Opening March 5 and running through May 29, 2011, the new photographic exhibition Arctic Sanctuary: Images of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at the Bruce Museum
in Greenwich, Connecticut, celebrates a milestone in American conservation history, the establishment of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge five decades ago. The exhibition and its accompanying book feature both large-scale and intimate landscape images that commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northwest Alaska. Photographer Jeff Jones work conveys a sense of the scope, significance, and stunning beauty of the immense Arctic Refuge wilderness.
Arctic Sanctuary leads the visitor on a journey deep into this landmark wilderness, a vast and remote land that remains untamed by technology and undisturbed by human development. In turns celebratory and contemplative, emotionally evocative and beautifully fierce, Arctic Sanctuarys photographic images and informative notes pay homage to the wilderness ethic and wilderness itself. The exhibition features 25 large-scale archival-quality digital prints by Jeff Jones selected from the more than 150 images published in the book Arctic Sanctuary: Images of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Tucked into a remote corner of Alaska, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known by many as "ANWR," is a place where the American frontier can be experienced on an epic scale. As the largest single piece of wild land in the U.S.larger than any national park or national forest and nearly the size of South Carolinathe Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is made up of five ecozones: coastline, tundra, mountains, taiga, and boreal forest. The exhibition offers a window into each and offers a view that ranges from large-scale panoramas to smaller, more intimate studies of the landscape. The exhibition invites the visitor to examine their own ideas of wilderness in the modern world while returning to the intangible values of spirit and place that the founders of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge experienced in its mountains, river valleys, forests, and coastal plain.
Over the past fifty years the Arctic Refuge has expanded the notion of what a national wildlife refuge can be and what the national wildlife refuge system protects. To celebrate the 50th anniversary, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with a network of partners to increase understanding and appreciation of the Arctic Refuge's significance and the importance of national wildlife refuges everywhere. The goal is to spread the message that America's treasured landscapes preserve and protect our world in the face of enormous environmental challenges.
The story of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge began more than a half-century ago with a group of people concerned with loss of wild places to development, the spread of pollution and pesticides, and the awesome power and destructive potential of the atomic bomb. In the 1950s these visionary conservationists, led by Olaus and Margaret Murie, launched a seven-year, hard-fought campaign to establish the Nation's first ecosystem-scale conservation area. On December 6, 1960 the Arctic
National Wildlife Range was established to preserve "unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values." It was expanded in 1980.
Yet the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been providing for the physical and emotional well-being of humans for many thousands of years. It remains an important resource to help sustain local Eskimo and Indian cultures. Thousands of people find adventure, solitude and reflection there, but millions more are inspired just knowing that this unique piece of America exists unspoiled in today's world. As the founders had hoped, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has become a symbolic landscape, unprecedented not only in its size, but in the range of values its preservation reflects and perpetuates. The Refuge continues to be valued, even by those who never travel within its borders, as a symbol of America's vast and remote wilderness - a place of inspiration and beauty - a promise for the future for all Americans.