Moth Project


Moth Gardens and Dinner Events are a collaboration with Canadian artist Wendy DesChene that gets communities excited about backyard naturalism and pollinators. The decline of both has an immediate impact on the quality of our food.  It is not a coincidence that our interest in what is going on in our yards and our insect populations have plummeted since the hay day in the early 1900's. Bee populations alone are down 60% since 1950, and other insect numbers have also declined.  Both our private Backyard Dinner Parties and Public Moth Interventions/Gardens promote a renewed interest in our insects and provide an opportunity to share your garden, break bread with friends and family, and learn the importance of pollinators in a fun yet educational event for everyone.  Long term projects result in a free downloadable field guide on local moths, pollinators and other useful information on easy actions that assist our pollinators.


The top and bottom right images represent the first Moth Gardens created at the McColl Center for Art and Innovation in Charlotte, NC. You can see the city of Charlotte glowing in the background. The white sculpture in front of the trailer is a moth tent with a "black light" to attract the moths and white lights to help humans see the moths. Many insects are attracted to infrared light wavelengths, so we provide various lights that emit the perfect wavelengths while videos of moths are projected onto the insect tents attract people. Moths and butterflies are mainly attracted to white, blue and purple flowers as well, who knew they were so discriminating! The red tubes are portable gardens planted with pollinator-friendly flowers. We can move their favorite flowers around to bring awareness to the decline of bee populations worldwide.


Portable power stations along with the off-grid ArtLab trailer allow the project to occur anywhere and acts as the stage for public events and information dissemination. Solar stations power the lights that attract moths that are photographed and cataloged. Art and science departments often team up in support of interdisciplinary STEM/STEAM learning making art and the empirical, experiential and memorable. The Moth Project has been supported by an NEA Art Works grant and has shown at the Pulitizer Foundation as part of Marfa Dialogues. The Moth Project continues throughout the US as well as the Netherlands, Finland, Canada, and Iceland.


During the more private "Dinner Parties", community members invite us into their backyard gardens were we set up mothing tents before dinner. Often the invitation is extended by the host to members of their immediate community, as neighbors, family, and close friends.  After a pleasant dinner supplied by the host and great conversation, we spend time identifying and sharing the insects that have come to the tents. Participants learn about their local nighttime pollinators and other information essential to our food and environment while sharing a pleasant experience with friendly people and excellent food.








Click the icon above for a free downloadable PDF of the Georgia Moth Project Guide made possible by a Student Sustainability Fee Grant from Georgia Southern University!  Learn more here.!moths/c1qbm