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ARCTIC: Strickland, Gould, Haskett Kick Off Arctic 50th Celebration
Alaska Region, August 14, 2010
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Rowan Gould and Geoff Haskett watch as Tom Strickland cuts the cake.
Rowan Gould and Geoff Haskett watch as Tom Strickland cuts the cake. - Photo Credit: n/a
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Assistant Interior Secretary Tom Strickland, Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Rowan Gould, and Alaska Regional Director Geoff Haskett kicked off the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 50th anniversary celebration on Aug. 14 at the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Anchorage.   They provided the public with a preview of events planned for a year-long celebration, including an hour-long film, a stage play, and a traveling photo exhibit.

The event took place just after the three returned from a trip to the Arctic Refuge, a trip Strickland described as “amazing.” 

“The idea of creating a conservation area of this size, a place that would preserve a whole suite of ecosystems and save for the future a piece of America that is virtually unchanged from its natural state, was breathtaking in its vision,” Strickland said.

The assistant secretary’s visit came 54 years after a group, led by conservationists Olaus and Mardy Murie, wrapped up a four-month expedition in the refuge, taking photos and shooting film while exploring the wildlife, vegetation and geography.  Upon leaving, the Muries immediately went to Anchorage where they launched a national speaking tour and used the film and photos to gain support for the establishment of the refuge.  In much the same way, the anniversary celebration will use images to bring this vast and remote landscape to the American people.

The photo exhibit, Arctic Sanctuary, includes 50 images by acclaimed photographer Jeff Jones.  Many of the images are large in scale and convey the scope, significance and stunning beauty of the Arctic Refuge.  The film, America’s Wildest Refuge, is an hour-long, high-definition video documentary.  It is an ecological and historical portrait of a majestic place and those who have worked to protect it.  The original stage play, Wild Legacy, is based on the collected writings of Olaus and Margaret Murie.  It honors those who made the establishment of the Arctic Refuge possible and celebrates the experiences we are still able to enjoy there 50 years later.  The photo exhibit, film and play will travel throughout the United States in 2011.


Contact Info: Maureen Clark, (907) 786-3469, Maureen_Clark@fws.gov



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