Sunday, January 5, 2014

2014 Voices of the Wilderness information

Chugach & Tongass National Forests, Western Arctic National Parklands

Residencies open to: Artists and arts professionals in all media – visual (two and three dimensional: photographers, sculptors, painters), audio (musicians, singers, composers), film (video/filmmakers), and writers (poets, fiction, essays, storytellers).

Residency period: June through September; dates vary Contact: Barbara Lydon at (907) 754-2318, e-mail: Or check out

20120 TAFT A.I.R. Aleria Jensen

The Voices of the Wilderness artist residency is a unique opportunity. It is modeled after traditional residencies in the national parks…with a twist. Instead of staying at a remote wilderness cabin, our participating artists are paired with a wilderness ranger and actively engaged in stewardship projects, such as research, monitoring, and education. The idea is to give artists a sense of the stewardship behind America’s public lands, fostering an artistic exploration of these natural and cultural treasures. The hoped-for result is artwork that communicates something of the meaning of these lands.

Artists in Public Lands
Artists have long contributed to the preservation and interpretation of our public lands. Early examples include George Catlin, Albert Beirstadt, and Thomas Moran, whose nineteenth-century paintings inspired pride in America’s wild landscapes and influenced designation of our first parks.

In subsequent generations, artists used song, photograph, poetry and other mediums to celebrate America’s public lands. Their work demonstrates that artistic expression plays a vital role in connecting people to the natural world.

Now it’s your turn.

Recognizing that today’s artists continue to link people to the land, the Forest Service and Park Service are sponsoring Voices of the Wilderness, an artist-in-residence program on the Tongass National Forest, Chugach National Forests and Western Arctic Parklands.

Your job? It’s to be inspired. Experience the wilderness and use your creative energy to bring its voice back to the community.


Susan Watkins, 2012 AIR, Nellie Juan-College Fiord WSA

In the summer of 2014, artists will be invited to participate in our residencies, each varying in length. The purpose is to share with the community artwork that conveys the inspirational and other values of wilderness.

Each artist will be provided the same safety training as other volunteers (includes aviation and boat safety, kayak safety, use of radios and satellite phones, and review of Job Hazard Analyses). The Forest Service and National Park Service will provide transportation to and from the field, camping and kayaking gear, and in most cases, food as well.

As an artist-in-residence, you will experience the wilderness like few others. Traveling alongside a ranger, you might kayak the calm fiords and camp on glacier-carved shores. There will be plenty of time to sit back in your camp chair and absorb the crackling ice bergs and roaring waterfalls. From the water, you might see a bear foraging among intertidal mussels, or seals hauled-out on the ice. On remote beaches, your steps will mingle with the tracks of wolves, bears, birds, maybe even a mink. The wilderness soundscape will embrace you with the screeches of eagles or the songs of whales. Along the way, you’ll get a peek at what it’s like to care for the land by sharing time with a ranger.

As a volunteer, each artist will assist with some basic ranger duties, which may include boarding a tour boat to provide education, participating in research projects, such as seal counts or climate change studies, walking a beach to remove litter, or other generally light duties. However, an emphasis for the artist will be experiencing the wilderness and exploring how to communicate its inspirational qualities through their artwork.

Travel to Alaska is the artist’s responsibility. Participants should plan to arrive in Alaska at least one full day prior to a residency to ensure enough time for safety training. Return travel should be planned for a couple days after a residency, as weather sometimes delays the return from the field.

Participating Wilderness Areas:

Tracy Arm-Ford’s Terror Wilderness

Tracy Arm-Ford's Terror

Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness is located fifty miles south of Juneau. This is a spectacular Wilderness Area with two steep-walled fiords that terminate at three of the most southerly tidewater glaciers in the northern hemisphere. Experience the abundance of life in an old-growth temperate rainforest and then transition to the calving face of a tidewater glacier as it exposes land that hasn’t seen the sky in hundreds of years. Our stewardship projects here are as various as the characteristics of Wilderness.

