September 27, 2013
Connecting with the Natural World Through Art: Bob Hines Legacy Continues at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
Lake trout illustration by Bob Hines.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius joined with refuge staff and partners from around the region yesterday to unveil the Bob Hines Refuge Ranger Station at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. This dedication kicks off activities associated with the 2013 Federal Duck Stamp Contest taking place today and tomorrow at Maumee Bay State Park.
This new environmental education building is dedicated to honor Ohio native and former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Duck Stamp Program Coordinator Bob Hines.
"Art inspires and intrigues – and in the case of Bob Hines, art educates," noted Melius.
"It’s fitting that we honor his artistic legacy here today, since this facility will continue to connect people with the natural world, as his illustrations continue to do," said Melius.
Bob Hines biographer Dr. John Juriga addressed the crowd, touching on Hines’ life and his contribution to the duck stamp program, as well as wildlife conservation through the arts. Hines was, and to this day, is the Service’s only national wildlife artist. He had no formal training and no college degree, but he did have a keen eye and an uncanny ability to render what he saw with precision and beauty.
“During the darkness of the Great Depression, Hines gravitated to wildlife art so that he could educate the public about the richness of Ohio’s natural beauty,” noted Juriga.
“His weekly feature, Under Ohio Skies, appeared in some 300 Ohio newspapers. He also illustrated the Ohio Conservation Bulletin, sometimes writing an article for the monthly periodical. Bob’s work there sowed the seeds of environmental stewardship a generation before the concept penetrated the national consciousness,” continued Juriga.
Ottawa Refuge currently works with 33 schools both on and off site to link students and teachers with curriculum-based science education programming. This includes five partnership schools that visit the refuge multiple times during the school year. During the past year, this robust educational program connected 1600 students with the wild places and natural habitats of the refuge.
“Our goal for this new educational space is to foster partnerships between Bowling Green State University and University of Toledo, as we work with them to recruit interns to assist with our education program,” explained Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Services Manager Justin Woldt.
“The shelter will also grow our partnerships with the Ohio Division of Wildlife and local nonprofits, allowing students to be immersed in the resource,” said Woldt.
To learn more about Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, visit them online: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/ottawa/
Check out the latest on the 2013 Federal Duck Stamp Contest: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/2013DuckStamp/
Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Association board member Cathy Allen, Bob Hines biographer Dr. John Juriga, Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius and other refuge partners joined in dedicating the new education facility. Photo by Sean Blomquist/USFWS.
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