Rocky Mountain Cloudscapes

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William Jacob Hays, The Gathering of the Herds, 1866. American Museum of Western Art – The Anschutz Collection

Colorado has one of the most dramatic skies in the country. Summers see towering thunderheads thanks to the mountains and winter winds can whip clouds into flying saucers. 

That atmospheric grandeur is why the Cloud Atlas Project wants more of us to turn our eyes skyward, snap photos and then share those images on social media. Instead of an Instagram of your latest farm-to-table meal, why not a cloud?” — Sadie Babits, Colorado Public Radio

What a thrill! Colorado Public Radio featured the Land Library’s Cloud Atlas Project today. Here’s a link to the interview and accompanying article!

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Ben Sherrill, Eileen Roscina Richardson, & Denver’s reflected cloudscape

Reporter Sadie Babits interviewed the Land Library’s Cloud Atlas team, Ben Sherrill and Eileen Roscina Richardson on the lure of clouds, and why it’s so important to simply look up. Also featured in the interview is Colleen Sullivan, the program and marketing coordinator for the American Museum of Western Art – The Anschutz Collection.

The Rocky Mountain land Library is thrilled to be partnering with AMWA on two museum tours that Colleen will be leading: Cloudscape: Tracing the Evolution of Clouds in Art. Both walks have quickly sold out, but stay tuned for more Cloud Atlas outreach and programs!

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Maynard Dixon, Desert Journey, 1935. American Museum of Western Art – The Anschutz Collection

More on The Cloud Atlas Project

The Rocky Mountain Land Library has long felt that nature is always near, whether we are at South Park’s Buffalo Peaks Ranch, or in downtown Denver. Nature, and in particular clouds, enrich our days no matter where we are.

The Cloud Atlas Project’s goal is to cultivate community appreciation for clouds in the city and the country, to foster conversations about clouds and encourage simple awe at the sky above. We will also be advancing related programming in partnership with local neighborhood groups, art institutions, public schools, and local governments.

For more information, be sure to visit our project website, CloudAtlasProject.org!

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Announcing the Front Range Book Club!

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Sorry — the Front Range Book Club has sold out. Stay tuned for it’s next series of great books!
The Rocky Mountain Land Library is excited to offer a new type of book club — a short-term club that will discuss 3-4 books on a particular topic (bees & beekeeping, nature-in-the-city, Native American literature??). We’re naming it our Front Range Book Club, because we’ll be especially focused on life where the mountains meet the plains.
Each incarnation of the Book Club will also feature an experiential component: perhaps a field trip/hike, or maybe a volunteer work day in support of a local nonprofit’s work in service to land and community.
For our first Front Range Book Club our focus will be on people & place. We’ll explore the importance of public lands through the works of Terry Tempest Williams, Lauret Savoy, and Robert Michael Pyle.
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The Hour of Land : A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks by Terry Tempest Williams
Sunday, February 25th, 1 pm to 3 pm
“In her new book, place and voice meet as never before …. Each page contains a surprise, a lesson, a story. The book is a testament to Terry Tempest Williams’s canonical place in American environmental literature, alongside Henry David Thoreau, Wallace Stegner, Edward Abbey, and Annie Dillard.” — Los Angeles Review of Books
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Trace: Memory, History, Race, and The American Landscape by Lauret Savoy
Sunday, March 25th, 1 pm – 3 pm
“How does one find a home among ruins and shards?  That might be the question that leads Lauret Savoy to follow traces of life’s past in landscapes, rivers, fossils and graveyards as she works to undo the silences of our nation’s wounded history.  As an Earth historian, she reads the land with an informed eye. As a woman of mixed heritage, she reads into the land the lives of enslaved laborers and displaced tribes.  This is a work of conscience and moral conviction.  Reading it I understood how the land holds the memory of our history and how necessary it is to listen to its many voices.”
– Alison Hawthorne Deming, author of Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit
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The Thunder Tree: Lessons from an Urban Wildland by Robert Michael Pyle
Sunday, April 29th, 1 pm – 3 pm
An engrossing memoir and eloquent portrait of place, The Thunder Tree shows how powerful the relationship between people and the natural world can be.
“When people connect with nature, it happens somewhere,” Pyle writes. “My own point of intimate contact with the land was a ditch… Without a doubt, most of the elements of my life flowed from that canal.”
Denver’s High Line Canal became the author’s place of sanctuary and play, and his birthplace as a naturalist.
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What can our Bookish Volunteer Team Accomplish on Earth Day 2018?
Sunday, April 22nd
As a group, the Front Range Book Club will decide how we can give back on Earth Day. Over the next few weeks we’ll be discussing the importance of place in people’s lives. No doubt those books, and our conversations, will lead us to good service this coming Earth Day. Maybe pitch in on a public lands project nearby? Stay tuned!
Book Club Fee — $30, with proceeds going to our Public Lands Library at Buffalo Peaks Ranch, one of the Rocky Mountain Land Library’s special collections.
 To obtain copies of the Book Club’s books, contact your local bookstore or library.
Where? For our book club discussions on February 25th, March 25th, and April 29th, we will be meeting at Lighthouse Writers, 1515 Race Street, Denver, CO.
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To Register for the Front Range Book Club
Simply email jeff@landlibrary.org
With limited space in the Book Club, be sure to register early!

