Endangered Species Mural Project
Art takes nature as its model. ~ Aristotle
Just as nature inspires art, art inspires actions to defend wild places and the wild creatures that live in them. With this in mind, the Center for Biological Diversity's Endangered Species Mural Project works with artists, scientists, and organizers to bring endangered wildlife onto the streets of cities and towns around the country. These murals are imagined as tools to help celebrate local endangered species within communities, and to encourage people to make connections between conservation and community strength. Spearheaded by Portland artist Roger Peet, the mural project promotes an affinity for the natural world and the diverse species that help define it.
Got a wall? Let us know! With additional connections and funding, the Center will continue to work with local artists and communities and expand the project to more cities nationwide.
This American burying beetle mural is installed on the exterior of Flash Flood print studios in Tulsa, OK. It was painted by Roger Peet and Kathleen Neeley, with help from May Yang. The mural features burying beetles in a landscape of native plants, also providing a peek into a gruesome underground nest where beetle grubs display their fascinating "begging" behavior — something very rare in the insect kingdom. Beetle expert Dr. Amy Smith came to our mural-unveiling event and thrilled attendees with more wild facts about the strange and fascinating lifecycle of these charismatic, thumb-sized arthropods.
This mural of endangered piping plovers is located in Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada. It tells the story of a piping plover's life, from its time as a curious hatchling at a near-shore sand-dune nest to its adulthood, when it heads out over open water in full breeding plumage. Some of the birds in the mural are banded to show human concern and investment in the wellbeing of the species. This mural was cosponsored by the Interlake Art Board.
This mural in Shoshone, California, on the edge of Death Valley, features three rare species found only in this area: the Amargosa vole, the Shoshone pupfish and the Amargosa niterwort. All three rely on the scarce water available in this harsh desert environment — particularly the Amargosa River, which runs mostly underground — and are being pushed toward extinction by pollution, water withdrawals, and climate-change induced drought.
This 250-square-foot mural in Del Rio, Texas, depicts the Mexican blindcat, an endangered catfish found in underground aquifers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas and northern Coahuila. Roger Peet coordinated the mural production with the help of Casa de la Cultura, a community organization that works to make arts and literacy accessible and affordable.
This 2019 mural — replacing another of this species, destroyed by fire — features the white fringeless orchid, a rare and beautiful 2-foot-tall plant with a light-green stem and clusters of white flowers. Like the first orchid mural, it was painted by Roger Peet and Tricia Tripp in Berea, Kentucky. It decorates the town's Spotlight Playhouse, adjoining a community garden that provides food to local low-income residents as well as education and hands-on experience to kids. Additional sponsorship of this Center project was provided by Kentucky Heartwood and Berea Kids Eat.
Our first international mural in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mex., is located in the popular Parque Borunda, near the main international crossing. This mural features the endangered Aplomado falcon and the jaguar, two iconic species of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. The piece is presented by Center for Biological Diversity’s Endangered Species Mural Project, Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), and the Visual Art Program at Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez.
Located in the town of Seward — Alaska's mural capital — this 105-foot-long mural depicts two species from Alaskan waters: a threatened seabird called the spectacled eider as well as the critically endangered North Pacific right whale. The piece was painted by artists Roger Peet and Tricia Tripp.
This mural of five imperiled animals of the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico was designed by summer-campers and interns with the Mimbres Regional Arts Council’s Youth Mural Program, overseen by artist Roger Peet with local coordinators. Covering two walls at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, it features the Mexican gray wolf, Mexican spotted owl, Gila trout, Gila mayfly and narrow-headed garter snake.
Mural of the Sonoran pronghorn and Yuma clapper rail, two imperiled Southwest species, in Yuma, Ariz., by artist Roger Peet and Phoenix-based muralist Lucinda Hinojos, with help from students at Arizona Western College.
This 256-foot-long mural in Arcata, Calif., by Lucas Thornton, celebrates the endangered marbled murrelet, an ancient seabird from the Pacific Northwest that flies inland 50 miles to nest among deep moss in old-growth forest canopy. .
Mural of the Austin blind salamander, a small amphibian whose habitat is found entirely within the Austin city limits and is threatened by pollution and development. The mural was painted by project coordinator Roger Peet with help from students at Austin Discovery School in Austin, Tex.
This 1,000-square-foot mural on the Little Miami Scenic Trail at Bass Island Park features the endangered Indiana bat. The mural was painted by Roger Peet and ArtWorks Cincinnati youth apprentices and supported by Great Parks of Hamilton County.
This mural showcases the ocelot, Aplomado falcon, Mexican gray wolf, Chiricahua leopard frog and Sneed's pincushion cactus — five endangered species that share habitat along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Taylor's checkerspot is an endangered butterfly once found widely in prairies in Oregon and Washington, but now restricted to a few dwindling populations and at an extreme risk of going extinct. This mural in Cottage Grove, Ore., was done by Roger Peet.
One of a series of grizzly bear murals in Oakland, Calif., by Roger Peet and Fernando “Rush” Santos.
Carolina northern flying squirrel mural in Asheville, N.C., by Roger Peet and Tricia Tripp.
Streaked horned lark mural in Portland, Ore., by Roger Peet. Photo by Olivia Conner.
Sockeye salmon mural in Portland, Ore., by Roger Peet. Photo by Jerry McCarthy, Port of Portland.
Dakota skipper mural at Oceti Sakowin camp at Standing Rock., N.D., by Roger Peet.
This mural of the beautiful white fringeless orchid was painted in 2016 in Berea, Kentucky, by Roger Peet and Tricia Tripp as the ninth installment of the Center's Endangered Species Mural Project. Sadly it was destroyed by fire — but we made sure a new one was painted.
Southeast freshwater mussels mural in Knoxville, Tenn., by Roger Peet, Merrilee Challiss and Trish Tripp.
Jaguar mural in Tucson, Ariz., by Kati Astraeir.
Yellow-billed cuckoo mural in Los Angeles, Calif., led by Jess X. Chen.
Whale mural by Icy & Sot (working in coordination with Roger Peet) in Los Angeles, California. Photo Jess X. Chen.
Watercress darter mural in Birmingham, Ala., by Roger Peet and Birmingham artists Merrilee Challiss and Creighton Tynes. Photo by Kyle Crider.
Monarch butterfly mural in Minneapolis, Minn., by Roger Peet and Barry Newman.
Arctic grayling mural by Roger Peet in Butte, Mont.
Mountain caribou mural in Sandpoint, Idaho. Mural artists Mazatl and Joy Mallari (from the Justseeds Artists Cooperative) worked with Roger Peet.
“Everywhere on Earth is unique, with qualities that distinguish it from other places both near and far. One of those qualities is biodiversity — the plants and animals that call a place home and may not be found anywhere else. Those species embody an area's natural history and contribute to what makes it irreplaceable — and they also have something to say about the future, as many are in danger of going extinct. When we lose species, the places we inhabit and the lives we live become poorer and shallower as a result. To help bring these species into the light, we decided to paint them on the walls.
“The goal of this project is to foster connections between people and the other forms of life that surround them. Whether that's a fish in a river, a butterfly flitting from plant to plant, or a caribou chewing lichen from a tree, we're bringing together artists and communities to create big, bold images that will become part of the neighborhoods where they're created, making it a little easier for people to care about the species struggling to survive in their midst.”
Roger Peet is a Portland-based artist who is coordinating this project in association with the Center for Biological Diversity.