Katherine “Kat” Vanden Berg, a third-year student at Virginia Wesleyan University, is an engaged student who works to blend art and the environment to visually convey the importance of environmental education. In October 2019, Kat co-authored a grant proposal for the “Marlin Meadows Project,” a garden area that opened on campus in the fall of 2020 utilizing native botanical plantings and serving as a living educational tool for the Virginia Wesleyan community. Kat is a member of the University’s prestigious Batten Honors College, serving as a member of its programming council. She is also the social media coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay Sierra Club and the marketing officer for the Marlins Go Green student environmental organization. Kat is an illustrator for the student newspaper, the Marlin Chronicle, and is working closely with art faculty to develop her senior project with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach, VA to blend the visual arts with sustainability and the environment.
Nature has been a muse for my art and an interest of mine for a long time, but I was not fully aware of the threats to it until I took a college course discussing threats posed to it. Since then, I have learned about many more threats the environment faces and have joined many initiatives to help raise awareness for and fight against these threats. On campus, I am the marketing officer for Marlins Go Green, my college's environmental club, where I assisted in organizing, getting a grant for, and planting a student garden. In my community, I am a member of my local Sierra Club chapter, where I act as the social media coordinator to bring awareness to upcoming events my chapter hosts. In the future, I wish to use the potential art has to bring awareness to and advocate for the environment and the issues posed to it.