October 17, 2009–January 10, 2010
Follow along on a photographic expedition through Alaska’s 19.2-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The exhibition tells the story from the perspective of a National Geographic-sponsored traverse in 2006 celebrating the 50th anniversary of a biological survey led by naturalists Olaus and Mardy Murie, which resulted in the protection of this stunning wilderness.
Exhibit images shot by John Burcham, Forrest McCarthy, George Schaller and Jon Waterman feature wildlife, wilderness vistas, evidence of Arctic climate change, and kayaking and trekking scenes within the refuge. Additionally, the exhibit includes archival items from the 1956 survey; ptarmigan, wolf, Grizzly, Caribou and sheep scat; casts of wolf and Grizzly tracks; whale bones; Caribou antlers; cotton grass, a favorite food of Caribou; an Arctic Ground Squirrel preserved by Olaus Murie in 1956; and a continuous video loop about the refuge.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge shelters nine marine mammal species, 45 mammal species and 180 bird species, each endangered by the prospect of oil development on the northern coastal plain. For several years, Congress has narrowly resisted bills to open the refuge to oil leasing because of a flood of letters, phone calls and e-mails from millions of Americans. Inspired viewers of this exhibit also will have an opportunity to speak out on this issue; the last station provides postcards on which to write a plea for wilderness bill protection.