CERF 2023 Conference Artist

Lena Champlin

CERF would like to extend our congratulations to Lena Champlin, a graduate student at Drexel University and this year's Conference Art Contest winner. Her artwork entitled "Elkhorn Slough Estuary" will be featured as part of the 2023 CERF Conference theme.


About the Artist

Lena Champlin is a doctoral student in Environmental and Earth Science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where her biogeochemistry research focuses on climate change and water quality, including eutrophication and acidification in estuarine ecosystems. She is a research associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences natural history museum, where she conducts outreach to families about coastal acidification. She is interested in using artwork and visual displays to communicate her science research to students. Lena has worked on several projects that combine art and science including co-authoring and illustrating a children’s book, Coco’s Fire, a story about teaching climate change while addressing climate anxiety. Lena grew up in coastal Maine where she developed her love of being outside, exploring tide pools, and drawing natural landscapes and animals.

Her painting, “Elkhorn Slough Estuary,” is a representative piece of this site off Monterey Bay in Central California. The shape of the estuary looks like the antler of an elk in a map view, which is shown by the elk in the painting. Local estuarine animals and plants are also included. Lena has been doing field research at Elkhorn Slough for her doctoral projects and created this painting while studying for her graduate qualifying exams because she was thinking a lot about this system and wanted to use the process of art to feel more connected to her science research site. The picture represents the connectivity of water, plants, animals, and surrounding land use within estuaries.

About the Contest

In 2022, we excitedly announced the first-ever CERF Conference Art Contest. You may have noticed that, for every conference, the posters, web pages, programs, logos, etc. feature the work of a local artist. For 2023, we are trying something a little different; we wanted to feature the artwork of a CERF member. We asked members to submit an original piece of art by 7 March 2022. The selected artist won the prize of having their artwork showcased as part of the event branding. They also received free registration and five complimentary hotel room nights for the 2023 Conference.