Started in 2012 ・ Reasearch & Exhibit ・ William Fitzhugh & Stephen Loring
Ringing the northern globe, the Boreal Forest is the largest and most intact terrestrial ecosystem on Earth. It is an essential component of global climate change and a major source of the world’s fresh water and forest resources; it is also a fragile and unique habitat that is critical for the survival of myriad species of migratory song-birds and waterfowl as well as home to the largest ungulate aggregations in the world (the George River and Porcupine caribou herds of Labrador and Alaska). While often perceived as a remote and challenging wilderness the Boreal Forest is the ancestral homeland for indigenous peoples who yet retain a remarkable intimacy to the land and its animals and whose subsistence-based lifestyles and deep spiritual roots are a last link to humanity’s common hunting and gathering heritage. As a place of wonderment and reflection the Boreal Forest is an inspiration to poets, photographers and artists who are drawn to the region to experience the majesty and minutia of a wilderness setting and champion its beauty and preservation. Combined, these three ways of seeing/three ways of knowing –the scientific, the indigenous and the aesthetic— form the philosophy behind a unique and compelling exhibition plan to present the significance of the World’s Boreal Forest.
With this exhibition we would like to weave a seamless story about the boreal forest that incorporates three perspectives: 1) a scientific, public policy orientated, focus that presents research results relating to the significance of the boreal forest to global climate change and as a crucial habitat for birds and animals; 2) an indigenous perspective that would present the antiquity and variety of human responses to the boreal forest; and 3) an aesthetic perspective that would bring the work of an international association of wildlife artists to work with the scientists and the indigenous communities to capture another dimension of the boreal forest experience. The goal of the exhibition is to inform the public about the importance of the boreal forest ecosystem and to celebrate its profound biological significance, cultural and historical relevance and great intrinsic beauty.