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The Ground Shots Podcast

Sep 26, 2019

Episode #25 of the Ground Shots Podcast features a conversation with Lisa Schonberg.

We sat down at her home in Portland, Oregon, in-between her various research projects in the tropics. Lisa is a composer, percussionist, field recordist, teacher, and writer with a background in entomology and ecology. Lisa has traveled extensively to carry out fieldwork and perform environment-informed music. She earned her Masters in Environmental Studies at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA with a focus on ant biodiversity in the Neotropics. She documents soundscapes, insects, and habitat through music composition, writing, and multimedia collaboration. She strives to draw attention to endangered species, habitat loss, and other environmental issues through a merging of artistic and scientific practices, often in collaboration with ecologists. 

More info and artwork can be found on our website:


In this episode of the podcast, we talk about:


Lisa's ATTA fieldwork (Amplifying the Tropical Ants), a project in collaboration with Brazilian entomologists investigating ant bioacoustics in the Amazon, the ecological and cultural relevance of “sons escondidos” (hidden sounds) and how they can impact our perception of non-human species and our decision-making processes


the importance of acoustic ecology and combining music composition and ecological field research

how Lisa performs her place-based compositions with her ensembles Secret Drum Band and UAU.

The Hylaeus project and Lisa's study of endangered bees that are endemic to Hawai'i 

Developments in citizen science in Hawai'i for the Hylaeus bees

How research on the bees in Hawai'i can help to raise awareness about behavioral changes people can make to protect the bees' habitat

The current administration's push to weaken the Endangered Species Act and how this is extremely problematic

How cross-discipline collaborative research can make questions and findings more accessible

Making art from scientific data to make it more fun for folks to learn about

The pattern ecology project and the exploration of making art about science and through the scientific process

As an additional component to this interview with Lisa, we're including a Ground Shots mixtape episode with a selection of music from the various projects Lisa mentions. Download that episode and enjoy listening to Lisa's compositions that utilize her field recordings in the Amazon, Hawai'i and beyond. (next episode)



Lab Verde Brazil : an art immersion program in the Amazon:

Secret Drum Band:

Lisa's website that features info on ATTA, the Hylaeus Project, Pattern Ecology and more:

HJ Andrews Experimental Forest

Signal Fire

Digital Naturalism Conference we mention in the episode:

@secret drum band :





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Theme music: 'Sweat and Splinters' by Mother Marrow

Produced by: Opia Creative