Under the A Street bridge there is a mural. The mural records the lifecycle of the lady beetle, a symbol of beneficial insects in the arboretum, and highlights the interactions between people, insects, and plants within the arboretum. Other species native to California are featured in the mural, including: the Valley Oak, Coastal Redwood, California Redbud, Woolly Oak Aphids, Deergrass, and the Yellow-faced Bumblebee. The mural is used on a continuing basis by arboretum staff to educate children about insect and plant interactions in the arboretum.
This mural was designed by UCD students in Entomology 1 in the fall of 2006. The Entomology 1 lecture course was designed and taught by Diane Ullman, a professor in the Entomology department, and Donna Billick, a local ceramic artist. The mural studio was taught by Danielle Fodor, a local muralist who lead the students in a consensus-based, participatory design process, and acted as lead artist throughout the painting process. This design process involved student artists in interviewing arboretum staff, scientists, and visitors, observing the physical place, and reviewing written research and long-term plans for the arboretum. Student artists used this information as a basis for a series of discussions and drawings which culminated in the design that is painted under the A street bridge.
While painting was scheduled to be completed in December 2006 with all student artists, the fall of 2006 involved record cold temperatures that slowed painting and caused repeated problems with dripping, unset paint. As a result, the painting wasn't completed by the end of Fall quarter, and work continued until February 2007. In the end, the mural painting was a community effort that involved the original 20 student artists and teaching staff, as well as a slough of community volunteers. Local artist Mark Rivera also worked on some of the more complicated illustration in the mural — notably, the "guide book" illustrations, on the far right side of the mural. The names of the student artists are listed alphabetically in this "guide book".
The plaque reads:
Mural Bridges Art and Science
the World of Insects are learning about insect-plant
interactions by painting a mural about the lives of