiliar bears was a ‘stupid’ move. The releasing of all the films and documentation of the work into the hands of a person that was not on the same page as he was and the creation of the documentary the film maker made, in my opinion only made the guy who spent 13 years living with bears, look like a weirdo and his words not taken seriously. He might had done what he did, living with bears for so long, to make himself feel better, but at the same time he also did an extraordinary and amazing act of bonding with bears and getting close to them. The article interview written by his old friend clearly states the same facts and tries to prove to us that he is not the crazy, weird person that he is being portrayed as in the film documentary.

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Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Warm trees
By Raymond Douglas (06/08/13 19:21:19)
Related animals: Dog, Human, Tree

Since Barbara Janelle’s visit numerous weeks ago I’ve retained a strong level of appreciation and fondness for the work she does. I must preface by saying that part of me wants to be a devout skeptic over animal and psychic communication. There is simply something to be said about the lack of said communication taking place and being recognized globally since the beginnings of language and animal relationships. I feel the majority of American pet owners talk to their pets in English with a very childish tone to somehow stoop to their level in order to communicate more easily and provide comfort. This is also something I am skeptical about. I believe that high-level communication with animals, if there is such a thing, should consist of a high level of respect for them. Relatively, your pet may be the same age as you, so it would make sense to avoid all inconsiderate behavior about their age and abilities. I see it daily: a person is walking their adorable dog down the street (which could be for a number of reasons – exercise, potty time, or to attract the opposite sex) when a person comes over to greet and hopefully pet this cute animal. As they make first contact, they say, in a baby-like voice, “Helllooooo, little guy! How are you today?” During times like these, my want to be a skeptic is thrown aside as I wonder what an animal communicator could glean from such a scenario. If it were capable of a higher lever of cognition and communication, would the pet enjoy being treated like a small, infantile creature? Or would it be instantly offended and seek retaliation by backing away, growling, or going for the bite of the hand? My curious mind thankfully permits my thoughts to go wild and embrace difficult to grasp ideas. So, with such preconceptions I came into the class with Barbara with hopes for reaching an understanding that I had yet to grasp. We started with inter-human exercises and then were tasked with venturing out onto the campus to locate a tree, walk towards it, touch it, walk away, and return to it to place our backs against the trunk. At this point we were to ask the tree a question that, as a very passive creature, was to answer in a very physical and powerful way. I found a large pine tree down by the papermaking lab, touched it, walked away, and then returned to it to ask if things would change in the ways I anticipated after graduation. Sure, a typical, almost cliché question, but I was crazy curious to what kind of response I would get. I asked, I waited, and then my chest, as my back remained against the tree’s trunk, began to get warmer in a most comfortable way. My skeptical side wanted to disregard this sensation as one of some other biological function, but I couldn’t ignore it. Since it was such a positive, relaxing feeling, I took that to mean that things will go as planned. I thanked the tree and walked back to class without looking backwards. As Barbara commenced the actual animal communication workshop with Laurel’s dog, Abby, I couldn’t help but to think of my experience with the tree and much more profound it was than my inability to communicate with Abby. Maybe I’m a tree person?

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Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
week 6- grizzly man response
By Evan Hynes (06/07/10 22:57:01)
Related animal: Bear

Before actually watching th entirety of Werner Herzog's film, Grizzly Man, I had already formed my opinion of Timothy Treadwell's work with bears--that his work with bears was foolish, and that his death was inevitable because of his work's foolish nature. I had based this off of hearing many people comment on the film; it seemed to be the message of the film. In fact, after watching Grizzly Man, I can confidently say that this is probably the message the film maker was going for. He portrays Timothy Treadwell as a risk-taker and a dare devil. After reading a response to the film by a friend of Timothy Treadwell's, Charlie Russell, however, I now have a different view of Timothy Treadwell's work with bears. Yes, it is true Timothy Treadwell was taking a major risk when working with bears. But the fact that he spent many winters of many years, and upward of 3500 hours working, interacting, and living peacefully (until his death) with bears needs to be recognized not as the crazy act of a flamboyant wild life advocate, but rather as an astonishing, worthy point being made in a physical sense; the fact that he spent so much time living with bears shows that bears are not necessarily dangerous by nature. Instead, I would argue that although bears can be dangerous, it is our presence around them that causes the danger--yet with the right understanding of them and the knowledge of how they live, bears and humans can exist in the same environment theoretically, with no negative impacts on either groups. This point that is also argued in Russell's text about Treadwell, is unfortunately overshadowed by Treadwell's death and the portrayal of his death in Herzog's film. Nontheless, Herzog is a talented film maker, and I did enjoy the film, but it was very important for me to read Russell's response because it shed light on the life and work of Treadwell in an alternative way.

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Reflection: Other Related Research
whale man book
By Evan Hynes (04/22/10 21:59:11)
In Jim Nollman’s first chapter of his book, The Man Who Talks to Whales, pretty much just covers a basic background on his experience communicating with animals. He makes it really easy for the reader to relate to his stories because his writing style is not dense and doesn’t take itself too seriously. He talks about his encounters with such curious animals as deer, turkeys, snakes, fish, etc. He is a good writer, so it immediately drew me in to the stories and helped me have confidence that I too will experience an encounter with an animal that is willing to work with me in an artistic collaboration.

The second chapter we had to read focused on interspecies collaborations between non-human species and humans. It talked about how bushmen would somehow convince lions to stop making so much noise at night, and the symbiotic relationship between clownfish and sea anemones. The reading was definitely a nice supplement to his visit and talk. He definitely has a lot of knowledge to share and I plan on contacting him if I decide to do something related to his experience working with animals.

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Whale watching
By Megan Mueller (05/31/14 18:47:35)
I went whale watching on a sail boat on May 18th. We saw seven grey whales (5 adults and 2 babies) not far off shore roughly around the mesa area of Santa Barbara. Apparently, this is uncharacteristically late in the season to see whales.

The captain had heard that there were a bunch of whales right around the corner from the harbor. So we hurried over to the area where they were last spotted. I scanned the water looking for any sign of movement and after about 10 minutes we saw water erupt into the air from what we could assume was the whales blow hole about 100 yards from us. We began to get closer to the whales and ended up spending 2 hours following behind them up the coast. We approached cautiously but over the course of the afternoon, seemed to get more comfortable with them and vice versa. They swam quite close to the boat on a couple occasions. The energy on the sail boat was electric. We were mostly quite and dedicated to looking at the water. The whales would submerge during periods of the time and reappear to gasps and laughter on the boat. Dolphins also appeared to be swimming with the whales for a period time. One of my most distinct memories of the day was the sound of water exiting the blow hole. The human equivalent would be trying to exhale forcefully through the closed lips of your mouth times 1000. The whales were such a physical presence. At one point a whale breeched its entire head out of the water. Basically appearing to be vertical in its orientation. I saw a whale's face!

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Where have the bunnies gone?
By Andrea Chase (06/03/10 21:51:45)
Related animal: Rabbit

I was looking through various photos of my rabbit friends who live in my yard reflecting on the fact that I have not seen Fredrick or Blackfoot in a couple months. I try not to let me mind wander to the darker thoughts that accompany their absence. For even if the worse has happened, ie death, it is a necessary part of life and a natural progression that we humans tend to obsess upon unnaturally. Since we are so removed from daily struggles for survival, unlike wild animals, we have come to fear that which is ultimately inevitable; whereas the wild face death daily only to persevere to survive another day. Anyway I find myself wondering where have all the bunnies gone?

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