gearing up for a wild summer!

 Molly looking at the cranes in the distance at sunrise. 

Molly looking at the cranes in the distance at sunrise. 

I had the opportunity to see the Sandhill Cranes for the first time this year.

(Yes, I'm such a bad Nebraskan.)

My bestie Molly and I had a lovely couple of days of crane-watching, with showy pink sunrises and sunsets. An estimated 500,000 cranes were on the Platte this year. We also saw an incredibly rare whooping crane. There are less than 400 of them in the world. We saw one as soon as we pulled off the road past the Crane Trust, near Wood River, Nebraska.

The next week, I camped with a group of friends from Lincoln, and was invited to participate in crane-viewing experiences in blinds. For some reason, sitting in the blinds really compelled me to write more than make photographs. Sometimes it doesn't feel like photography can possibly capture the magnitude and incredible beauty of an experience. I have been writing consistently and editing many of my poems from the last year or so. 

speaking of which! upcoming zine release!  skinnydipping, sauntering  -   Pre-order a copy here

 

cass-madeline01-4 2.11.54 PM.jpg

Signal Fire Artist Residency 

I am incredibly excited to announce my upcoming residency with Signal Fire, an outdoor immersive backpacking trip in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains, of southern Oregon and northern California. 

"Wide Open Studios is Signal Fire’s arts and ecology field institute, making our innovative wilderness excursions available to college students, emerging artists, or anyone seeking an immersive, hands-on, and transformative arts education. These trips invite students to explore their studio practice in stunning wilderness locations, amidst an atmosphere of friendship and critical thinking. Our curriculum is centered on the natural and cultural histories of the sites we visit, and the possibilities of making art in— and in response to— wild places. Individual and collaborative projects invite students to see the wild as a place of wonder, empowerment, action and connection."

I took this photograph last summer while camping in the canyons of the Rogue River, OR in the Klamath Mountains. I can't wait to head west again...


Cedar Point Biological Station Artist Residency

I am also excited to announce my upcoming residency at Cedar Point Biological Station, at Lake McConaughy near Ogallala, Nebraska. It will be another opportunity to collaborate with fellow scientists and artists. Keep an eye out for this new work ahead! Let me know if you have a kayak I can borrow! 

 foxtail barley 

foxtail barley 

Platte Basin Timelapse Project

I am joining the Platte Basin Timelapse Project, run by Michael Forsberg & Michael Farrell,  as a freelance artist on their team this year. 

When I explain the PBT project to people who are unfamiliar, I always emphasize how beautifully and seamlessly the project marries scientific data with visual information. “Imagine a watershed breathing,” I say. It is a project both poetic and documentary. 

The work I'm making for PBT will focus on the Salt Marshes north of Lincoln. Even as a native Lincolnite, for most of my life I’ve only had a vague awareness of the Salt Marshes. Years ago, someone told me about the endangered Salt Creek Tiger Beetle that lives there. I drove down to the end of 27th St. and stopped at Arbor Lake, unsure of what to look for. It is not easy or obvious to love a Salt Marsh.

The beetle's endangered status is the main force that has slowed developers from turning the last 1000 acres of the original 15,000 acres of Nebraskan salt marshes into car dealerships and motels. I’ve begun asking people about their relationship or understanding of the Marsh and am more often than not met with blank stares or a vague, “oh yeah, where’s that again?”, despite it being a short drive from most places in Lincoln. The subtle beauty and biological diversity deserves investigation and celebration.

Last summer, when Forsberg took me there in early June, the Foxtail Barley (Hordeum jubatum) was a brilliant, otherworldly pink, as it waved gently in the heat of the afternoon. Stepping out of the car and into the marsh, it hit me that this place is deeply special. Since that day, I’ve continued to return, to walk, to find solitude, turning the Marsh into a sanctuary for beetles, herons, halophytes, and me. I have been fascinated to learn more about the development and history of Lincoln, the Morton Family and Arbor Day, the species of the Salt Marsh, and the future of marsh conservation.

 

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