Each selected artist will accompany a wilderness ranger for up to nine days. Transport to the wilderness will be by floatplane or skiff. During the fieldtrip, the artist and ranger will divide their time between Holkham Bay and Tracy and Endicott Arms. While in Holkham Bay, they will stay in a rustic wall tent. While in the arms, they will travel by sea kayak and camp in a two-person tent. Artists will depart for the field from Juneau. Up to two artists will be selected to participate during the 2012 summer.

Contact Kevin Hood or Solan Jensen at Juneau Ranger District for further questions about Tracy Arm-Fords Terror:

Kevin Hood—(907) 783-6220 or
Solan Jensen--(907) 789-6231 or

Petersburg Ranger District Wilderness Areas: Tebenkof Bay, Kuiu or Petersburg Creek-Duncan Salt Chuck

Work will be in one of the three wilderness areas on the Petersburg Ranger District; Tebenkof Bay, Kuiu, or Petersburg Creek-Duncan Salt Chuck Wilderness. All of these wilderness areas are good examples of the island rainforest environment of the Tongass National Forest. Participating artists will be partnered with a ranger for a five to ten day trip working on projects such as invasive plant eradication, solitude monitoring, or campsite inspections. The crew will live in small tents, travel by small boat or floatplane, and spend days in what can be a cold, wet environment. One artist will be selected to participate during the 2014 summer. The artist will depart for the field from Petersburg.

Contact Brad Hunter or Karisa Garner for further questions about this opportunity:
Brad Hunter--(907) 772-3871 or
Karissa Garner--(907) 772-3871 or

Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area (western Prince William Sound):

Nellie Juan-College Fiord WSA

The Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area is a stunning area located in western Prince William Sound in south central Alaska. Spanning over 2 million acres on the Chugach National Forest, this wild landscape features countless glaciers-the densest concentration of tidewater glaciers in the world, some flowing a dozen miles from ice-capped peaks to terminate in cliffs of ice towering hundreds of feet above the water. The history of glaciation is evident everywhere you look, from newly de-glaciated barren hillsides, to ancient moraines just below the water’s surface. Traveling by sea kayak in these expansive fiords, you’ll look straight up at peaks rising 2,000-9,000 feet right from the water’s edge. Camping alongside the ocean shores you’ll be able to follow the tracks of an animal, check out glacier ice up close, or take a short hike up to the alpine for an expansive glimpse of the fiords. Diverse wildlife is prevalent in the Sound, including black bears, humpback whales, sea otters, Dall’s porpoises, harbor seals and sea lions.

Artists will be partnered with a ranger for seven days, participating in various wilderness stewardship duties, including invasive weed surveys, visitor contacts, solitude monitoring, campsite monitoring, and air quality monitoring (such as collecting lichens). While working alongside a ranger, there will be plenty of time to experience the solitude and wildness of this place.

Up to two artists will be selected to participate during the 2014 summer. Artists will depart for the field from Girdwood, located approx. 40 miles southeast of Anchorage.

Contact Barbara Lydon at the Glacier Ranger District for further questions about Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area: (907) 754-2318 or

Sitka Ranger District Wilderness Areas: South Baranof or West Chichagof-Yakobi

South Baranof

Alexander Baranof, the first governor of Russian America, built his headquarters in nearby Sitka and left his name on this large island (1,600 square miles) with most of the southern extremity of the island (319,568 acres) designated as the South Baranof Wilderness Area. Bounded on the west by the Gulf of Alaska, the scenery is stunningly picturesque with granite glacier-scored mountains, long saltwater fiords and hanging lake valleys. On the east side of the wilderness by Chatham Strait, the saltwater coastline is not as rugged and there is a higher snow accumulation over the whole area with over 200 inches of precipitation per year. Permanent snowfields and active glaciers blanket the high country above 2,000 feet, giving way to dense undergrowth in a coastal forest of spruce and hemlock. The wildlife that inhabits this area includes brown bears, Sitka black-tail deer, mink, marten and river otters, as wells as eagles and shorebirds. Seals, sea lions, whales, and a large population of sea otters are often seen offshore, and crab, shrimp, herring, salmon and halibut are harvested from the sea.

