Davidson Library is displaying an exhibit illustrating the human views of the natural world through various disciplines.
The showcase, entitled “Seeing Nature,” is currently housed in the library’s Special Collections section and will be running through Spring Quarter. The exhibit contains various collections of research including those of Darwin, Mendel and Wallace and aims to portray nature through the lenses of biology, environment and literature.
Exhibit curator Callie Bowdish, a library computer resource specialist, said she hopes the display will spark students’ interest in the valuable artifacts on campus.
“We wanted to highlight what we have in our collection and decided to do a nature exhibit during spring,” Bowdish said. “Darwin’s work is such a great collection; I wanted to let people know we have that available here at Special Collections.”
Bowdish said “Seeing Nature” also contains a leaf from the King James Bible on display next to Darwin’s work.
“I also wanted to display something from the Bible because it’s the way people viewed nature before,” Bowdish said. “Their understanding of nature [was] that God created it all.”
According to Cheadle Center librarian and exhibit curator Laurie Hannah, the project allows the public to see the natural world through the eyes of famous scientists, emphasizing their methodical attention to detail.
“We put two cases together, and our goal was to show how scientists see nature,” Hannah said. “We were trying to show what it’s like to be out in the field collecting organisms and what the purpose of collecting is.”
Hannah said the collection also honors past UCSB chancellor and botanist Vernon Cheadle and his colleague Katherine Esau, a distinguished professor and plant anatomist.
“Everything [Cheadle and Esau] did was more at a microscopic level,” Hannah said. “That plant in the display case goes through a circle of being collected, looked at under a microscope, analyzed, written about and then published in a journal. That display shows the whole process.”
Third-year communication major AJ Espinosa said he was most captivated by the “Birth of Modern Environmental Movement” collection, which contains excerpts from scrapbooks portraying the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill.
“I … found the picture of President Nixon making a visit to the site of the oil spill interesting,” Espinosa said. “I never realized we had such historically important work here at our library. It is eye-opening to know we have these types of resources.”