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Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958
Grand Canyon, Ariz. -- Grand Canyon’s Green Heart: The Unsung Legacy of Plants, an exhibit focusing on Grand Canyon National Park’s incredibly diverse plant communities, its rare plants, and the stewardship actions that the National Park Service takes to preserve and protect the park’s vegetation, opens at Kolb Studio on the South Rim Friday, July 2, 2010.
The exhibit will include approximately fifty botanical illustrations, a centuries-old art form that is still used today to help botanists identify and describe plants. The pen-and-ink and full-color illustrations of the canyon’s interesting, rare or sensitive plants were produced by volunteer artists with the Desert Botanical Garden’s Art and Illustration Program. According to Curator Wendy Hodgson who directed their work, “The volunteers have donated months of their time to hone their craft and produce images that we hope will both inspire with their beauty and help people identify Grand Canyon’s rare and endemic plants.”
These illustrations will eventually be included in the revised edition of A Field Guide to the Special Status Plants of Grand Canyon National Park by Nancy J. Brian. Grand Canyon Vegetation Program Manager Lori Makarick said, “Because many of these plants are so rare, very few photographs or herbarium specimens exist to help people identify them. Because we first need to know what plants are out there in order to properly preserve and protect them for future generations, these illustrations will help park biologists distinguish rare plants from other closely related species and then monitor the health of the populations that occur in the park.”
Interpretive text and large scale photographs by Gary Ladd of Grand Canyon’s diverse plant communities will be integrated into the exhibit to help tell the story of the canyon’s plants, starting with the last ice age, moving through present plant communities and exploring how those communities might change in the future. The exhibit will also provide an overview of the life zones and major plant communities found in the park; the impact of soils, isolation, and elevation on plant diversity; and the history of botanical research in Grand Canyon, from the first herbarium sample collected in the park to the current comprehensive vegetation mapping project.
Kolb Studio is managed by the park’s cooperating association and fund-raising partner Grand Canyon Association, and exhibits there are jointly sponsored by the Association and the National Park Service. According to Association Director Susan Schroeder: “With the help of member and donor support, the Grand Canyon Association inspires and educates people about Grand Canyon National Park and its resources. This exhibit about an often forgotten aspect of the canyon is a perfect fit for Kolb Studio exhibits. The beautiful illustrations truly blend art and science.”
Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Steve Martin adds, “We are very excited to have this exhibit at Kolb Studio. Many people are unaware that Grand Canyon National Park has the greatest plant diversity of any national park; and this exhibit marks one of the first times that an exhibit at Kolb Studio has had a stewardship message about the conservation work the National Park Service does to manage this special place.”
This free exhibitwill be on display at the Kolb Studio on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily through August 31, 2010.
Grand Canyon’s Green Heart is the result of a collaboration between the National Park Service, Grand Canyon Association and the Desert Botanical Garden.
For more information on the exhibit, please contact Lori Makarick, Grand Canyon’s National Park’s Vegetation Program Manager, at 928-638-7455, or Helen Ranney, Outreach and Public Relations, Grand Canyon Association, at 928-863-3877.