the one-of-a-kind backpack
One-of-a-kind backpack Kay Kahn Backpack for Santa Fe Nature Preserve © Patina Gallery


Nature Briefs

This page was updated on July 18, 2023.


To celebrate Earth Day 2022 and their 10-year partnership, TNC in New Mexico and Patina Gallery in Santa Fe brought together art and nature in a creative collaboration called Preserving the Canyon. Kay Khan—an exceptional embroidery and textile artist represented by the gallery—handcrafted an exclusive, usable textile pack inspired by the flowers at TNC’s Santa Fe Canyon Preserve. The “artpack” was filled with gifts from local businesses and then sold to support the preserve. The funds are already being put to work to fund ADA-compliant trail improvements, an educational gathering space and other enhancements for the site’s 30,000 annual visitors. Kay says, “Nature, at its core, is the basis for all art. The structure of nature teaches us how to build and create. The colors of nature teach us how to paint.” 

Modeling artist Kay Khan's embroidered backpack for Santa Fe Nature Preserve
One-of-a-kind backpack A woman wears artist Kay Khan's one-of-a-kind embroidered backback. © Patina Gallery

A woman wears artist Kay Khan's one-of-a-kind embroidered backback.


At TNC’s LaPlatte River Marsh Natural Area in Shelburne, Vermont, a stylish wooden bench mimics the curve of the namesake oasis it overlooks, providing an inviting space for rest and contemplation. The bench is one of three installations created by Elizabeth Billings, TNC in Vermont’s first artist-in-residence—a post made possible by an anonymous donor. In 2020 and 2021, Elizabeth took inspiration from her observations at LaPlatte and other TNC-owned natural areas in the state to produce “Together: Nature Unites Us,” a public art project designed to instill a sense of wonder-filled connectivity between viewers and the surrounding landscapes. Her more ephemeral works, long ribbons of fabric printed deep blue with patterns from tree bark, were woven through the forests at TNC’s Raven Ridge and Equinox Highlands natural areas— where the gently vibrating cloths pulled the visitor’s gaze like water along a rocky ridge.

Handmade bench made by woodworking artist- Mario Sacca.
ART BENCH INSTALLATION A handcrafted bench, designed by Elizabeth and created by woodworker Mario Sacca, installed at TNC's LaPlatte River Marsh Natural Area. © Kristen Stoyer/TNC