The West Chichagof–Yakobi Wilderness Area occupies the western portions of Chichagof and Yakobi Islands in the extreme northwest portion of the Alexander Archipelago of Southeast Alaska. The wilderness consists of 265,286 acres of wave-pounded open coastline, remote rivers, forests of old-growth western hemlock and Sitka spruce and uplands of alpine, muskeg, and rare karst cliffs. Sitka black-tailed deer are common here along with brown bears and an abundance of smaller furbearing animals including mink and marten. Migratory waterfowl frequent the more protected bays and inlets in remarkable numbers. Marine mammals include sea otters, Stellar sea lions, and harbor seals.

West Chichagof-Yakobi

As an artist-in-residence you will be joining in a unique collaboration between the Sitka Ranger District and the Sitka Conservation Society in monitoring this rarely visited Wilderness Area. Access will be by floatplane or motorboat. Trips will consist of basecamps in remote locations or by roving monitoring from a sea kayak. Artists should be available for at least a two-week period to allow for adequate weather windows given the area’s exposure to the wide-open Pacific Ocean.

Contact Jen MacDonald at Sitka Ranger District for further questions about South Baranof and West Chichagof-Yakobi: (907) 747-4226 or

Western Arctic National Parklands


Western Arctic National Parklands, located in the northwest corner of Alaska, consist of four Park units - Noatak National Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, and Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. Noatak National Preserve protects almost the entirety of the largest untouched river basin in America, that of the Noatak River. All the preserve, except for about 700,000 acres around the village of Noatak, has been designated Wilderness. The Noatak River flows westward 425 miles through the heart of the preserve to Kotzebue Sound, carving the scenic Grand Canyon of the Noatak along its course. From its source to its confluence with the Kelly River, 330 miles have been designated Wild and Scenic, making it the longest river in the Wild and Scenic System. More and more visitors each year come to canoe and kayak on the Noatak, and almost the entire river may be paddled easily. Those who fish catch Arctic char, grayling, whitefish, or salmon. The Western Arctic caribou herd roams, 450,000-plus strong. Backpacking in the foothills, among the bears, wolves, lynx, wolverine, and Dall sheep, has been increasing in popularity, and backcountry travelers must move with care, as this land is fragile. Bird life abounds in the migratory seasons. Camping is unrestricted, but you should avoid the numerous private lands on the lower Noatak River. Campsites are best on river sandbars and high, dry tundra knobs. Hunting and fishing are allowed. The majority of our backcountry patrols utilize canoes for the Noatak and Kobuk Rivers.

The selected artist for this residency will accompany one of our backcountry rangers on an 8-10 day river patrol of the Noatak or Kobuk River. Successful applicant will provide their own transportation to Kotzebue and provide their own food. NPS will provide all field gear and all backcountry flights. Outdoor skills resume required in order to receive consideration.

Contact Chief Ranger / Pilot Dan Stevenson at Western Arctic National Parklands for more information: (907) 442-8306 or

Qualifying artists will include visual artists (e.g. painters, photographers, and sculptors), writers, musicians, and storytellers. Their selection will be based on:
-Statement of Purpose
-Proposal for donated artwork and community extension, and willingness to work with the Forest Service or Park Service to make this program a success
-Artistic merit
-Ability to camp in a remote location and travel by skiff, airplane and sea kayak -Willingness to assist with light ranger duties. (Extensive backcountry/kayaking experience is not necessary for this residency, just capability)

Art Work Donations and Presentation

The goal of the Voices of the Wilderness program is to share the scenic beauty and inspirational values of the Tongass & Chugach National Forests wilderness areas, as well as other wilderness areas throughout Alaska, through the talents and reflections of professional artists.

