Buffalo Peaks Ranch

THE CLOUD ATLAS PROJECT: Celebrating Nature Nearby


Cloud atlas: a pictorial key to the nomenclature of clouds. The first atlas, Hildebrandsson’s Cloud Atlas, was published in 1890.

Often overlooked, the daily procession of clouds gives us an ever-changing glimpse of the natural world. Clouds inspire artists, writers, naturalists—and especially children, who easily conjure up dinosaurs, or towering white cities in the shifting shapes above.

Here’s some of what the Cloud Atlas Project will achieve:

— We will celebrate the natural and built environment of Denver neighborhoods by celebrating the diverse skyscape above.

— We will do the same at South Park’s Buffalo Peaks Ranch.

— This project will seek creative contributions from artists, writers, scientists, naturalists, and school kids of all ages.

— We will provide public programming and classroom activities focused on the art and science of clouds.

— We will work with local arts groups to organize a gallery show.

— We will publish a book, focused on the art, photography, writing, and community involvement inspired by the Cloud Atlas project.

— And, we will create a lasting footprint for the project by designing and building Cloud Spotter Stations: simple well-designed kiosk/stations that artfully display common cloud types, and other helpful tips and information. Cloud Spotters can take smart phone photos of clouds, and send them to the Project’s website.

Possible station locations: parks, schools, cultural facilities. Plus: work with RTD to enliven a few bus or light rail stops with their very own Cloud Spotter Stations. Imagine idly waiting passengers, suddenly connecting to nature, and contemplating a richer world all around them!

The Cloud Atlas Project is inspired by the words of Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society: “We think that clouds are Nature’s poetry, and the most egalitarian of her displays, since everyone can have a fantastic view of them.

For much more on the Cloud Atlas Project, be sure to visit:


Buffalo Peaks Ranch photo by Ben Sherrill