Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Celebrates it’s 50th Anniversary

Arctic national Wildlife Refuge - Olaus and Margaret Murie

In the 1950s, Olaus and Margaret Murie led a group of visionary conservationists on a seven-year campaign to establish the nation’s first ecosystem-scale conservation area. These people were concerned with the spread of pesticides and pollution.

On December 6, 1960 the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was established for the purpose of “preserving unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values.” In 1980, it was expanded.

The Arctic Refuge is part of remote Alaska. It is home to a multitude of arctic wildlife including; Caribou, Polar Bears, Grizzly Bears, Muskox, Dall Sheep, Wolves, as well as, many type of birds and waterfowl.

This refuge was established to preserve this area for future generations to enjoy.

This week, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Tom Strickland hosted a kick-off event for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that will feature an hour-long documentary film, a traveling photo exhibit, and other events both in Alaska and across the country.

“The creation of the Arctic National Wildlife Range in 1960 is one of the milestones in the history of American conservation,” Strickland said. “As a people, we made the unprecedented decision to set aside a vast area of beautiful mountains, plains, rivers and streams and conserve it forever as a natural treasure, a place where the relentless cycles of nature will continue undisturbed for generations to come.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has projects and events planned to celebrate the anniversary, as well as, bring awareness to the importance of wildlife refuges everywhere.

Some of these events and projects include:

America’s Wildest Refuge: Discovering the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: An hour-long video documentary showing the beauty and vastness of the refuge as well as interviews from those who know it best. Here is a trailer of it:

Wild Legacy: An original stage production based on the writings of Olaus and Margaret Murie. This production pays homage to the people who made the establishment of the refuge possible. It also celebrates the experiences of visitors that can still be enjoyed today.

Arctic Sanctuary – Images of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: An exhibit of large photographs with interpretive text. The combination of Jeff Jones’ stunning photographs with the expressive words of Laurie Hoyle, engage the viewer in a contemplative exploration of the refuge.

A Sense of the Refuge:
A five-panel exhibit describing the geography, history, biology, climate and the unique importance of the refuge.

Here is a calendar of events that continues the celebration into September 2011:

  • Aug. 1-Nov. 30, 2010 The Arctic Sanctuary photo exhibit will be displayed in the gallery at the UAA/APU Consortium Library in Anchorage.
  • Aug. 6-14, 2010 The Arctic Refuge 50th Anniversary booth will travels to the Tanana Valley State Fair in Fairbanks, courtesy of Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges.
  • Aug. 26-Sept. 6, 2010 The Arctic Refuge 50th Anniversary booth travels to the Alaska State Fair in Palmer, courtesy of Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges.
  • Oct. 8, 2010 Photographer Jeff Jones and essayist Laurie Hoyle will give a presentation on photographing the Arctic Refuge and sign copies of their book, Arctic Sanctuary, in the gallery at the UAA/APU Consortium Library in Anchorage.
  • Dec. 2, 2010 (tentative) There will be a briefing to The Congressional Refuge Caucus on the Arctic Refuge 50th Anniversary in Washington, D.C.
  • Dec. 3, 2010 The Arctic Sanctuary photo exhibit opens at the Well Street Art Co. in Fairbanks.
  • Dec. 4-5, 2010 Wild Legacy is performed by Voices of the South theater company at the Lee H. Salisbury Theater at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
  • Dec. 7, 2010 Voices of the South theater company holds a theater workshop in Homer, Alaska.
  • Dec. 8, 2010 Wild Legacy is performed by Voices of the South theater company at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center in Homer.
  • Dec. 10-12, 2010 Wild Legacy is performed by Voices of the South theater company at the Wendy Williamson Theater at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Voices of the South theater company holds a theater workshop at the Wendy Williamson Theater on Dec. 11, 2010.
  • March-May, 2011 The Arctic Sanctuary photo exhibit will be on display at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT.
  • Sept. 2011 The Murie Center in Moose, WY plans to host the Arctic Sanctuary photo exhibit, Wild Legacy stage play, and America’s Wildest Refuge documentary.

Picture from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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