Each participant is expected to donate one piece of artwork to the hosting federal agency for use in publicizing the values of the public lands. Donated artwork should be representative of our public lands and communicate its inspirational or other values. Artwork should be delivered to the appropriate Ranger District within six months of the residency. Artwork from visual artists should be framed with glass or otherwise prepared for hanging before donation. Electronic copies/digital images of artwork should be provided where appropriate (e.g. photography). The artwork will be shared with the public through exhibition, publication, websites, or other means.

Donated pieces will be displayed at Ranger Districts or visitor centers. This original work resulting from the residency will be donated to the United States Government, which means that the artist signs over publishing and reproduction rights to that work. The artwork will be shared with the public through exhibition, publication, websites, or other appropriate means.

Community Extension

Artists are expected to provide one public presentation within six months of completing their residency, such as a slide lecture, demonstration, or workshop that publicizes the program and connects the community to its public lands. Other examples include a performance, explorative hike, or participation in the public lecture, such as the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center Fireside winter programs. The presentation can be tailored to an individual’s medium, interest and experience, but each artist must provide supplies, equipment and logistics for the presentation. Community extensions do not have to take place in the community of the residency.

How to Apply

Artists must submit application materials and art samples exactly as indicated on the application form. Insufficient materials or incomplete application are causes for rejection, as are an artist’s proposed use of a work already in progress as a residency project.


Entries accepted for the 2014 season:
-Paper applications must be postmarked on or before February 19, 2014. Applications postmarked after the deadline will not be considered.
-Emailed applications must be received no later than 11:59 PM AK time March 1, 2014
A panel of professional artists and Forest Service or Park Service employees will select artists based on artistic merit, the Statement of Purpose, and appropriateness to a wilderness residency.
Selections will be made by mid May.

2014 Voices of the Wilderness application

Name _______________________________________________________________
Address ____________________________________________________________
Phone (______)_________________________
Email _____________________________________________
Artistic Medium _______________________________________________________________ Website / Blog ________________________________________________
Have you applied for a VOTW residency before?__________
Where did you hear about Voices of the Wilderness? ____________________________________________________________
Below, please check the residencies that you are interested in (you can select as many wilderness areas & dates as you wish). Final dates for residency will be discussed when artists are selected in April.

____Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area (western Prince William Sound)
____Sitka Ranger District Wildernesses: South Baranof Wilderness or West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness
____Petersburg Ranger District Wildernesses: Tebenkof Bay, Kuiu, or Petersburg Creek-Duncan Salt Chuck Wilderness
____Tracy Arm-Ford’s Terror Wilderness
____Western Arctic National Parklands

Which wilderness area is your first choice?___________________________________________
Which wilderness area is your second choice?________________________________________
Which wilderness area is your third choice?___________________________________________
You may be selected to participate in any residency that you checked off above-not just your first, second and third preferences.)

Recommendations: List two people who can speak to why you are an exceptional candidate for this residency. Note: No need to include written references.

I agree that I will complete my donated artwork and community extension within six months of completing my residency, and that I am willing to sign over publishing and reproduction rights for my donated artwork to the United States Government.____________________________________________________

Along with the information above,please include answers to numbers 1-5 below, including artwork samples:
1. Statement of Purpose: We are seeking artists interested in promoting and celebrating our federally designated wilderness areas and creating dialogue about the challenges we face in a changing environment. In 500 words or less, please provide thorough answers to the following questions:
-Today’s wilderness managers work on a variety of fronts, educating the public, monitoring visitor trends, addressing invasive weeds, even responding to the global challenges of climate change and ocean acidification. As an artist in residence, you may work on projects connected to any of these issues. Do you see a potential for your artwork and community extension to create dialogue about the issues facing our public lands?
-What do you find distinct or unique about wilderness in Alaska?

2. Project and Extension Description: In 500 words or less, please provide a detailed description of your donated project and community extension:
-Propose a finished art product. Describe how this donation will benefit the Forest Service or Park Service, and the public and how it will contribute to the preservation of wilderness.
-Also propose what your extension would look like. This is to be a presentation in your community (or the community of your choice) where you would share the experiences of your residency, as well as highlight the importance of public lands. You would also discuss how the wilderness and your work with the rangers inspired you as an artist and share your creations, both field work and finished products. It may be a public talk/slideshow, a workshop, an art opening, etc. Collaborative projects and programs that coordinate with local schools and organizations are encouraged. The sky is the limit!

