Wings and Voices over the Cuyahoga

“I hope my work honors all creatures regardless of size or recognition.” — Jim Roetzel

Wherever you go, birds are all around. Sometimes they are fleeting flashes of bright color. Other times they capture our attention, dazzling us with their singing, their variety, and their feats of endurance. As neighbors who share our spaces, they can be charming—or annoying. Artists are attracted to their beauty. For park scientists, studying birds is a way to measure the health of our environment. What comes to your mind when you think about birds?

People and Birds

A male oriole lands on a tree by a nest with a female resting inside.
Baseball has made this colorful bird famous. Baltimore orioles prefer weaving their distinctive nests in sycamores, a tall tree with patchy white bark that grows along waterways. As habitat has improved along the Cuyahoga River in recent decades, orioles have become much more common.

© Jim Roetzel

Wings and Voices over the Cuyahoga: How Birds Connect Us is a traveling exhibit presented by Tinker's Creek Watershed Partners and the National Park Service. Through the masterful bird photography of Jim Roetzel, it explores the relationships between people and nature. Jim strives to reveal the beauty in the common and the wonder in the world just beyond our doorstep. He finds photography one of the most powerful ways to share the spirit of natural places.

The exhibit curators are Mary Grodek, Arrye Rosser, and Joe Valencic. After opening in July 2021, it will run through 2022. Some venues offer gallery talks and other related programs. The project has generous support from the Akron Community Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, and more than 20 community partners.

View through an interior glass wall with an open door. Text reads “Moos Gallery” repeated twice. Inside, over 30 framed bird photos hang on cream walls. A framed photo of a Baltimore oriole rests on an easel outside on the left.
Wings and Voices exhibit at the Moos Gallery

© Joe Valencic

Traveling Exhibit Schedule

  • Ohio Stormwater Conference at Kalahari Resort in Sandusky – May 19-21, 2021
  • Twinsburg Public Library – July 1 to August 26, 2021
  • Moos Gallery at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson – September 6 to October 14, 2021
  • Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek Reservation in Parma – October 15 to December 31, 2021
  • Akron-Summit County Main Library – February 1 to March 31, 2022
  • Trail Mix Boston (near Boston Mill Visitor Center) at Cuyahoga Valley National Park – April 23 preview, 10 am-2 pm; April 30 through July 2022, Thursdays to Sundays, 10 am-5 pm
  • Summit Metro Park locations – September to October 2022

Additional 2022 venues include Summit County Courthouse, Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport, and Cuyahoga Community College.

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4 minutes, 5 seconds

Earth Day turned 50 on April 22, 2020. What do birds tell us about the state of our environment? This slideshow of images by Jim Roetzel explores conservation successes and emerging challenges at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio.

Photographer Jim Roetzel beside his camera and tripod.
Photographer Jim Roetzel beside his camera and tripod.

© Ron Skinner

Meet Jim Roetzel

“You have to be out in the wild almost every day to be good at this. Being outside matters most. The camera is just a way to share my walks with others.”

Photographer and teacher Jim Roetzel has lived near Cuyahoga Valley his whole life. He notes that capturing Ohio’s subtle beauty can be difficult, but it’s a challenge he finds particularly rewarding. He has also photographed all over the United States and Canada, following nature’s rhythms, migrations, and seasons. His work regularly appears in nation publications including Audubon, Smithsonian, and National Parks. In addition, Roetzel and his co-authors have produced three books: Cuyahoga Valley National Park: A Photographic Portrait, Birds of North America, and Birds of New England.

Roetzel is a long-time leader in the Cuyahoga Valley Photographic Society, an activity of the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. He encourages you to attend their programs and consider becoming a member.

Roetzel is a long-time leader in the Cuyahoga Valley Photographic Society, an activity of the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. He encourages you to attend their programs and consider becoming a member.

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    Last updated: April 20, 2022

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