80 Years of the Nature Lab

We've just turned 80 and we will spend the entire year celebrating our past and our future!

Join us in a year-long celebration with workshops, lectures, exhibitions, field trips and conversation around how it all began and what we're planning for the future.

Upcoming events

Observing Nature: Edna Lawrence & Cabinet of Curiosities

Presented by the Providence Athenaeum and the Nature Lab, this exhibition honors the Nature Lab's founder, Miss Edna Lawrence, and her mission to “open students' eyes to the marvels of beauty in nature." Although many of the tools and technology have changed, her teachings and vision are still at the core of many science, design and fine arts practices.

Exhibition Dates:
April 6-June 17, 2018

The Salon, the exhibition's opening reception event, is at full capacity.

The exhibition is open for public viewing on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12 PM - 6 PM.

April 06
Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit St, Providence, RI 02903

Closing Reception of The Nature Lab: An homage to the RISD Nature Lab and its founder Edna Lawrence

Presented by LABscape in Hillsdale, New York, this exhibition features 92 artists, including several RISD alums. The curator, Eric Wolf, a 1982 graduate from RISD's Photography Department, brings together work that depicts various forms of nature and celebrates the Nature Lab and Miss Edna Lawrence's teachings.

An upcoming 52 page, full color catalog will document all 92 works on show and feature essays by Nature Lab Director, Neal Overstrom, and painter Patrick Neal.

Join Eric Wolf and the exhibiting artists for the closing reception and catalog release on Saturday, March 17th, 2018, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM.

March 17
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
2642 NY-23, Hillsdale, New York 12529
Past events

Eating with the Ecosystem

This day starts with a beautiful and educational coastal walk led by Nature Lab Biological Programs Designer Jennifer Bissonnette and sustainable fisheries expert Kate Masury. Lunch will follow at 12:30 with a menu specifically designed to be in-tune with our local ecosystem. Shuttle departs the Chace Center on North Main Street at 10:15 am. To register visit RISD Weekend's website

October 08
11:00 am
Tillinghast Farm

Wonder: Nature Lab 80th Anniversary + Exhibition Opening

As part of RISD Weekend's celebrations we will host an open house, reception and exhibition opening at the Nature Lab. The RISD community is invited to visit the Nature Lab and learn more about our new spaces and upcoming projects!

October 07
4:30 pm
Nature Lab

Liat Margolis Keynote Presentation

Data-Driven Landscapes: Research into Green Roof Performance

Environmental performance has become a fundamental principle of urban design. But how do we know how well green designs and practices perform over time? Research shows that in many cases there is a gap between intended and actual performance. Architect and educator Liat Margolis 96 ID shares new empirical research developed at the University of Toronto’s Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory (GRIT Lab) that bridges this gap.

October 06
6:00 pm
Metcalf Auditorium

Hand-on workshops during RISD Weekend

  • Field Sketching Wildlife at the Nature Lab with Amy Bartlett-Wright 12-1pm, room 12
  • Urban Nature Walk with botanist Hope Leeson and enthomologist Ben Gagliardi 1:30-3:00pm, meet at the entrance of Waterman Building
  • Exploring Biodesign with Neal Overstrom and Jenn Bissonnette 1:30-3:00pm, room 12
  • Live Animal Study with Laurelin Sitterly 2-4pm, room 22

To see detailed schedule and register visit: RISD Weekend's website

October 06
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Nature Lab

Patterns Inconceivable : the History and Influence of the Edna W. Lawrence Nature Lab

Combining collections from the Nature Lab with records from RISD’s Archives, this exhibition traces Edna Lawrence’s development of the Lab, from her idiosyncratic acquisition records to her extensive travels. More information on this exhibition here.

September 07
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Fleet Library

Open Call for Proposals! Biodesign: From Inspiration to Integration

Biodesign: From Inspiration to Integration
Curated by William Myers & The Nature Lab at RISD
Funding for production, shipping or travel may be available

August 25–September 27, 2018

Woods Gerry Gallery, Rhode Island School of Design

Proposal Deadline
March 15, 2018 via e-mail


Click here for more Information

March 15
Rhode Island School of Design, 2 College Street, Providence, RI 02903

RISD Weekend celebrated our 80th anniversary

The Nature Lab just turned 80 and it will be a year long celebration of our past and future. Alumni, students and families are all welcome to join the Nature Lab's 80th anniversary celebrations.

Tribute booth

Help us celebrate our anniversary by sharing your anecdotes about Miss Lawrence and the Nature Lab! A big thank you to the alums who have shared their memories of the Nature Lab so far.

Be a part of this celebration and share your favorite memory of the Nature Lab and what it meant to you by visiting: https://www.tribute.co/risd/

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Support us Subscribe to our Newsletter