A Colorful Environmental Project
Exterior designs created for three hybrid buses, coming to Eau Claire in 2013, work to lend awareness to the "big picture" of the Chippewa Valley biosphere and the local community. Through the language of art, a collaborative project between UWEC faculty, students, WICES, and the Eau Claire Transit celebrates the uniqueness of Eau Claire's watershed and how Eau Claire's people are all interconnected as parts of a community.
One of the city of Eau Claire's most important missions in recent years has been to create acommunity that is both economically and environmentally sustainable. In 2009, the city of Eau Claire's "GreenTeam" developed a sustainability challenge to decrease future fossil fuel consumption and increase energy efficiency. Eau Claire Transit manager Mike Branco was influenced by this city wide initiative to write federal grants topay for a hybrid bus fleet, which would reduce our city's fossil fuelconsumption.
With hybrid technology, the buses cut down on the amount of fossil fuel they are using and the harmful emissions they put into the air.
Jyl Kelley, an affiliated faculty member of the Watershed Institute for Collaborative Environmental Studies, along with colleagues Ned Gannon and Sooyun Im from the Department of Art & Design volunteered to mentor three students in creating the designs for the buses. Combining their graphic design, illustration, and photography skills; Alison Wheeler, Jennifer Johns, and Luke Benson have created some very impressive and creative imagery. For example, the first bus design depicts a local landscape featuring elements of "atmosphere/air" that spans four seasons and transitions from the early stages of spring into summer, fall and winter as the designs wrap 360 degrees around the bus. The students have invested a great deal of time to create the designs and the experience has given them an excellent opportunity to use their talents professionally and in a way that involves the community.
Jim Boulter of the Watershed Institute of Collaborative Environmental Studies and professor of chemistry provided knowledge on the topics of biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere, which gave the students three themes for the buses. For those involved, this has been a wonderful opportunity to work on a collaborative project that is helping the community become aware that fossil fuel emissions have an impact on the environment.
With hybrid buses, Eau Claire will hopefully become a cleaner place to live and create a healthier environment for its community. Cutting down on the fossil fuel emissions in the air is one way of contributing to this goal. As the buses become a regular sight in Eau Claire, residents can better appreciate the work that is being done to improve the environment. Keep an eye out for these buses as they hit the streets, you'll know them when you see them!
If you would like to see more images of the work being done, check out the website http://uwechybridbusproject.wordpress.com/category/uncategorized/, which they regularly update with their progress.