Getting busy!

Things have really been hopping over the last few weeks as I’ve done a slew of workshops and presentations!

I was asked to make an online presentation for students a three schools in Wilton in connection with this year’s Wilton Reads selection Vigil Harbor by Julia Glass (I’m adding this one to my to be read list immediately!)

The book, is described as “a contemporary novel, set 10 years in the future in a small coastal community in Massachusetts, where residents are struggling with changes and difficulties including climate instability, political violence, and domestic upheavals.” It will be a perfect complement to the books I’ve just finished, Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Talents and Parable of the Sower. If you have never read Octavia E. Butler’s work, do yourself a favor and read some ASAP.

I was able to visit Wilton High School by zoom at the beginning of April, and will visit the Cider Mill Elementary School by zoom next week. All the presentations are recorded and will be shared out with the students of Wilton Middle School (the older middle schoolers will see the HS presentation, the younger middle schoolers will see the elementary school presentation). I was really thrilled to be asked, as this partnership allows me to share the project with about 2800 Wilton public school students.

In addition, last week’s visit to bring the whale sewing project to Wesleyan University was SO MUCH FUN. I didn’t realize it was an accepted students day, so there was a lot of traffic including students and parents. It was hot (in the upper 80s, low 90s) but people braved the heat and joined us in sewing both the bowhead whale and the humpback whale. I’ll share photos when I have them.

Also in early April, I visited Our House in Meriden to connect with their amazing after school program. I love this group of kids– always so inquisitive and full of energy.

I also had the distinct pleasure of visiting the Plumb Memorial Library in Shelton to tour their gorgeous facilities and collaborate with Miss Maura for some children’s programming. You should follow Miss Maura on Facebook— she is doing some incredible work!

In the coming week, in addition to visiting Cider Mill School, I’ll be bringing a whale back to UHart for an Earth Day Sewing event on April 20th (fingers crossed the weather will cooperate).

Then, I will– for the second time– have the distinct honor of making a transatlantic voyage with Virgin Voyages’ Valiant Lady to lead a series of sewing workshops with their passengers.

Why is an environmentalist going on a cruise? Great question! Virgin Voyages uses no single-use plastics on their ships. When they reached out to me for this collaboration, I did a little research to learn more about how they address sustainability and to review their Sustainability Accounting Standards Board report (see below).

I was expecting greenwashing, but was excited to see that they address sustainability in a comprehensive and thorough way. This is really important because of what a game changer this is for the cruising industry.

Did you know that before covid hit, upwards of 25 million people went on cruises EVERY YEAR (data). Industry insiders are expecting this to bounce back by 2024. Cruising is a huge industry, and it is better for the oceans if it is done in an environmental way. I’m happy to partner with Virgin Voyages for this work. I’ll share photos and stories along the way!

Wesleyan Connection Story: Art and Policy Salon

Here’s a great story on the Art and Policy Salon from the Wesleyan Connection. It was a really incredible event– so inspiring to hear from and exchange ideas with Katie Pearl, Raquel Bryant, and Alex Rodriguez, all moderated by Michael Feldman.  We discussed the links between science, art, policy, and action. The event was capped off by an excerpt from PearlDamour’s Ocean Filibuster which will have its Connecticut premiere in the Center for the Arts Theater from Thursday, May 4 through Saturday, May 6, 2023.

Just a glimpse of this production was so moving, I know the full show will be a transformational experience.

For more information about or tickets for the Ocean Filibuster, please visit

Don’t forget– the Wesleyan sewing event is tomorrow!

Sewing Event: This Friday at WESU

This Friday, April 14th from 11AM – 4PM we’re going to be sewing the humpback whale at Wesleyan in Middletown.

This piece will eventually be 51 feet long! Each square is 3 x 3 feet.

This is event is free and open to the public– hopefully it will be a beautiful spring day and an amazing opportunity to enjoy making art outside!

Connecticut Science Center STEM events

Here’s some fun footage of kids and adults sewing along as a part of the CT Science Center’s Careers in STEM showcase on March 31, 2023.

About 450 students cycled through the science center during the event. It was so fun!

Then on April 1st I had the distinct pleasure of joining a panel for the science center’s Youth in STEM: a leadership and change maker summit. Not only was it an immense pleasure to share the stage with amazing folks like UConn’s Gladis Kersaint, Amy Gonsalves from Dominion Energy, and Alex Rodriguez from Save the Sound, but we had the opportunity to see some amazing student projects.

The students work on a research project with support from the Science Center and in partnership with community experts. They shared their results in a poster session. Clearly a lot of work went into these projects, which were absolutely stunning. It looked more like research from undergraduates than high school students. It was truly such a pleasure to be a part of this event. I love the work the science center is doing to get kids super excited about and engaged on STEM fields.

From left, Amy, Alex, Kat and Gladis!

Upcoming CT Science Center events

I’m super excited to be visiting the Connecticut Science Center to be a part of a couple of upcoming programs and to share the Entangled and Ingested project!

First, I will join their STEM career showcase this Friday March 31st from 9AM -12PM.

