The environmental problems of climate change and species decline can feel overwhelming. Individuals are often at a loss, questioning what impact they can actually have. Through chART Projects, we have witnessed the dramatic effect of community-engaged art as a direct path to environmental action and impact on local ecosystems. During the 27thInternational Ornithological Congress, bird enthusiasts from around the world focused their attention on Vancouver, Canada. This article is a reflection on how chART took advantage of this assembly, creating an ambitious venture aiming for a sustainable effect on the public’s relationship to urban birds. As the Crow Flies was a public art project bringing creative connections to urban birds directly into the hands of the public. Works included sited-sculpture, community-engaged interventions, projections, workshops, performances, and 6,000 ceramic crows.
chART’s founder, Cameron Cartiere has been working with an interdisciplinary team to address the loss of pollinators through Border Free Bees. That research project used environment-based art to engage communities to take positive action in order to improve conditions for pollinators, with tremendous success. As the Crow Flies took a similar approach to highlight the loss of bird species and actions individuals could take to improve the odds for their feathered neighbours.