Sarah Crooks-Flaire Ornament on Display at President’s Park

A noted environmental artist and certified Florida Master Naturalist, Sarah Crooks-Flaire has created an ornament for the Holiday Display at President’s Park in Washington, DC, as part of the National Park Services’ National Park Foundation tribute to the upcoming National Park Centennial in 2016. The ornament display honors the holidays and the collective celebration of the 93rd lighting of the National Christmas Tree. The goal was to design an ornament to create a connection to and share the natural environment, culture, and history of our National Parks.
Sarah expresses her deep sense of spiritual ecology and love of the natural world through this ornament design. Her life’s work continues to connect people with the environment through art.

Invited by the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs to create a holiday ornament, she embraces the natural beauty of the flora and fauna found in Jacksonville’s National Park, the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve, part of the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.

Her discerning eye and creative talent offers a visual dialogue regarding the importance of the oyster as part of the circle of life, cleaning our river, being a part of the natural rhythm of the natural world. She used recycled CDs in her holiday ornament to represent the waterline and the miniature worlds above and below the surface. Additional elements include recycled styrofoam washed ashore onto the banks of the St. Johns River of which were collected at the Fort Caroline National Monument. She further depicted a Timucuan gorget, oysters, manatee, wood stork, endangered gopher tortoise, and white ibis in cold clay which was formed over an armature, then painted with acrylic. Even more elements were incorporated, including recycled water bottle labels, aluminum cans (butterflies silkscreened over beverage cans), and a plethora of altered fabric, pipe cleaners, wood, sequins and baubles, the latter inherited from her grandmother. Excited about this project, she says, “Thank you (to EU) for helping to share my work celebrating the National Parks and my favorite, The Timucuan Preserve.”

The National Park Service supplied the plexiglass spheres within which scenes had to be carefully designed to fit inside the 5.4inch globe. There is a limited edition now available for sale on her website, In addition, you’ll find there a short movie about the larger process she has unfolded through the years to bring about awareness to our environment and the challenges we face to preserve our natural wonders. The movie details a recent project focused on oysters and clean water, In the Mouth, The Oyster and I, which culminated in a street performance, more proof of her enormous interest in this bivalve mollusk. You can purchase an ornament for your holiday décor and use it as an educational tool to start a conversation amid all of the paper, plastic, and styrofoam that we will discard this holiday season. Perhaps we will think twice, and not be naughty, but be nice. Remember your environment!

About Joanelle Mulrain