Teton Village, Wyoming – Local artist Ben Roth has installed “Fallen,” a 20′ high by 60′ long sculpture located just off the Pathway in Teton Village. The sculpture was constructed with multiple branches from one deceased whitebark pine tree found at an elevation of about 9,000 feet at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. A team including Charley Gorskey, an experienced climber and budding arborist and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort trail crew employees cut the massive branches using climbing gear and transported them by truck to the base. Over three days, with the help of, Watsabaugh and the JHMR Trail Crew, Roth installed the sculpture and a viewing bench.
“The bike pathway is such an asset for our guests and locals. We are pleased to see the first major public art installation in Teton Village combine a real educational opportunity with a active experience. Due to the out of sight nature of the Whitebark Pine, it is hard to bring the issue to the public, but “Fallen” will cross this barrier by exposing the issue vividly in the Village.” Stated Jerry Blann, JHMR and TVRD
“Fallen” is a statement about the temporary nature of all living things and allows us to connect with the gentle giant of the forest, the whitebark pine, in a new way. The branches were installed in a cresting wave formation, to depict the dynamic sweeping nature unique to the whitebark pine tree, and invites passing pedestrians to visually ride a wave as they pass the sculpture. Each branch has been carved to expose the inner layers of whitebark pine, revealing a delicate yellow interior, often marked by the beetle infestation many whitebarks are dying from.
Though whitebark live high up in the mountains, enduring fierce winds, cold temperatures, and thin soils, they are the longest living (up to 1,500 years) and most productive pines in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Besides providing cover, storing water, and stabilizing soils, whitebark provide fatty, high protein nuts to birds, bears and squirrels. Whitebark are a ‘keystone’ species: like a keystone in a bridge or arch, everything else in the ecosystem depends on this species of tree.
Unfortunately, a warming climate has made whitebark more susceptible to infestation by mountain pine beetles. These trees probably died between 2003 and 2010, as beetle outbreaks swept across the 22 mountain ranges of greater Yellowstone, destroying a majority of mature whitebark pines.
With the help of the Bridger Teton National Forest and a partnership with TreeFight, (a student and volunteer organization founded in Jackson in 2009 to restore regional whitebark forests), Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is working to protect its remaining whitebark pine with insecticides and pheromones that deter beetles. In addition they planted over 1000 new whitebark pine seedlings on Rendezvous Mountain in 2012. Missions to protect and replant whitebark on Rendezvous Mountain occur throughout the summer. To learn more about how you can get involved log on to: www.treefight.org or www.jacksonhole.com or visit with a staff member in the Guest Service Center at the base of the tram.
Roth’s sculpture is part of the Jackson Hole Public Art program’s Rolling Gallery project, a competitive public art opportunity released to artist and scientist teams. The Rolling Gallery funded three environmental art projects to raise awareness about endangered and at risk species found in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The Rolling gallery received funding from a 2011 grant form 1% for the Tetons, The Wyoming Arts Council and the Charles Engelhard Foundation.
“Fallen” is the second sculpture to be installed this summer as part of the Rolling Gallery. The first installation titled, “Evolution” can be found on the Wilson, Centennial pathway and was created by Nora, Kathleen and Meghan Hanson to depict an evolutionary timeline and includes a hidden ceramic version of the endangered Wyoming Toad. The third and final installation, by artist Sarah Kariko is scheduled for August and will be sited just off the Indian Trails pathway. For information about the Rolling Gallery visit jhpublicart.org.
For additional information Contact:
Ben Roth: http://www.benrothdesign.com/, firstname.lastname@example.org, 307-690-0380
David Gonzales: TreeFight, http://www.treefight.org/, email@example.com, 307-690-4812
Carrie Geraci: http://www.jhpublicart.org/, firstname.lastname@example.org, 307-413-1474
Anna Olson: http://www.jacksonhole.com/, 307-733-2292