Internationally known photographer to display rare images of wildlife and scenic landscapes
[button color=”silver”] by Susie Moseley, Board of Directors, Boerne Public Library Foundation[/button]
Thousands of free-roaming bison, hundreds of grizzly bears, wolves, and moose. Plus, more geysers and hot springs than the rest of the world combined. America’s national treasure, Yellowstone National Park, will come alive this summer at the Patrick Heath Public Library in Boerne. Through a special partnership between the Boerne Public Library Foundation and the Yellowstone Park Foundation, the first designated national park in the world will be recreated library-style, and offer a summer-long taste of Yellowstone for the entire area to experience.
This is the first time the Yellowstone Park Foundation has partnered with a library, offering our community a rare opportunity to spotlight both our library and Yellowstone National Park. “Yellowstone Park has millions of stories to reveal,” said Tom Porter of the Yellowstone Park Foundation. “Our goal is to showcase what it means to set aside a place that is a national treasure, and protect and preserve it for the future.”
“It means a lot to me to play a role in bringing this partnership together,” said Porter, whose father-in-law is Patrick Heath, former mayor of Boerne and the library’s namesake.“ A library is such a unique venue to reach children and their parents. The Boerne library is a magnificent structure, and it is exciting to help position the library to reflect modern culture with activities and projects relevant to the community.
“Although Texans represent a huge number of our summer visitors, so many people have not been able to see Yellowstone or perhaps any of our national parks. We want to expose children to the wilds of the outside world. They are the key to our future, and we hope to engage the next generation of park stewards. Children who have experiences in wild places tend to return to those places as adults, and hold them in high importance.”
So what can Boerne residents expect of a Yellowstone summer at the library? The Reader Ranger program promises to be the largest reading program in the library’s history including bear brunches, wild animal presentations, campfire cookouts and science experiments featuring volcanoes and geysers. Teens can participate in rock climbing, nature hikes, archery, and a daylong campout. Extensive reading lists are available for all ages, and adults are encouraged to enter the library’s photography contest.
The library itself will be filled with artifacts, vintage souvenirs, clothing and historical documents to help reveal the park’s history, research and conservation efforts. Many small hands will no doubt touch trunkfuls of animal hides, pelts and an actual wolf skull. Short documentaries about Yellowstone National Park will run continuously throughout the library.
As the centerpiece of the project, both Foundations are pleased to present a major gallery exhibit featuring internationally acclaimed photographer, Tom Murphy, and his representation of wildlife and the scenic landscapes of Yellowstone. Murphy has hiked, skied and camped throughout the entire 3400 square-mile park in order to photograph his astounding images. He travels the backcountry extensively during the winter months to capture nature in its most raw and beautiful. Murphy was the first photographer to lead photography tours in Yellowstone, and his photographs have been used in numerous publications including Life, National Geographic, New York Times Magazine and Architectural Digest.
“My goal in photography is to show people the wide variety of wildness and wildlife in Yellowstone,” said Murphy. “I’ve traveled all over, to Africa, Antarctica, Alaska, all very beautiful places, but Yellowstone is the best wild place I’ve ever seen, and where I spend most of my time.”
“Many Yellowstone visitors never get out of their car,” laments Murphy. “I encourage people to hit a trail even for a little bit, and if they walk only a quarter of a mile, stop and listen to both the sounds and the quiet. The beauty is phenomenal. Yellowstone has the best concentration of wildlife, spectacular mountains, a clear lake I’ve actually drunk from, tons of geysers and hot springs right here in America’s backyard. Even if you drive all of the 370 miles of road in Yellowstone, you will still miss 92% of the park. “
Murphy has always loved the outdoors. “As a young man I started backpacking through mostly wild areas, and wanted to share what I saw with other people. Since I couldn’t draw or paint, I turned to photography. People seem to like my pictures, so I’ve been hiking and sharing photographs for the last 40 years.”
Murphy rarely stays in one place for long, preferring to move around in hope of being surprised by nature or wildlife. In Yellowstone, he crosses park trails but rarely follows them so that he can capture and share images most people will never have the opportunity to see. He’s had what he calls a lot of pleasant surprises, but a few frightening ones as well. “I have been stuck in avalanches, I almost drowned in the lake, and I’ve been charged by grizzly bears, but I wouldn’t do anything differently. I am a guest in this living room called Yellowstone, and it’s all about taking time to notice what’s going on and being respectful of the wildlife and the geography.”
The summer-long exhibit, “Yellowstone National Park Through the Seasons,” is the first time Murphy has ever shown his work in a library. “I’m very glad that it will hang where it will be easily accessible to the public,” he said.
The Yellowstone Park Foundation and the Boerne Library Foundation are alike in that they function under the same type of public-private relationship. Government dollars support day-to-day operations, but it requires private funding to allow the library and the park to reach an elevated level of excellence.
“This is an opportunity for the Boerne library to try something different that is not being done elsewhere,” said Kelly Skovbjerg, Library Director. “This is uncharted territory for our library, and there is so much energy behind the project. I hope this is only the beginning of what we can do. I would love to continue to bring things here that many people have not or will not be able to see otherwise.”
“That’s just what the Boerne Library Foundation is designed to do,” said Rusty Meador, Board President. “The Foundation is not only here to address capital needs, but to ensure that the library has the ability to continue to excel in its programming, and evolve as a cultural and educational hub for the community. We value and welcome the support of businesses, foundations and individuals who care about the development and future of our library.”
Since 1872 Yellowstone National Park has served as the universal symbol of wildness, mystery and natural beauty. It is a wonderland that is the core of one of the last, nearly intact, natural ecosystems in the Earth’s temperate zone.
More than three million people visit the park every year. But this summer for the first time, a taste of Yellowstone is coming to us. See you at the library.