Beetles for Change
Acrylic on Canvas
Jordan Miinch, University of Wisconsin-Stout
In Collaboration with Dara Fillmore, Water Resources Specialist, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Beetles for Change is an exploration of the intricate relationships between invasive and native plant species, as well as the crucial role that Galerucella calmariensis (Cella) Beetles play in restoring ecological balance. Through Jordan’s work, he Sought to shed light on the often-overlooked biodiversity that is threatened by the spread of invasive plants, such as Purple Loosestrife, which deprive native plants of vital resources.
His inspiration for this project came from the remarkable work of Dara Filmore, a passionate Water Resource Specialist who works with cella beetles, that are eaters of invasive plant species. By utilizing these remarkable creatures, we can combat the damage caused by invasive plants and restore a healthier ecosystem full of vibrancy and color.
In his artistic vision, he sought to contrast the simplicity of the beetles with their immense significance in promoting biodiversity by use of color and line. While the beetles may appear unremarkable at first glance, their contribution to restoring ecological balance is unmatched. By showcasing the beauty and importance of these creatures through his art, Jordan hopes to inspire a greater appreciation for the complex systems that sustain our planet and encourage greater efforts to protect and preserve them.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jordan Miinch is a Wisconsin-born queer artist whose work draws inspiration from themes of nature and the human form. He skillfully combines saturated colors and humor to create a captivating and entertaining experience for viewers. Explore more of his work on his website or on Instagram @Jcmiinch.png
ABOUT THE Water Partner
Dara Fillmore works as a Wisconsin DNR Water Resources Specialist. Her fieldwork is focused on the Lake Superior and St. Croix River basins, aquatic invasive species, invasive knotweed, common buckthorn, bush honeysuckle, and purple loosestrife. It’s the work with biological control beetles that eat purple loosestrife that got her connected with an artist through the Flow project. Since 2019, she and volunteer partners have raised and released nearly 230,000 Galerucella Calmariensis (Cella) beetles to chow down on invasive loosestrife. This (unfortunately beautiful) plant was introduced in the mid-1800s and has taken over wetlands, ditches and shorelines, where it replaces native vegetation needed by wildlife. The beetles eat the plants and wear them down so they don’t flower well or produce seeds, giving native plants an opportunity to again take root. When she isn’t working, Dara can be found taking photos, hiking and visiting with friends from around the world.