From mid June to early July of 2019 I was stationed at the Canning River Bird Camp in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, at the very top of Alaska. My second residency with the Voices of the Wilderness program, I was working with the ornithologists studying and sketching all the migratory birds that travel to the arctic coastal plain to breed and raise their young. The coastal plain in an incredible environment, unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Once our plane works it way through the massive Brooks Range, the landscape opens up into braided river channels, pools of meltwater and a vast flat expanse of treeless tundra, where no plants grow above 8″. But there are plants, and wildflowers, and mosses, and lichens growing their way through the cold and wind. There are geometric patterns in the permafrost where melting and refreezing have created polygons of tundra. There are countless paths of caribou migration, carved into the landscape over thousands of years. And there are birds, SO many birds, who are drawn to this unique wilderness to build a new generation. I’ll be lecturing about my experience in the Arctic Refuge, showing images and artwork from my experience, so keep up on our events page to see the latest. It is such an important place with so much life.
Photo by Lisa Hupp, USF&WS