According to their website, “The STEM Career Showcase is a conference-style event for middle and high school students—students will engage with STEM professionals through remote, virtual conversations or in-person, hands-on activities at the Science Center. Presenters inspire students to pursue STEM jobs and illuminate exciting STEM opportunities. To fully demonstrate the wealth and accessibility of employment possibilities in our students’ home state, we feature a diverse array of presenters from a wide range of fields.”

I’m bringing some art and hoping to get some students to collaborate with me on sewing! They are expecting about 500 students, so we will have to see how it all plays out.

Then, on Saturday I’ll be a part of the Youth in STEM: a leadership and change maker summit panel at 9:30AM, where I will get to share a little about my work (and hopefully meet their sloth after!)

If you know a youth who loves STEM, have them say hi to me at these events!

Sewing a whale at WESU

Super excited to be hosting a sewing event at Wesleyan University on Friday April 14th. Crossing all my appendages that it will be a beautiful sunny spring day!

Here’s the official blurb from their site.

Sea Creature Sewing: Entangled and Ingested
Friday, April 14, 2023 at 11:00am
Huss Courtyard—outside of Usdan University Center (Rain location: Fayerweather Studio)


Researcher and artist Dr. Katharine Owens is creating a series of life-sized murals of sea animals harmed by plastic pollution. Help us sew a new ocean mural from discarded plastic and learn more about plastic pollution. No sewing skills or experience are required!

Ocean Filibuster at Wesleyan

Amazing things are happening at Wesleyan this spring, including the Connecticut premiere of Ocean Filibuster , which puts audiences in the middle of a human/ocean showdown.

In this immersive production, “the Ocean” gets the chance to tell its side of the story. This amazing piece is the brainchild of Wesleyan Assistant Professor of Theater Katie Pearl’s Obie Award-winning company PearlDamour in collaboration with the Center for the Arts, the Wesleyan Theater Department, the College of the Environment, and the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life.

Using large-scale projection, songs, science, and stand-up, Ocean Filibuster explores the intimate, critical relationship between humans and the ocean in an epic battle of wits and wills, smarts and sass, and facts and anthropocentric fiction. Set in a future Global Senate, performer Jenn Kidwell embodies two rivals: “Mr. Majority”—who introduces a bill to end the ocean as we know it—and “The Ocean,” arriving in human form to filibuster the bill. Originally commissioned by American Repertory Theater in collaboration with Harvard University’s Center for the Environment, Ocean Filibuster plunges the audience into the most heated debate of our time.

Get tickets now– here-– for shows May 5th and 6th.

Art and Policy Salon: Acting on Climate Change at Wesleyan

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at 7:00pm
Ring Family Performing Arts Hall and on Zoom


Artists help us imagine possible futures. How can they effect actual change? Join Assistant Professor of Theater Katie Pearl, Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Raquel Bryant, artist and researcher Dr. Katharine Owens, and Save the Sound’s inaugural Environmental Justice Specialist Alex Rodriguez to look at the potent relationship between imagined futures and mappable realities. Moderated by Strategic Advisor in the Arts and Wesleyan alum Michael Feldman ’84.

Full announcement here.

Images (from left): Raquel Bryant, Michael Feldman, Katie Pearl, Dr. Katharine Owens, and Alex Rodriguez. 

This is part of a series of events taking place throughout the spring at Wesleyan– check them out!

Kanda La Ziwa and the NAAM festival

In February I had the opportunity to participate from afar in the Kanda La Ziwa – Lakeside Peoples Meeting, a dialogue and activist meeting bringing together key local partners, residents, and users of Lake Victoria to discuss the issues facing the lake.

The meeting was created as a safe space for fishermen, artists, activists, students, environmental leaders, community SDGs leaders/champions, lakeside residents, BMUs (beach management units), and politicians to hold a free-style, honest, and guided discourse on the lake’s economic, environmental, and social issues in East Africa. The aspiration was to bring all voices to the table to discuss the lake’s challenges and opportunities.

I was given this amazing opportunity through fellow National Geographic Explorer Dave Ojay, who works closely with the NAAM festival and the FlipFlopi Project. If you want to be inspired and feel positive about the future, check out the FlipFlopi Project!

As part of the meeting, I was honored to contribute a lecture about my Entangled and Ingested project, which focuses on the impact of plastic pollution on marine life. I discussed my research on plastic in the US and India, collaborations in Uganda and Indonesia, and the ways in which I use art and education to raise awareness about plastic pollution and its effects on our environment.

In addition to the lecture, I also recorded a sewing demonstration to show how I create my sewn plastic pieces—in my case, portraits of animals harmed by pollution. I am really hopeful that local artists might take this as inspiration and re-mix, innovate, and use their own talents and creativity to do similar work.

Overall, I am grateful for the opportunity to have virtually participated in the Kanda La Ziwa – Lakeside Peoples Meeting. It was inspiring to learn about the challenges and opportunities for Lake Victoria, and I am hopeful that these conversations will lead to positive changes for the environment and the communities that depend on it. Working with Dave and his colleague Sarah was really fantastic—and I also had the chance to meet another artist I’ll share more about in a future post.

As we continue to face environmental challenges, it is critical that we engage in dialogue and activism and work together to find solutions. Dave, Sarah, and their team’s work contributes to these efforts. I look forward to seeing the positive impact that this platform will have on Lake Victoria and its communities.