From National Parks to Community Gardens: Public Lands Across the Globe

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The Rocky Mountain Land Library has amassed thousands of books on Public Lands, from city parks to wildlife refuges, all across the globe. Among our most recent additions is Edge of Morning: Native Voices Speak for the Bears Ears, an important & very timely collection of essays on Southern Utah’s National Monument, which is also a sacred site for many tribes.

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All of these books tell an inspiring story of setting land aside for the sake of nature itself, and for the benefit of untold generations.

Stories of the hard work that went into their faithful formation offers solace in difficult times.

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Preserving land has never been an easy task, and it always gives us a boost when we come across the writings of a pioneer conservationist such as Sigurd Olson. Olson helped establish the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, along with several National Parks during his years with The Wilderness Society.

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Fortunately, National Parks & preserves is not just an American idea. We have lots of lessons to learn from across the globe.

We’re not exactly sure where this special collection will be house at Buffalo Peaks Ranch, the site of the Land Library’s emerging residential home. But we can’t wait to begin shelving books that we all need right now — today.

For more on the Rocky Mountain Land Library at Buffalo Peaks Ranch, here’s a 7-minute video on where the Public Lands collection will be!

Parlez vous francais?

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Well, if you don’t speak French, no worries — read on! Recently, a Land Library friend donated one of the most remarkable books on bees and beekeeping that we have ever seen. Eric Tourneret’s Le Peuple des Abeilles will always have an honored place on the Land Library’s shelves.

The text may be in French, but Tourneret’s photographs speak volumes. Many of the photos give such an upclose view of the bee’s world that you’d swear Tourneret strapped cameras to the backs of worker bees:

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A steady stream of incoming bees, with pollen baskets full.

In some ways our personal inability to read the text liberated us to focus on the incredible patterns of another world:

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Eric Tourneret also turns his lens on an equally fascinating creature: the beekeeper:

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Le Peuple des Abeilles tells the tale of beekeepers employing both modern and traditional techniques. There are wonderful photo-essays on the capture of wild swarms, and the never-say-die efforts of urban beekeepers — including a few atop the Paris Opera House!

Eric Tourneret has seen a hidden world through his lens:

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If you don’t speak French, or if you someday hope to speak Bee, you’ll really enjoy this short clip:

We hope a publisher issues an English translation of Le Peuple des Abeilles — but then again, we have loved the visual odyssey we’ve been on, unaccompanied by words!
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Mean Poets & Calm Cattle

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If you got to talking to most cowboys, they’d admit they write ’em. I think some of the meanest, toughest sons of bitches around write poetry.” — Ross Knox

In 1908, a local rancher walked into the Estancia, New Mexico newspaper office, and inquired about printing a small book of cowboy songs he had been working on. For almost twenty years, Jack Thorp gathered cowboy ballads and poems from across the west. The finished volume was printed for just six cents a copy, and was the first book exclusively devoted to cowboy songs. Not only that, but Thorp is recognized as the first person to preserve the ballads sung by ranchers to calm cattle on the range.

A special corner of the Marie Guiraud Ranching Library at Buffalo Peaks Ranch will be devoted to cowboy poetry, and will include many sound recordings as well:

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Cowboy Poetry Classics (a CD of a Smithsonian Folkways recording)

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Cowboy Songs, Ballads, and Cattle Calls from Texas, a Library of Congress CD, featuring field recordings made by John A. Lomax. We also have several books by Lomax, including:

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And it’s not just cowboys who write poetry:

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Graining the Mare: The Poetry of Ranch Women, edited by Teresa Jordan

The Marie Guiraud Ranching Library at Buffalo Peaks Ranch:

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In the ranch’s Main House, right through the green screen door to the right, we’ll be setting up a special library — celebrating ranching history & traditions, from the early days to the present, with books on ranching in the American West, and across the globe.

