Monday, May 18, 2009

The Red Desert - Up Close and Personal

By Linda Helm
Photos by Morgan Heim

Those of you who are tuned in to the issues surrounding energy development here in Colorado, likely also know that there are similar, if not more pressures in Wyoming. Like Colorado, the issues are complex, the solutions equally so.

While I do not pretend to be an expert on all of these concerns, I do know that complex problems deserve our utmost attention and research - especially because the decisions and actions we take (or fail to take) today will have lasting impacts on us as well as our children and grandchildren.

I just found out about a fantastic opportunity to get to know the Red Desert area in a more intimate way - CAR CAMPING TRIPS sponsored by the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance out of Laramie, WY.

They start this weekend and run through mid June and include various destinations, lengths of trips and difficulty. Trust me - after talking with more than a few photographers who have worked in this area - you will derive huge benefit from going with people who know the territory. It can be rough going if you get weather, car trouble or ... dare I say ... lost ... But then that's also part of the lure of this landscape - remote, peaceful, dangerous, unforgiving ... WILD.

Environmental photojournalist and writer Morgan Heim, whose images appear below, has studied and photographed extensively in this area. She is extremely well versed on the issues surrounding oil and gas development in this landscape. You can see more of her work on the Red Desert at

Anyway, check out the BCA website for details on the Red Desert Caravan, Adobe Town, Powder Rim, Wild Cow Creek Backpack, and Ferris Mountains and Dunes excursions.

The scheduled outings are as follows:

May 23-25 - Red Desert Caravan.
A three-day tour to visit the units of a potential Red Desert National Conservation Area. This three-day auto safari will take in Adobe Town, the Kinney Rim, and Jack Morrow Hills highlights such as the Boar's Tusk, Killpecker Dune Fields, and Honeycomb Buttes. Auto tour with car camping and light day hikes.

May 30-31 - Adobe Town.
A two-day tour of Adobe Town, the crown jewel of Wyoming's desert wilderness. Car camping and light to moderate day hikes along the lofty Skull Creek Rim and among the pinnacles of the Adobe Town Rim, with a likelihood to spot wild horses and other wildlife.

June 6-7 - Powder Rim Tour.
A two-day tour of the Powder Rim, home to ancient juniper woodlands, a desert elk herd, and haunt of outlaws from the Powder Wash Gang. Enjoy bird watching for unique juniper obligate songbirds and wild horse viewing with light day hikes and car camping.

June 27-28 - Wild Cow Creek Backpack.
A moderately strenuous two-day over nighter through rugged country representing the last remaining wilderness along the Atlantic Rim.

June 13 - Adobe Town Day Trip.
Enjoy short day hikes among the spectacular geologic formations of Adobe Town.

June 20-21 - Ferris Mountains and Dunes.
An auto tour with day hikes among the Ferris Dunes, with forays to Whiskey Gap and the forested flanks of the Ferris Mountains, a BLM Wilderness Study Area.

The tours are free to the public but space is limited. Interested persons should contact Carmi McLean at (307) 742-7978 or to make reservations.

Friday, May 15, 2009

10 (easy) Ways to be a Greener Artist

By Kate Dardine

10. Reuse old canvasses and panels – gesso them and use them for studies or completely new paintings.

9. Donate unused art supplies to a local school or art association.

8. Use a “green” canvas manufacturer - like Signature Canvas. Signature Canvas is a manufacturer of premium quality artist canvas that sells directly to professional artists across the United States. They are the only canvas manufacturer whose product is developed and produced in the United States of America.

7. If you are an acrylic painter, consider using Golden Acrylic Paints. Golden acrylic paints are made with the highest quality pigments and resin. Golden has been on the forefront of environmental stewardship programs for their Columbus, NY facility. Golden also promotes safe use of their products through extensive safety information provided on their website,

6. If you are an oil painter, use Gamblin paints and mediums - Gamblin paints are manufactured in a safe, sustainable manner. With a wind-powered, energy efficient facility, they focus on reducing their carbon footprint, while making some of the world's finest artists' materials. Gamblin makes safety a priority, for the artist and the environment, at the same time maintaining the quality of the old Masters with color range of the modern artist's palette.

5. Think bulk when you purchase art supplies or place an order for prints. The more you order at once, the less you’ll pay in shipping. Buy the largest tubes, tubs, boxes, etc. that you can use to reduce the amount of packaging needed.

4. Wipe the paint off your brushes before washing them - less waste down the drain.

3. Use rags to clean brushes instead of paper towels. After drying, they can be washed and reused.

2. Use Murphy’s Oil soap for all cleanup – no toxic chemicals, so it’s safe for the environment, your brushes and you!

1. Use Fine Print Imaging, for all your printing and art copy needs. Through our 35 years of working with wildlife and nature photographers as well as artists, Fine Print has long held a special reverence for and commitment to the environment. As part of that commitment, we switched to 100 % green power for our energy needs as of May, 2007. In making this commitment, we have also become an EPA Green Power Partner and joined a growing list of companies across the country dedicated to reducing air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions through the use of renewable energy resources rather than fossil fuels. For more on Fine Print’s conservation efforts, visit our conservation website,

Friday, May 8, 2009

I've Got a Scooter

by Mark J. Lukes

OK, maybe this isn't earth-shattering - or even blog worthy - news. But it is to me. For my 60th birthday, my friends and family got together and bought me an Zapino Scooter - all electric! Sure, it's fun to ride. And yes. I feel pretty "green" tooling around town on my electric scooter. But we all know that there's more to it.

I read an article some time ago about changes in the definition of "being green". (I'd tell you where I read the article, but one of the problems of being 60 is that my mind does too good a job of filtering information). In the 80s, recycling aluminum, picking up your trash and turning down the thermostat made you green. In the 90s, you could add buying a more fuel efficient car, re-insulating your house and participating in Bike-to-Work day. In the 2000s, we saw a number of conservation issues get relegated to a back seat - or were kicked completely off the bus! We saw our country's leaders ignore the effects of climate change, neglect the needs of wild things and wild places and show a disregard for the welfare of third world cultures.

While all of this was happening, people who cared about our planet were mobilizing and redefining what being "green" meant. People all over the world began to "Get It"! No longer was it good enough to do the easy things that used to make us green. It takes effort, sacrifice - and it takes lots of people. That's certainly true with our efforts at Art for Conservation.

We've been conservation "activists" since 1985. And it seems like every year, our level of "activism" has increased. I put "activists" and "activism" in quotes because everyone has a different definition of conservation activism. Not only that, but as I mentioned earlier, with each year, the definition takes on new meaning, and in these trying time, even more significance.
To be honest, I had become a bit unsettled by using the word "activism". I wanted to make sure that we at Art for Conservation didn't alienate those who are still trying to make up their minds about climate change, about the need to protect wild things and wild places.

Then I attended a presentation by Robert Kennedy, Jr. After hearing him speak, what I already believed became obvious. We don't have time to sugar coat conservation messages. The threats to our planet are real. And the solutions are really more evident than most of us realize. Our job at Art for Conservation is to showcase the photographers and artists who are telling the conservation story. And to foster a dialogue about how all of us in the art community can be a part of delivering the conservation message.

I do love my electric scooter, and even though it's only one little step towards energy sustainability, I feel good riding it. But I know that I need to do more. If you want to do more for our planet, join Art for Conservation. Tell your story. Share your images. Become a part of the dialogue - and the solution.