Ecological Relationships at Monk Botanical Gardens

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The Project

For the last two summers, I have interned at the Monk Botanical Gardens in Wausau, Wisconsin. In this position, I had the opportunity to explore the 31 acres and truly experience the beauty nature has to offer. My experiences there inspired me to create an interactive narrative that explores the connections critters have with their home and the garden for my senior thesis project.

Broken down by species, this project examines the ecological relationships: mutualism, commensalism, parasitism, predation, and competition. Each page breaks down the relationship with various facts and details that help further explain how the organism survives. The 12 species highlighted can all be found at Monk Botanical Gardens, and most of the time throughout Northern Wisconsin. Some species, like cormorants and spotted owls, are not typically native to Northern Wisconsin.

The Process

I started by compiling a list of the species and doing various sketches for them, along with countless hours of research into what ecological relationship they exhibit. For more insight into the production of this project, visit the link below.

I illustrated the main mural in Adobe Photoshop and the 12 asset pages were done in Adobe Illustrator. After all of the illustrations were complete, I compiled them in Adobe Animate where I coded the buttons and animations. The HTML file was uploaded to a server via namecheap.com, where it can be interacted with. This website was created in Adobe Spark.

The Final

The opening mural, featuring all organisms focused on in the asset pages, and the garden's iconic treehouse
12 asset pages that feature the organism, their relationship, and other details like size, range, habitat, and conservation status
Sign for the garden to place near the pond so visitors can use the interactive

About Me

Hi! My name is Chyna LaPorte and this was my senior thesis project. This project is a culmination of all of the things I have learned over three years in the Biomedical Art program, at the Cleveland Institute of Art. My work focuses heavily on the natural science side of this field. I hope to continue my career with exhibit design and expanding my client base to more museums. I could not have accomplished this project without the help of my committee and classmates.


Thomas Nowacki: Associate Professor + Chair of Biomedical Art, Cleveland Institute of Art

Beth Halasz: Assistant Professor of the Biomedical Art Department, Cleveland Institute of Art

Dr. Mary Assad, PhD: Full-time Lecturer, Case Western Reserve University

Darcie Howard: Executive Director of the Monk Botanical Gardens, Wausau, WI

Elise Schuler: Education and Event Coordinator of the Monk Botanical Gardens, Wausau, WI

Mark Mandica: Executive Director of The Amphibian Foundation, Atlanta, GA

Paul Whitaker: Professor of Biology, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point at Wausau, WI

Created By
Chyna LaPorte