The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (KNWR) celebration of 75 years of conservation kicked off October 8th with the opening reception of the 75th Anniversary Photography Show at the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center. The show that will be on display through November 20th features the work of Mary Frische and Tom Collopy. The actual anniversary party will come in December, according to Leah Eskelin, KNWR Park Ranger, “The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is celebrating its 75th Anniversary on December 16th this year. To kick off a winter of celebration on October 8th, Refuge staff, volunteers, visitors and community members enjoyed an opening reception of a multi-media photography and artifact show hosted at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center. At the standing room only opening, guests enjoyed a trip through the decades, and through the diverse landscapes of the Kenai Refuge. Images collected through a four-year project with Tom Collopy and Mary Frische of Wild North Photography highlight the ice field, forests, alpine, rivers and wetlands of the Refuge. Adding to the show are a collection of artifacts from the early days of the Refuge, then Moose Range, including the original road sign. A special one-act play about conservation forefather Aldo Leopold entitled ‘A Standard of Change’ by Jim Pfitzer completed the opening reception and delighted those attending,” said Eskelin. Professional photographers Mary Frische and Tom Collopy have been specializing in Alaskan nature photography since 1996. They have created large exhibits for galleries and museums to celebrate public lands for many years.
The art and artifacts will remain on display at the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center through November 20th and is open to the public. Later, a selection of the photographs will be permanently installed at the Refuge’s new Visitor Center on Ski Hill Road in Soldotna and dedicated at the Anniversary Party on Friday, December 16th. The free party will feature special activities, games, presentations door prizes and cake for all ages. Call 907-260-2820 for more details.