3. A description of your physical condition, including any experience camping/traveling in a remote, harsh environment such as Alaska (less than 300 words).

4. A resume of no more than two pages.

5. Art Samples: six total. Please also include descriptions of artwork to include title, materials and dimensions of work. Samples that are mailed in will not be returned. Please do not send original artwork.
-Visual Artists: (i.e. Photographers, Sculptors, Painters, etc.) 6 color photos.
-Writers: Six pages of written examples (prose, short stories, plays or poetry).
-Musicians/Composers: Musicians and composers should submit lyrics and recordings of their work.
-Multidiscipline Artists: Send appropriate sample combinations based on the above.

-Finished artwork and community extensions must be completed and must be donated within 6 months of completing your residency.

-This original artwork resulting from the residency will be donated to the United States Government, which means that the artist relinquishes publishing and reproduction rights to that work.

To submit application: Applications can be either mailed in or emailed electronically. Submit applications directly to the wilderness manager; addresses listed below. Please note that mailed application materials will not be returned. Emailed applications should be attached as a single document—either Word or PDF format. Artwork samples should be inserted into the document along with page 1 of the application and answers to questions 1-5. Artists may apply to as many areas as they wish; submit an application to each appropriate area.
-Paper applications that are being mailed in must be postmarked by February 19, 2014.
-Emailed applications are due by 11:59 PM AK time March 1, 2014.
Selections will be made in April.

To apply to Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area (western Prince William Sound), mail to:
Glacier Ranger District V.O.T.W. A.I.R.
Attention: Barbara Lydon
145 Forest Station Road PO Box 129 Girdwood, AK 99587
Or email with subject heading “Your name-2014 VOTW application” to: ……………………………………………………………………………………
To apply to the Petersburg Ranger District wilderness areas (Kuiu, Tebenkof Bay, or Petersburg Creek-Duncan Salt Chuck Wilderness), mail to:
Petersburg Ranger District V.O.T.W. A.I.R.
Attention: Brad Hunter
12 North Nordic Drive P.O. Box 1328 Petersburg, Alaska 99833
Or email with subject heading “Your name-2014 VOTW application” to: ………………………………………………………………………………
To apply to the Sitka Ranger District wilderness areas (South Baranof or West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness, mail to:
Sitka Ranger District V.O.T.W. A.I.R.
Attention: Jenn MacDonald
204 Siginaka Way Sitka, Alaska 99835
Or email with subject heading “Your name-2014 VOTW application” to: ……………………………………………………………………………………………
To apply to Tracy Arm-Ford’s Terror Wilderness, mail to:
Juneau Ranger District V.O.T.W. A.I.R.
Attention: Solan Jensen
8510 Mendenhall Loop Road Juneau, Alaska 99801
Or email with subject heading “Your name-2014 VOTW application” to: ………………………………………………………………………………………………
To apply to Western Arctic National Parklands, mail to:
Western Arctic National Parklands V.O.T.W. A.I.R.
Attention: Dan Stevenson
PO Box 1029 Kotzebue, AK 99752
Or email with subject heading “Your name-2014 VOTW application” to:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Meet the 2012 artists

During the summer of 2012, seven different wilderness areas across Alaska hosted artists.  Included were five Wilderness areas on the Tongass National Forest, one Wilderness Study Area on the Chugach National Forest, and our first National Park: Western Arctic National Parklands.

Misty Fiords National Monument
Diana Woodcock (Qatar, writer) was a volunteer artist for ten days in Misty Fiords National Monument on the Tongass National Forest.

While in the field, Diana helped monitor visitor use on three subalpine lakes and trails and assisted with campsite monitoring and developed site maintenance.  She also helped set up sound monitoring equipment.

