Jena Tegeler


Vernal Pull: Sensing Animal Culture in a Freshwater Forest

Advised by Emily Wettstein

This thesis proposes a series of clearings for interacting with the animal inhabitants of a coastal forest on Cape Ann, Massachusetts. The artful clearing of trees, soil, and stone stimulates change in the postglacial terrain as a method for calling attention to animal encounters. The script for cultivating these circular spaces suggests multiple futures that draw the mythical and ecological into conversation. By recalling the history of an early 20th-century naturalist who studied animal life in this forest, the project revives a practice for gardeners, naturalists, poets, and mystics—the nature fakers—who argue that close observation and imagination are essential to the opening of human-animal dualities.

Jena Tegeler, MLA I. Black line drawing of pond surrounded by trees.
Jena Tegeler, MLA I.
Section of cleared trees on a granite outcrop at sunrise. Snag trees provide habitat for ravens. Text labels read: High rock, snag tree, and sunrise clearing.
Jena Tegeler, MLA I.
Swamp platform with magnolia trees emerging between logs.
Jena Tegeler, MLA I.
Left: Map showing the six clearings, highlighting the activated boulder site.  
Right: Handbook drawing of instructions for removing boulders. 
Text labels read : Moving boulders, and Moss mounds for pine saplings.
Jena Tegeler, MLA I.
Frogs and toads at the vernal pool.
Jena Tegeler, MLA I.
Vernal pool in glowing blue light.