This constantly-growing library is named after Marie Guiraud, who along with her husband Adolph, first established this homestead ranch, back in 1862 along the Middle Fork of Colorado’s South Platte River.

The Cloud Atlas Project: Celebrating Nature Nearby

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Maynard Dixon, Desert Journey, 1935

Cloudscape : Tracing the Evolution of Clouds in Art

Friday, February 23rd, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

The Rocky Mountain Land Library is thrilled to be partnering with the American Museum of Western Art – The Anschutz Collection for one of the first eye-opening programs inspired by the RMLL’s ongoing Cloud Atlas Project.

Join the AMWA staff on a Museum walking tour that will explore the cloudscapes of Western American painting. We will discuss the historical importance of clouds in paintings, along with how the use of clouds contributes to our reaction or interpretation of art.

The walking tour will begin at 3:00 pm and last approximately an hour and a half. The tour is limited to 25 visitors, and advance reservations are recommended as programs often sell out. Tickets are not refundable for sold-out events.

For Tickets and more information about AMWA, click here!

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The Cloud Atlas Project

The Rocky Mountain Land Library has long felt that nature is always near, whether we are at South Park’s Buffalo Peaks Ranch, or in downtown Denver. Nature, and in particular clouds, enrich our days no matter where we are.

The Cloud Atlas Project’s goal is to cultivate community appreciation for clouds in the city and the country, to foster conversations about clouds and encourage simple awe at the sky above. We will also be advancing related programming in partnership with local neighborhood groups, art institutions, public schools, and local governments.

For more information, be sure to visit our project website, CloudAtlasProject.org!

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Myron Wood, Sheep, Storm – South Park, Colorado, 1967

 

What Moves the Land Library Forward?

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Whenever we pick up a new Land Library book we always turn to its bibliography, knowing from experience that one good book often leads to another. Next, we check the book’s Acknowledgement page. We love dwelling on the network of friends, family and colleagues that nurtures any good work.
Now it’s Rocky Mountain Land Library’s turn to gratefully acknowledge the community of supporters and volunteers that keep moving the Land Library forward. It’s impossible to name everyone, but each has inspired us to keep to the vision of creating a special place where people can slow down, reflect, get energized, and in general reconnect to nature and the land — our common heritage.
The Rocky Mountain Land Library exists thanks to our all-volunteer staff, our supporters, program partners and our social media friends across the globe. Then there’s the amazing lifelong learners who attend Land Library classes and workshops, and the virtual army of hardy souls who show up for workdays, often in less than ideal weather.
Everyone on our endless acknowledgement page shares these qualities in common: resilience, creativity, hopefulness, and a love for community and the land. Plus this: we learn something from each other every day!

Over the past few weeks we’ve talked about future projects at the ranch, especially the establishment of special libraries focused on topics such as Rivers & WaterNative American historyranching, and Public Lands across the globe. We have gathered these books for over 30 years, and we are so excited to make a home for them in the rich learning landscapes of South Park.

The funds we raise this month will continue the steady progress we’ve been making at Buffalo Peaks Ranch over the past three years, gradually transforming a historic Colorado ranch into a residential library/learning center dedicated to land and community.

We have the books, the shelves, ongoing programs, and a long-term lease on the ranch. With your help we can accomplish so much more in 2018!

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With $20,000 we will unleash the Land Library’s amazing volunteer team, giving them the tools, supplies (bricks & mortar, lumber & nails), and support they need to take on a myriad of projects, including building platform tents and Leopold Benches, and much more.

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Feel free to click on our PayPal donation button at the top right of our home page, or it you prefer to write a check, our best address is: Rocky Mountain Land Library, 2550 W. 39th Avenue, Denver, CO 80211.

THANKS so much!

This short video will show you why we are so excited about the ranch — enjoy!

“The stories of people and the land couldn’t be told in a better place than this high mountain ranch, threaded by trout streams and elk trails, with traces of native tribes and early settlers still visible on the land.” — Jeff Lee, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Land Library