SciQuilt – It Begins With The Biome


June 7, 2020 by Dr. G

My inspiration for this quilt came from an unexpected event – a virtual podcast discussion about world biomes.

Since the pandemic and the temporary closure of a local arboretum, a Penn State Brandywine colleague and I have been hosting biweekly Zoom sessions with members of Tyler Arboretum and our campus community on nature-themed podcasts from our curated listening lists (see my AGU blog post on these events). The topic of discussion on June 3rd was World Biomes, and it was suggested one of our regular session participants. On our feedback form, when asked for suggestions about topics for future weeks, she shared that world biomes would be a good topic, as there’s a “pointlessness of saving the pandas if you don’t start by saving the biome.”

And we had a great discussion among our 13 participants that logged in for the hour-long session. Towards the end, many of the attendees were focusing on what we can do, what are the next steps that each of us can take. Keeping in mind the “pointlessness of pandas” and thinking what action I could individually take, I decided to make a quilt.

Before the pandemic hit, I recalled going to the local Joann’s fabric store and seeing several flannel fabrics that said “save the dolphins” and “save the sea turtles.” I thought this might be an interesting fabric to tie in to the message of starting with the biome. So I ordered some fabrics online and created my first pandemic quilt, dedicated to the ocean biome.

The center of the quilt represents the biome, containing images of plants and animals from the ocean. Then around the center square are the messages of saving various animals that are popular with people (dolphins, sea turtles, belugas). I intentionally have the words pointing outward from the center square, again emphasizing the focus in the center and then moving out. The border is a mermaid scale fabric – just a fun pattern and adding a little more splash of color.


The quilt was made over two days with my own pattern. My lines aren’t the straightest, and the fabrics may not have been laid out in the best way, but I think the message comes through – start with the biome, then focus on saving the animals. I look forward to sharing the quilt with others and discussing more the importance of biomes.

The back of the quilt is entirely the ocean biome fabric. The quilt was completed on June 6, 2020.


I’ve been creating a series of quilts about “stitching hope for the coast”, but this could be part of a “stitching hope for the ocean” collection, as by having a healthy ocean biome, we can have a healty environment for all plants and animals that exist in that biome.



2 thoughts on “SciQuilt – It Begins With The Biome

  1. Tanya Dapkey says:

    Love it Dr. G!


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