Ghost Highway Project
In an ongoing series, Berry has documented urban spaces that transform under the cover of darkness, from places people know as their own to those where their wild neighbors hunt, play and live their unseen lives. Locations include urban parks, median strips, roads and underpasses through which animals travel between residences and forest fragments.
Project includes video installation, interactive online maps, 3D topographic maps created from the skins of animals killed on roadways and workshops open to the public. Collateral has been used to make real change in the region where Berry lives in the Bay Area, where she has helped local conservation efforts and raise awareness for the need for protection and better infrastructure for wildlife.
The theme of this show was to bring that which is hidden about the Bay Area to public attention. I was invited to explore the topic of urban wildlife as community, and so created three topographic sculptures of urban animals plus a series of videos showing vista spots where people flocked by day and animals roamed by night.
Berry documents the necklace of small parcels that together make up 50 acres of land used by local wildlife. Her methods for documentation include field collection with infrared camera traps, tracking, research of historic maps, interviews of residents, and primary research. This map was created for Open Space Sausalito, a non-profit who, with the help of Berry's work, were able to save the last undeveloped spring and natural creek in Northern Sausalito.
Artists and members of the public were invited for a day long workshop where Jennifer taught how to skin animals in order to use their skins as raw material in art projects. Workshop was gratis, so long as participants limited their skinning to animals found as roadkill. Incidentally, participants were made of females only and included one 6 year old child.
Rodeo Avenue once stretched from shore to shore and was a major road for humans travelling the Sausalito peninsula. It was severed by the 101 freeway, and is now a Ghost Highway. On the East half of the Rodeo live urban neighbors in the form of coyotes, foxes and deer. On the West side live feral puma, bobcats, badgers, coyotes and many more.
This fawn creates its own topographic map, showing the home range of its mother. This fawn was only hours old when the 101 freeway through Sausalito's open space killed it. This project was to increase awareness of the need for wildlife corridors on the 101 freeway, and since this project, Caltrans is working with the city of Sausalito as a direct result of work by Berry on the Lincoln/Butte wildlife preserve.
This topo map shows the home territory and hard boundary of this young male coyote who chose to make his home here until a car on the 280 freeway killed him. This series raises awareness of the need for wildlife corridors, even in cities like San Francisco.
Berry documents places where wildlife crossed the 101 freeway in Sausalito, indicating areas where animals cross, where they fail, and historic culverts that could be improved to allow animals to cross under the freeway. What began as a personal project to illustrate the ways in which traffic engineering often destroys communities, this map has been used by advocates when approaching CALTRANS, the California transit authority, to improve this stretch of the freeway, which has been labelled at one ten hotspots in California for roadkill by the UC Davis Road Ecology Center.