By Environmental Artist in Residence Carla Rhodes
Growing up in the Louisville area, I never had the pleasure of visiting Bernheim. After spending a lifetime away in the New York City area (and now the Catskill Mountains, New York), as Bernheim’s first-ever Environmental Artist in Residence, I’m thrilled to see Bernheim for the first time and all the flora and fauna that inhabit it.
During my first residency spring stint, my breath was taken away by the copious amounts of spring buds, especially eastern redbuds, which I captured with a flaming pink sky and extremely rare Kentucky glade cress on Bernheim’s Cedar Grove tract. Everyone I met at Bernheim made my first visit incredibly special.
I loved spending time with Volunteer Naturalist Joe Cichan, Bernheim’s resident amphibian expert who has been involved with Bernheim for more than 20 years.
I watched as he gently picked through the moss and unveiled four-toed salamander eggs from a rare and isolated population that Joe monitors at Bernheim, which glistened in the spring sun like otherworldly pearls.
Teaming up with the Natural Areas staff was another highlight, and they helped me immensely. We were thrilled to photographically capture a beaver and, shockingly, an American bittern via camera traps. The American bittern is a secretive migrant not often seen at Bernheim.
I cannot wait for my further visits to discover the gems within Bernheim and am immensely grateful for the opportunity to elevate all things wild while helping to further Bernheim’s mission of connecting people with nature through the photographic art form!
– CARLA RHODES
Through the powerful medium of photography, Carla Rhodes connects viewers emotionally to our natural world and the wildlife who inhabit it. Rhodes’s self-produced coverage has been featured in The New York Times, bioGraphic, National Wildlife Magazine, Smithsonian (online), The Guardian, and Audubon Magazine. In 2021, Rhodes was awarded the “Conservation Award” from Bird Photographer of the Year, honored for her conservation work in Nature’s Best Photography International Awards, and has been featured on National Geographic’s social media outlets on three different occasions.
The Artist in Residence program has attracted artists from around the world who seek to use Bernheim as their inspiration. Established in 1980, this internationally renowned program annually awards artists the opportunity to live and create site-specific work inspired by their total immersion experience in the natural environment. Work created through the program allows our visitors to connect with nature in new and exciting ways.