Evergreen art teacher designs logo to celebrate Alaska sciences

An art teacher has created art for teachers.

Tawney Crowley, the art teacher for Evergreen Elementary School, embarked on a logo design project over the summer for the Alaska Science Teachers Association, incorporating elements that each region of the state is known for.

The background of the logo is a silhouette of Alaska overlaid with items like glaciers and salmon in Southeast, volcanoes and a mammoth skull in the Aleutians, the aurora borealis over the northernmost portion of the state, a polar bear, fireweed, seismic activity, caribou tracks and more throughout the rest.

Wrangell science teacher Laura Davies, a board member of ASTA, recommended Crowley when the organization decided it needed a new logo. Crowley had designed Harry Potter-style "house" logos for Davies' class and others such as the 2021 Fourth of July celebration.

Patty Brown, president of ASTA, reached out to Crowley to start the process, which, depending on complexity, can sometimes take a while.

"I basically told her, 'Give me a laundry list of what you want,'" Crowley said. "She said (ASTA wanted) to encompass all the different types of science throughout the state. She was worried about it not translating into an image."

That list included many different types of science examples.

"With our new logo, we wanted to showcase the natural features that are distinct to Alaska, though not necessarily unique," Brown said. "By doing that, the logo actually features various fields of science, like geology, zoology, marine science, as well as physics and atmospheric science, like the aurora."

It's not the first logo ASTA has had, however, Brown pointed out the past designs tended to be generic and didn't reflect science education but did identify the organization and what it stands for.

"We want to make a strong network for teachers whose job is to encourage students to ask questions and find ways to make sense of the world we live in," Brown said. "We also want to remind administrators and legislative leadership how important science education is and that minimizing it actually shortchanges some students, so it is an equity issue. Maybe waving our new banner will help in this."

Brown said the logo is posted on the organization's website and will be used on stationary and in email correspondence to its members. She said there has been talk of putting it on T-shirts, hats and other swag.

"It used to be tradition to have a pin exchange between various chapter representatives to the annual National Congress in Science Education," Brown said. "We will consider exchanging stickers next summer instead, and we already had them printed and will offer them for sale to anyone as well."

Crowley took her unique style to designing the work. Rather than a geometric graphic design approach, she used her hand-drawn technique, which she believes lends itself to the Alaska lifestyle. The ASTA logo went through a "lot of back and forth," with little tweaks to the design, colors and fonts.

"It has that whimsy factor to it," she said.

Although Crowley likes the end result, the logo isn't her favorite work that she's created. That honor belongs to two designs called "River Time" and "Make a Stink."

River Time was a sticker she made before COVID-19 hit, and it uses non-stereotypical elements to describe Alaska, such as a sandhill cranes instead of eagles and ravens, and herring rather than salmon or crab.

"My other favorite one is when I was working at the Sentinel," she said. "Make a Stink, it's a skunk cabbage. I think that's my personality, especially working with kids. I can be serious, but at the same time, it's OK to get a little bit rowdy. It's OK to make a little bit of a stink every now and again."


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