“It caught my attention,” said Paris Villa, a computer engineering senior. “I liked the aesthetic. The contrast between the red and yellow colors was very appealing. Whoever did it took their time, and it was nice to be able to stop and reflect on their art.”

Last year’s first installment, which Correia did by herself, took two-and-a-half hours and included spirals and circles.

The idea was inspired by a Sacramento State student, Joanna Hedrick, who made similar art on her campus several years ago.

Mixing nature and other disciplines is nothing new to Correia, who received her master’s degree in horticulture therapy at Fresno State. Since then, she has applied the same principles in community outreach projects that utilize nature, plants and landscape.

The day after completing her leaf artwork, she made her weekly 70-minute drive to Avenal State Prison where she hosts a class for inmates. The year-long, insight garden program encourages about 25 participants to learn about and develop new connections with plants, other natural elements and themselves, while they plan and build a therapy garden at the prison.

Correia also helped build and make updates to a therapy garden at Valley Children’s Hospital with the assistance of volunteers, Fresno State students and staff.

“Finding new ways to connect people to nature should be an important part of all our lives,” Correia said. “Personally, I liked being able to use the gingko tree, which sometimes gets a bad rap because of the way its seeds can smell. The tree has a timeless quality, and its yellow leaves are vibrant and really inspiring. Fall is an exciting time, and I hope our students and faculty enjoyed a new way to come together and see our campus and all its beauty.”