Fire Island, NY, batik on silk, 107″ x 55″
Fire Island, NY, batik on silk, 107″ x 55″

Flying Artist Preserves Beauty of Shifting Barrier Islands (read article in full)
by Bijal P. Trivedi, National Geographic Today, June 16, 2003

“In the long term, we can’t hold islands in place,” Pilkey says. “We have to decide which is more important: buildings or beaches? The problem in North America is basically at its peak because almost all the beachfront property that could be developed has been sold by now.”

The development issues are worldwide. “Taiwan, for example, is an end point if ever there was one,” Fraser says. In 1945, Taiwan had 35 barrier islands—now there are five. The Taiwanese filled in the lagoons between the mainland and the island and built massive sea walls to hold everything in place.

Fraser and Pilkey appreciate the inherent fragility of her subjects.

“We’ve got to live with the islands, not just on the islands,” Pilkey says. “Living with the islands means allowing them to evolve as they would naturally—even though we are on that island.”