Kim McNett — Naturalist Artist

The Peatlands Mural

In commemoration of the Homer community’s continuing efforts for peatland protection, The Peatlands mural was installed on the interior walls of the Homer Airport Terminal in fall 2023. Scientifically accurate and creatively imagined, The Peatlands art installation incorporates detailed illustrations of the fascinating microcosms found underground, underwater and on the living surfaces of local wetlands. Recognizing that many fens and other wetlands in the Homer area are threatened, this landscape-centered art project illuminates the critical role of wetlands and soil carbon to the climate challenge both locally and globally. This artwork was made possible by the efforts of the climate solution community Homer Drawdown: Peatland Project of 2021, Bunnell Street Arts Center, City of Homer, Kachemak Bay Conservation Society and a 2022 Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award. A limited edition of art prints are available for purchase with 50% of artist profits going directly to peatland protection through the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust. Read more

Voices of the Wilderness Artist Residency: Aleutian Islands Wilderness

Onboard the R/V Tiglax, I joined a cohort of USFWS staff to cruise along the Aleutian Island Chain. Currents rip, atmosphere spills, volcanoes burst open and incredible life flourishes here, not despite these terrible forces, but because of them. In my nature journal I made an artistic documentation of our journey. Shipboard travel offered continuous vistas of snow-capped volcanoes, rocky islets and sightings of albatross, orcas and sperm whales. We deployed skiffs to land on beaches and visited field camps, seabird rookeries, hotsprings, a volcano caldera and the WWII Aleutian Battlefields. By creating and sharing a nature journal of this rare experience I hope to incite a vicarious sense of wonder and awe for the Aleutian Islands Wilderness.

To see all my journal pages and the voyage of the R/V Tiglax, visit this virtual Story Map hosted by the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge

Peatland Project

Peatlands have gained global recognition as top priority habitats in the face of climate change because they absorb carbon from the atmosphere and store it away. Homer Drawdown: Peatland Project is a community-wide collaboration to protect and restore peatlands through community science, conservation, art and education. We are mapping the peat with probes, collecting data and trying to figure out how much carbon is stored underground. As part of the Art for Peat exhibition at the Pratt Museum 2021, I created the Peatland Journal based on a year of my observations in the local wetlands.

Collaborators: Homer Drawdown and partners

Chugach Regional Resources Commission - Bird Harvest

Traditional practices sustain people and provide direct sustenance for thriving communities and cultures. In 2021, I had the honor of illustrating a Bird Harvest Pamphlet for the Chugach Regional Resource Commission. This pamphlet is designed to provide information on traditionally harvested migratory birds in the Chugach region. This project also involved a Wisdom Keepers Workshop for elders to share their stories about bird harvest and offered a great opportunity to learn about traditional harvest. Along with my collaborator Skyler Kline, we generated a series of graphics to convey these shared stories.

Collaborators: Skyler Kline and Chugach Regional Resources Commission

Seabird Memorial

People are beginning to acknowledge climate change as they experience it personally. As an Alaskan wilderness adventurer, I have gotten to know climate change through many personal experiences. This artwork is a memorial to seabirds that are dying off in great numbers as a response to starvation and a failing environment. These are all the birds that I documented on a 170 mile stretch of wilderness beach in Arctic Alaska. I counted over 921 birds, most of them short-tailed shearwaters. I documented them and contributed the numbers to the database of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, which is a citizen science program that tracks seabird die-offs.

 Watch the short film Seabird Memorial

Collaborators: Bjorn Olson (photography/videography), Coastal Observation Seabird Survey Team

Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

CACS is a non-profit organization that fosters connections to wild places and nature exploration. I have had many wonderful opportunities to work with this organization as an environmental educator, and now my artwork is featured on interpretive signs at both the Peterson Bay Field Station and Wynn Nature Center.

Nichił is the Dena’ina name for the winter home, and for centuries these were the seasonal gathering places for people inhabiting Kachemak Bay. I made an artistic reconstruction of a large Nichił that existed in present- day China Poot Bay over 200 years ago. Evidence of this home can still be seen as a three-room footprint in the forest floor on a cliff overlooking the bay. Every year, the CACS brings hundreds of guests to this house site. I volunteered to draw the Nichił because I wish for visitors to take the leap of imagination from the present-day site to the way it may have been in the distant past: a place of comfort, warmth and love.

Collaborators: Janet Klein, Alan Boraas, Skyler Kline, Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge and the Seldovia Village Tribe.

Seldovia Sign Project

In 2015-2016, I had the opportunity to work with a team of artists, writers, designers, and carpenters to produce a series of interpretive signs now installed in the town and along the trails of Seldovia, Alaska. Many of the illustrations on this website were drawn specifically for this project. I feel greatly honored to have my work enhanced by the skills of the team and to be represented in the beautiful rural landscape of Seldovia. Seldovia is located on the Alaska Marine Highway System, and the project was made possible by a grant from the Alaskan Scenic Byways.

Collaborators: Skyler Kline, Tim Dillon, Bretwood Higman, Erin McKittrick, Valisa Higman, Kathleen George, Kim McNett, Jake Corwin