Thursday, June 5, 2008

Outcomes of ILCP's Wyoming "Rave"

World Class Photographers Focus Lenses on Threatened
Upper Green River Basin and Wyoming Range

June 2, 2008

Twelve preeminent nature photographers from all corners of the globe converged at a critical environmental crossroad in Wyoming's Upper Green River Valley, May 19th through May 21st to create a visual statement about beauty and the beast of energy development.

The International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) took their cameras and packs on a 72 hour expedition called a Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition (RAVE), scouring the region by air and by ground capturing images that told the story of the good, the bad, and the ugly of a landscape on the brink of further industrialization.

Wyoming's Upper Green River Basin has recently seen some of the most intense pressure for gas exploration and development in the United States. Current development has already diminished air and water resources, wildlife, and the very health of local citizens. Among other disturbing effects, drilling has resulted in a 46 percent decline in the mule deer herd in places in the region, and sage grouse have seen breeding population declines due to displacement from natural gas fields. But this landscape still contains areas of high scenic and ecological value, including the Wyoming Range, which the public is trying to safeguard from future exploitation.

"Citizens throughout Wyoming are beginning to question the no holds barred rush to industrialize everything in sight," said Peter Aengst of The Wilderness Society. "This RAVE can help fuel that opinion shift by showcasing the impacts of this rush and highlighting those signature areas which can still be spared."

The RAVE culminated Friday with the Rich Clarkson Photography at the Summit Workshops exhibit at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, WY. Students from the Summit had the opportunity to participate in the RAVE and exhibit their work along side ILCP photographers. ILCP photographers included Tom Mangelsen (USA), Jack Dykinga (USA), Balan Madhavan (India), Cristina Mittermeier (Mexico), Matthias Breiter (Germany), Daniel Beltra (Spain), Wendy Shattil (USA), and many others. ILCP partnered with Rich Clarkson Photography at the Summit Workshops, The Wilderness Society, The Upper Green River Valley Coalition, The Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Eco Flight, Lighthawk and others on this effort.

"Photography is a witness to history and the RAVE is the tool that allows us to provide our joint testimony in the court of public opinion. As photojournalists, we are the bearers of that witness. Our hope with this Wyoming RAVE is not to judge or criticize, but to capture simple moments eloquently and to translate them visually so that universal human experience is recorded for future generations to see and judge for themselves one image at a time,"
said Cristina Mittermeier, Executive Director of ILCP.

RAVE is a trademarked initiative of the ILCP meant to address the challenge of modern conservation, which often needs an immediate supply of images, words and research to answer threats of imminent disruption. For more information on recent RAVEs, please visit the ILCP website (

Cristina Mittermeier, Executive Director ILCP 703.341.2821
Jenny Nichols, Project Manager ILCP 703.341.2707
Peter Aengst, The Wilderness Society 406.

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