Petersburg Duncan Salt Chuck Wilderness, Tongass NF
Janet Davis (Brookield,CT photographer) was a volunteer artist for ten days on the  Petersburg Ranger District. 
Janet peeling a log for a bridge stringer in preparation for a foot bridge

During her time in the field, Janet pulled invasive plants at two sites at Petersburg Lake, photo documented the wilderness trail construction project, created a photo log of the 1/2 mile of trail conditions before and after project and assisted wilderness trail crew on a construction project.

Western Arctic National Parkands
MK MacNaugton (Juneau, AK, painter) was a volunteer artist for seven days in the Noatak National Preserve, Western Arctic National Parkands.

MK helped monitor backcountry airstrips for any activity in order to assist the Wildlife Protection Officers.

West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness, Tongass National Forest
Francis Vallejo (Austin, TX graphic artist, painter) spent five days on the Tongass National Forest, Ford Arm, West Chicagof-Yakobi Wilderness Area.

 Francis accompanied a Sitka Ranger District Wilderness Ranger and intern, assisting with important fieldwork that included monitoring twelve campsites that included documenting use of new and existing sites and naturalizing fire rings.  He helped remove an illegal structure (demolition, burning, and site naturalization) and helped maintain encounter data for wilderness character monitoring.  In addition, he helped maintain a bird and mammal species list for District biologist.


Nina Khaschina (Palo Alto, CA – watercolor illustrator) - volunteer artist for five days in Necker Bay, South Baranof Wilderness

Nina assisted with important fieldwork that included monitoring campsites, helping to maintain encounter data for wilderness character monitoring, and helping to monitor Benzeman Lake sockeye run for SRD Subsistence biologist. 

Kaylyn Messer (Seattle, WA – videographer/phtographer) - volunteer artist for five days in Necker Bay, South Baranof Wilderness

Kaylyn accompanied the SRD Wilderness Ranger, SRD support staff and another VOTW artist. As a former sea kayak guide, Kaylyn also provided invaluable technical expertise assisting with paddling and camping training and execution while serving as an important additional safety boat in at times exposed waters. Kaylyn also assisted with important fieldwork that included monitoring campsites, helping to maintain encounter data for wilderness character monitoring, and helping to monitor Benzeman Lake sockeye run for SRD Subsistence biologist. 

Susan Watkins (Eagle River, AK oil painter) was a volunteer artist for seven days on the Chugach National Forest.

Susan visited 3 different campsites known to have invasive weeds and helped pull dandelions at 2 of the locations.  She also helped pick up trash, monitored campsite conditions in Harriman Fiord, participated in visitor contacts, provided education to a group of  Alaska Geographic students who were helping the Forest Service with service projects and looked for lichens for air quality monitoring.

Irene Owsley (Potomac, MD, photographer) was a volunteer artist for nine days in Tracy Arm-Ford's Terror,  Tongass National Forest.

While in the field, Irene boarded two ships with a ranger to provide wilderness education.    She spent a large part of her field trip documenting the work of the rangers to contribute images for their image library. 

Jason Elvrom (Los Angeles, CA, painter) was a volunteer artist for nine days in Tracy Arm-Ford's Terror, Tongass National Forest.

While in the field working with another ranger, Jason maintained an encounters form to monitor "Outstanding Opportunities for Solitude." He also boarded two cruise ships in Tracy Arm to provide wilderness education to passengers, rode along on a cruise ship emissions test in Tracy Arm and cleaned up trash.

To view more artwork inspired by Alaskan residencies....

Check out:

2012 South Baranoff watercolor painter/illustrator Nina Khashchina 

2011 Nellie Juan-College Fiord WSA oil painter Kathy Hodge for photos from her residency:

2012 Western Arctic painter MK MacNaughton 
Art residency page-!projects

2012 Tracy Arm Ford's Terror painter/illustrator Jason Elvrom

2012 Tracy Arm Ford's Terror photographer Irene Owsley 

2011 Tracy Arm-Ford's Terror photographer Julie Denesha

"Guardians of the Tongass" website