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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Montana Summer Break

Montana Summer Break

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Monday, July 29, 2019/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, photography, sustainability, art and design, environment

                                Leaping Brown Trout for a May Fly Mural, 7-28-2019 (credit: SWP Media)

Montana is one of those places that is hard to forget or ignore. The vast state didn't earn its "Big Sky Country" designation for nothing. As the Rocky Mountain writer Terry Tempest Williams once noted about our region, "it's the distances that bind us" and it applies to Montana in spades. I thought of this on a short break to help a project in Bozeman and then an overnight stop at a friend's ranch in a beautiful valley.

Bozeman's Sweet Pea Festival was pending and the organizers of the annual event commissioned the artist, Juliene Sinclair, to create a series of public murals for the festival. Sinclair's first completed installation was a gigantic public mural of a brown trout on the side of a fly-fishing store in the downtown area. The native Montanan artist will produce another large installation of Sandhill Cranes during the 42nd annual gathering which opens August 2-4. Sinclair used brilliant colors for an intense focus of the prized Montana cold-water fish. She drew on insights from living in Germany where public 'street art' is common. Even before it was completed, crowds of passerbys would stop and stare at its size and beauty.

Following on the visit to the fine college town, home of Montana State University, a stop at a classic western ranch was the way to complete the break before returning to other duties. Located in a southwestern corner of the state, an outpost of another Montana exists in the remote Centennial Valley. Once the 19th Century pathway into Yellowstone, it is now the home to a larege wildlife refuge, several working cattle operations, and the Taft/Nicholson Environmental Center. The abandoned way-station town of Lakeview was fully restored for the Center and now houses log cabins, communal buildings, and study areas for college students, artists, and others to explore and learn about of the region. The Center now receives applicants from around the USA and the first group of Chinese students will attend a program this summer.


                      Centennial Valley wildlife Refuge and Gravelly Ranges, Montana (credit: SWP Media)

I'm planning a return to Montana in the Fall for another dose of the "big sky".



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