A Wilderness Science and Art Collaboration

Aldo & Leonardo, a partnership between Colorado Art Ranch and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, is a project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The project is inspired by the scientific wisdom of Aldo Leopold and the artistic genius of Leonardo da Vinci. Our endeavor is an interdisciplinary collaboration of artists and scientists designed to celebrate the lands, resources and opportunities protected by the Wilderness Act. In 2013, we are hosting one-month residencies in six diverse wilderness areas. Artists will work alongside wildland research scientists and gain firsthand knowledge of the wonders, complexities and challenges of our nation's wildest places. The result will be a body of work that creatively illustrates the value of wild areas and honors the scientific efforts to preserve wilderness for the next fifty years.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Wilderness Refuge by erogerscello

What is a wilderness experience?
Perhaps it includes...

- carrying your own food and water
- setting up camp and a temporary home in a tent away from electricity, clean water, or toilets
- living away from internet, phones, mail, newspapers
- braving thunderstorms, heat, blisters, insects
- taking the safety and survival of yourself and your friends into your own hands since there is no 911, or doctor nearby
- having only a few sets of clothes to use and re-use
- exerting oneself physically beyond your comfort zone to carry gear, move from place to place, not get enough sleep, eating fewer calories than you usually consume or need

What if this is the way you live your life every day and you have never experienced anything but wilderness?

What if this is the way you are living today and suddenly you have no hope for a return to your home?

What if these are the adventures you face each and every day?

Driving on rough, bumpy, rain sliced roads in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument reminded me of driving on roads in Haiti with my brother in April. Most of the roads I experienced in the city were as rough as the rock strewn dirt roads we drove a few days ago into Dolores Canyon. The roads got me thinking about the concept of wilderness preservation as a privilege... when you live each day in your tent, there is irony in preserving land so people can go spend time in a tent... when you flee your home carrying what you can on your back, there is a heartbreaking twist to the idea of backpacking... Today on BBC News we can see photos of people fleeing Zamboanga in the Philippines and there are now 50 dead and 60,000 people living in tents.

I want to be grateful we can even discuss the possibility of land preservation for wilderness, and that I have a home to return to after my wilderness experiences.

Girl cooking dinner in PAP, Haiti.

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