June 7 – Frank Ruggles
Frank Ruggles has a very unique and unusual resume’. He served in the legendary 82nd Airborne, played in a few rock bands, worked for the State Department and Smithsonian. He was also a bouncer and shipwreck diver. Ruggles then changed gears by following in the footsteps of his hero, photographer Ansel Adams. Selected in 2007 to serve as an Eminent Photographer for the National Park Service, Ruggles’ new assignment took him on an epic 25,000-mile journey through all 50 states. Combining his artistic eye and Paratrooper skills, he has captured a unique and poetic look at America with the ultimate goal of creating a body of work that might inspire others to join his efforts to protect National Parks. His exhibit, “Chasing Light” has images selected from a decade of Ruggles’ personal photographic works, most shot in the “magic hour” -- twilight.
June 14 – Ben Bellorado
Painted Walls and Tree-ring Dates south of the Bears Ears: Results of Five Years of Research of the Cedar Mesa Building Murals Inventory, Documentation, and Dating Project
This presentation presents the results of the Cedar Mesa Building Murals Inventory, Documentation, and Dating Project, a five-year study (2013-2017) of decorated buildings at ancestral Pueblo cliff dwellings in southeastern Utah that were occupied in the Pueblo III period (A.D. 1150-1300). The project was focused on documenting the distribution and variability of building murals in the area and to date, the contexts in which these rare features occur using dendrochronological (tree-ring dating) techniques. The project conducted base-line documentation of cliff dwellings before they are further impacted by increased visitation, vandalism and looting. The results of the project indicate that murals were used to express important aspects of social identities related to community, political and religious identities on local scales in the early A.D. 1200s, but that changes in mural styles after A.D. 1240 reflect broader changes in the political and ritual systems of the larger region.
The project was conducted through a partnership with federal archaeologists at the Monticello Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management, and the University of Arizona School of Anthropology and the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Dating. The project was funded by the Canyonlands Natural History Association from 2014 to 2016.
June 21 – John Foster--A Different World: Southeast Utah During the Late Triassic and the Oldest Dinosaur in Utah
Southeast Utah was, not surprisingly, a very different place 201-205 million years ago during the Late Triassic epoch. His lecture will talk about the strange animals and plants that lived in this area during that time, when dinosaurs were new on the scene but had not yet taken over the world. Their non-dinosaurian reptilian contemporaries were in some ways stranger to people than the dinosaurs. Evidence of these animals and the plants of the time is preserved near Moab. Foster will also discuss the chance discovery of what turned out to be the oldest dinosaur yet found in Utah, just north of town.
Founding Fathers: The
Creation of Canyonlands National Park
In this presentation, the vision of Charlie Steen, Bates Wilson and Steward Udall paved the way for the creation of Canyonlands National Park. Steen represents the Atomic Energy Commission who provided access to the White Rim sandstone via the White Rim Road. Wilson represents the vision of having a national park that would protect the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers. Wilson wanted to protect a million acres of wild canyon country and generate a sustainable economy via tourism. Udall provided the political support needed in order to push the idea of a national park through Congress. In this presentation, park ranger Robert Anderson discusses each of these men and their visions for Canyonlands National Park.