A Joshua Tree Love Story

A Joshua Tree Love Story is a stop motion animation that follows a scientist and her baby doing research across Joshua Tree National Park to understand why the Joshua trees are dying. Based on a true story about the work of Dr. Juniper Harrower who studies Joshua trees and their symbiotic partners under climate change, this animation draws on real science discoveries and magical realism to uncover the hidden world of species interactions. In this story we learn about the delicate balance between the trees and their only pollinators (teeny moths!), and then we dive underground to explore the fascinating world of Joshua tree soil fungi by peeking inside of the trees’ root cells! As a researcher and mother, Harrower realizes that we will need to take action if we want to keep Joshua trees around for our future generations, but is it too late? This story reaches a critical climax as they make some bold decisions and then we flash forward into the future to find out what happens.

  • Juniper Harrower
  • Juniper Harrower
  • Symbio ArtLab
  • Grace Ackles
    Animation lead
  • SL Benz
    Project manager
  • Grace Ackles
    Editing lead
  • Erin Wang
    Music Composer
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 41 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 1, 2019
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Juniper Harrower

Dr. Juniper Harrower specializes in species interactions under climate change as both an ecologist and an artist. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on the symbiotic interactions between Joshua trees, their soil fungi, and moth pollinators in Joshua Tree National Park. She uses current science methods and a multi-media place based art practice to investigate the outcomes of human influence on ecological systems. By approaching her study system through art and science, she hopes to better understand the form and function of the organisms she studies as well as share the hidden beauty of these threatened species interactions with others.

Harrower founded SymbioArtlab, an eco-arts production company that contracts with national parks, universities, and the private sector to impact positive environmental change. Her research is published in both science and art scholarly journals and has shaped environmental policy. She is a National Science Foundation iCorps Fellow, an Oakland Teaching Fellow, and a Cota-Robles Fellow dedicated to advancing research for multicultural societies. Her work is exhibited locally and internationally in galleries and museums, and her research and artistic products have received broad exposure in popular media such as National Geographic, the associated press, podcasts, music festivals and conferences. Visit www.juniperharrower.com to view her online portfolio.

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