Dangling high off the ground, strung along cable between five large cottonwood trees at Tifft Nature Preserve, is a cluster of 20 shiny pods that both grabs your attention and makes you scratch your head.
What is it?
Of course, that’s just the reaction Joyce Hwang wants.
But more than a habitat, it’s an eco-sculpture, a work of art designed to draw attention to one of nature’s most maligned mammals.
“They’re sort of picked on as animals,” said Hwang, 37, a faculty member at UB since 2005. “Whenever anybody thinks of them these days, you think of Halloween cards, Dracula movies and other types of images that don’t render them in a very good light.