Buffalo Bayou Invasive Plant Eradication Unit
Photo: Sontera Dresch
Mark Dion, Buffalo Bayou Invasive Eradication Unit, 2011.
Funding Source: The Brown Foundation and Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Mark Dion’s Buffalo Bayou Invasive Eradication Unit [CI1] is a traveling artwork that educates Houstonians on the need to exterminate invasive plant species along Buffalo Bayou. This uniquely envisioned, rugged emergency response vehicle serves as a work station, laboratory, book mobile, and beacon for public outreach in the battle against invasive plant species along the bayou. Equipped with tools, books, and a field guide that encourages ongoing engagement with the environment, Dion’s creation provides an ethical, aesthetic, and functional tool to promote ecological stewardship of one of Houston’s finest assets, Buffalo Bayou.
The project was sponsored by Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) and Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP), which, along with local citizens, has diligently worked to restore the bayou.
“When HAA and the BBP asked me to be involved in this project, and I had the opportunity to visit Houston, it was clear to me that the problem of invasive plants and their contribution to habitat degradation is a serious issue,” said Dion. “I was immediately interested in creating more than simply an aesthetic work highlighting the problem, but rather a work that was also active in preventing and investigating these issues.”
To challenge and inspire residents to help with invasive species eradication, Dion’s work incorporated aspects of archaeology, ecology, biology, and ethnography while highlighting the need for public awareness and prevention.
The Field Guide includes commentary from HAA and BBP staff, an interview with Mark Dion, maps of the bayou, interesting facts, a glossary of terms and detailed descriptions and drawings of the invasive plants that are threatening the bayou.