Steamboat Creates hosts wolf art exhibit, talks on Prop 114 leading up to election
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Creates has announced plans to host a new visual arts exhibit titled “Living with Wolves” — a timely addition to the Depot Art Center as the reintroduction of wolves to Colorado will appear on the ballot this November as Proposition 114.
Featuring images from National Geographic photographers, the exhibit offers a rare view into the lives of wolves while exploring the myths, behaviors and predations of the animal.
Dagny McKinley, development director for Steamboat Creates, was able to secure the exhibit to be on display for the month of November. This was the first time the traveling exhibit has been available in two years; previously, it has been housed at the Chicago Field Museum, the Detroit Zoo and the Rotunda of Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.
“We were lucky to secure this exhibit,” said McKinley. “Whether the ballot initiative passes or not, this exhibit allows people to better understand human/wolf relationships and their impact on the environment.”
Steamboat Creates will also host two talks this month prior to the opening of the exhibit.
The first, at noon Wednesday, will discuss Proposition 114 and what it would mean to reintroduce wolves to Colorado. The Zoom event will include four speakers who will provide different perspectives. Matt Barnes will speak on livestock predation; Gary Skiba on elk predation and hunting; Diana Tomback on environmental perspective; and Eric Washburn will provide a sportsman’s perspective.
Tomback, who is a long time researcher in Yellowstone National Park, said that her talk will cover a wide range of topics, including wolf extirpation in Colorado, where reintroduction would be focused and why, some relevant lessons from the Yellowstone reintroduction, potential benefits to Colorado ecosystems and game management and public concerns about disease transmission and any dangers posed by wolves.
The second talk, at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 28, will discuss the future of Colorado and the impact of wolves. Lianna Ferguson, an environmental scientist, naturalist and wildlife guide will talk about wolf ecology, history of predators on the landscape and research projects concerning these animals. She will discuss reintroduction efforts in Great Lakes, Yellowstone, Idaho and beyond and how they do and don’t relate to potential reintroduction in Colorado. The goal of her talk is to educate voters on the different issues surrounding Proposition 114.
“I’ve quickly learned that any time you mention wolves, people are very eager to pick sides,” Ferguson said. “I will do no such thing. I don’t portray wolves to be anything more than they are: an essential species on our landscape and one that is critically important. A wolf is a wolf, such as a trout is a trout, and a mule deer is just that.”
Ferguson noted often times, “wildlife management is people management,” and these issues can bring up polarizing viewpoints.
“’I’m a scientist, but what draws me to wildlife management, and in particular, predators is the human psychology behind our viewpoints,” she said. “This talk will be about coming together, listening and respecting one another and remembering what we have in common.”
To sign up for the Zoom talks, visit steamboatcreates.org.
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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