What’s Good in Seattle: The Wildlife, June 5, 2014

T.s. Flock
Posted on June 05, 2014, 4:26 pm
6 mins

I just flew back in to Seattle from the east coast and am so glad to be back. I had it in my mind while out there to start a new weekly post just quickly highlighting artists, places, events and charitable causes to love in Seattle, because sometimes we just all need that reminder. This is my inaugural What’s Good in Seattle.

Artist Baso Fibonacci

Writer Lindsey Rae Gjording did a wonderful interview and profile of Baso Fibonacci earlier this year. The young artist has alreadyt become part of Seattle’s cultural landscape with his colorful murals. We have a fetish for the wilderness and animals out here. Antlers, animal prints and trophy heads are practically requisite in bars and hipster dens. The trend itself has seemingly become taxidermied. Baso Fibonacci’s uniquely colorful and meticulous style breathes new life into its subjects, giving them a vibrant shimmer, an energy that is urban but acknowledges the wilderness that constantly seeps across constructed (or imagined) barriers.

It is interesting to see that his latest series of works is of more domesticated subjects, and also a memento mori. Baso Fibonacci will present a series of paintings of flower arrangements in his signature, vibrant style starting tonight at Flatcolor Gallery (77 S Main St, Seattle). The flowers are actually quite consistent with his earlier work when you ponder them, and they  Come out for First Thursday Art Walk, meet the artist and see his latest efforts.

Flower arrangement painted by Baso Fibonacci

Baso Fibonacci presents new work at Flatcolor Gallery in Pioneer Square

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Okay. So it’s not in Seattle (not nearly), but I don’t want to limit myself when one of the best things about Seattle is that so much beautiful nature is never far from us. (That seems to be part of Baso Fibonacci’s inspiration and why all those trophy heads in bars don’t look too out of place.) But if you want to see the animals actually alive (I know I prefer them that way) and the zoo is a little too enclosed, the Northwest Trek Wildlife park in Eatonville is a beautiful day trip. The organization is devoted conservation and promoting awareness of the local ecology, including the wildlife and the impact of habitat loss and pollution caused by humans. It isn’t a guilt trip, though. Beauty and beasts abound.

The Northwest Trek Wildlife Park offers monthly photo tours throughout the year, and the next is this Saturday, June 7, from 8 AM to 10:30 PM. That means a very early drive from the city, but it gets light awfully early these days, so you may as well plan ahead, get up with the sun, and make the most of your weekend. Reservations are required for the tram led photo tour and only 13 guests (ages 18 and up) are allowed on each outing. $55 for members of the park ($60 for Non-Members) includes admission to park on day of event, tram tour, and $5 food voucher to use that day in cafe.

Big Life Wildlife Foundation

Though based in Seattle, the Big Life Foundation does its work in the Amboselli Ecosystem in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. The work of the foundation deserves a feature of its own (I’ll get to it), but it is a fitting addition to this trifecta of What’s Good in Seattle. The wildlife of the Amboselli Ecosystem (most particularly elephants) are under constant assault by poachers, and numbers are declining rapidly. In other parts of Africa, they will likely be completely wiped out within a decade or two.

I learned this and many more sobering facts when founder Nick Brandt visited and lectured at Town Hall recently. Brandt is a successful and popular wildlife photographer.  His series of images of calcified birds at Lake Natron in Tanzania were shared across the Web earlier this year, but Brandt has been at it for years, focusing on the Amboselli ecosystem and the animals that lived there. Many individuals continue to be slaughtered for their ivory, but the tide is slowly turning thanks to Brandt’s foundation, the work of the legendary conservationist Richard Bonham (Director of Operations for Big Life in Africa), and a growing crew of rangers (many who were former poachers) all supported by the Foundation. (Worth noting: Brandt doesn’t collect a cent from Big Life. Rather, he is a major donor to it, in a sense returning what he earns from the wild to it.)

Big Life works to prevent poaching and educate locals about how to live more harmoniously with the wildlife as human settlements continue to destroy habitat, causing inevitable altercations. Big Life is very open with its financial reporting (an important thing to examine when dealing with international charities) and the online donor form even gives examples of what different levels of giving will provide for the anti-poaching team. If you love wildlife local and abroad, consider supporting Big Life this year.

 

T.s. Flock
T.s. Flock is a writer and arts critic based in Seattle and co-founder of Vanguard Seattle.