Southern Appalachian Celebration – Book & Exhibit

BOOK: Southern Appalachian Celebration 
Ancient Mountains / Old-Growth Forests / Wilderness


Photography: James Valentine
Author: Chris Bolgiano
Forward: William H. Meadows
Introduction: Robert Zahner, Ph.D.

Book published by the University of North Carolina Press – Released: Fall 2011
There are few places on earth that equal the beauty and ecological diversity of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. James Valentine, renowned naturalist photographer has spent over twenty years photographing the natural splendor of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Mr. Valentine has partnered with internationally respected naturalist author Chris Bolgiana who will take the reader on a spectacular journey into the natural history of the mountain landscape.  Through their joint creative endeavors, one will discover the remote and unspoiled scenes of mountain vistas never before witnessed in such display of environmental art photography and accompanying text. The images and text follow in the footsteps of André Michhaux and Aldo Leopold’s classic, best-known essay, “Thinking Like A Mountain.”

Southern Appalachian Celebration:
Old Growth Landscapes & Modern Wilderness

A Tribute To The Most Biodiverse Temperate Woodlands In The World

Working with the foremost ecologists in old growth forests, naturalist photographer James Valentine has documented some of last remaining ancient trees of the Southern Appalachians.  His images go deep into the hundred thousand acres of Old Growth Landscapes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as well as a hundred thousand acres more of remnant old-growth groves in the ten national forests that lie along the highest ridges of the mountains.  Hiking hundreds of miles over mountain trails carrying large format cameras in his backpack, Valentine has produced an extraordinary collection of environmental art photographs.  Mildly Amusing Nature Writer Chris Bolgiano adds captions that educate the eye on the influences and ironies of history on ecology – and how that history shapes our lives today.  Peter Kipp-dupont is a master falconer.  His work with peregrine falcons exemplifies the ancient connection between humanity, falcons and the importance of ecological balance in the Southern Appalachians.

Together, text and photos highlight the most scientifically important yet threatened wilderness areas left in the Southern Appalachians.  This exhibit is timed to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Wilderness Act in September, 2014. The U.S. Forest Service is planning events around the country to commemorate this profoundly far-reaching Act.  Our exhibit works as an integral part of these celebrations by showing and telling the many, mostly unrecognized values of wilderness on these public lands.  Ten million acres of these national forests in eight states — West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama — provide clean drinking water, clean air, carbon sequestration, and many other ecosystem services for tens of millions of people in those states, not to mention a billion-dollar recreational industry.
The traveling exhibit incorporates giant landscape murals representing ancient forests and depicts ecological / geological features through a variety of displays featuring a host of contributing scientists, ecologists, artists and educators.