Bear River Refuge Visit

Harrison, Nicole and I are back from a beautiful time in Utah. Songscape: Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge kicked off on October 14th and we picked up Conner Youngblood, our videographer, Tazer Landow from Holler Films, and Southwest Airlines author, Michael Graff, that morning. The hour drive north from Salt Lake City brought us to the charming town of Brigham. There's an old sign above main street that proudly brags about the refuge, just 10 minutes west.

Youngblood in front of the "Gateway to the World's Greatest Wild Bird Refuge"

Youngblood in front of the "Gateway to the World's Greatest Wild Bird Refuge"

After stocking up on the week's groceries and candy for Youngblood, we headed over to the Visitor's Center at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge (MBR). We were warmly welcomed by refuge staff (Bob Barrett, Kathi Stopher and intern Nina!) and got acquainted with the refuge's layout and the work they're doing to create top notch habitat for migrating birds and waterfowl.

Bear River MBR Visitor Center.

Bear River MBR Visitor Center.

IMG_20171014_192945124.jpg

We were super fortunate to have Kathi and Bob set up a great Welcome Party kick off- there were over 40 attendees from the surrounding community. Volunteers, kids, staff, UT Public Radio and even the local tourism board. Bob even made venison chili with the mule deer he harvested that week. Conner topped off the night with a great acoustic set and everyone is excited to hear what he comes up with for this Songscape. Kathi told us, "Our volunteers loved it," and "felt honored to have this special opportunity here."

On the second day we got up early and headed out for a tour of the giant refuge, to see some of the many feathered residents. We saw golden eagles, harriers, giant white pelicans eating fish, western grebes.... a whole lot. I think the species count nearly reached 30! The refuge manages the marsh water levels to provide habitats tailored to a variety of birds- shallow waters for shorebirds to forage in, deeper waters for diving ducks and fish-eaters, open waters and marshes thick with reeds. Ryan Moehring, Public Affairs Specialist for the USFWS- Mountain Prairie Region, got some great wildlife and project shots and further explained to us the role that National Wildlife Refuges have in protecting habitats for wildlife.

Everyone doing their jobs: Tazer getting music video footage, Ryan documenting, Conner enjoying the birds, and Rhesa Ledbetter recording audio for Utah Public Radio.

Everyone doing their jobs: Tazer getting music video footage, Ryan documenting, Conner enjoying the birds, and Rhesa Ledbetter recording audio for Utah Public Radio.

After a bird-filled morning, we went to the bunkhouses for a feast on the Welcome Party potluck leftovers. We're very fortunate to have two outlets covering the Songscape story, so Harrison and I did a short interview with Rhesa Ledbetter from UT Public Radio and then with Michael Graff, who's writing the feature story for Southwest: The Magazine. Our board secretary, Nicole Reese, collected some footage to put together a behind-the-scenes Songscapes video, and I learned that Harrison and I are very bad a film interviews.

We had a great time the two days we spent at Bear River MBR and from what I've heard post-retreat, Youngblood had "some of the best days he's had all year." We can't wait to hear the music he's created from the refuge inspiration! The full story and song will be out January 1, 2018.

IMG_20171015_122336489.jpg

Great Salt Lake Audubon Awards Sustain a Grant!

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 10.58.06 AM.png

We're incredibly grateful to have received Great Salt Lake Audubon's major grant to support Songscape: Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. The GSLA is Utah's oldest conservation organization, founded in 1912! They're a volunteer organization dedicated to protecting and enhancing habitat for wild birds, animals and plants, and to maintaining healthy and diverse environments for wildlife and people throughout Utah.

Not only do they support our Songscape efforts to promote public lands, they work to educate Great Salt Lake communities about local birds and natural history, lead field trips, and do habitat restoration work.

Learn more about the Great Salt Lake Audbon here: http://www.greatsaltlakeaudubon.org/

Songscape: Great Mountain Forest OUT TODAY!

Artwork by Greg Dyson.

Artwork by Greg Dyson.

We're happy to announce the release of our third Songscape project! Last summer we partnered gritty singer-songwriter, Jake Klar, with sustainable forestry center, Great Mountain Forest. Klar spent a few nights in the deep woods of northwest Connecticut, immersed in a landscape that's been practicing sustainable forestry since 1909! Take a look at the music video for Klar's Songscape Song, "Tallyman" and you won't believe it's Connecticut.

"Tallyman" is a beautiful song that speaks to the passage of generations in lockstep with the forest. Heavily rooted in the history of forestry and iron industry in Connecticut, his voice beautifully highlights Great Mountain Forest and its legacy.

As with all of our Songscapes, Great Mountain Forest is public land- owned by a nonprofit, but accessible to all for hiking, cross country skiing, birding and more. Plus, they make the most delicious maple syrup!

If you want to help ensure that Sustain can keep promoting conservation and public lands, that Great Mountain Forest can continue educating kids and practicing sustainable forestry, and that Klar can keep making music, PLEASE do purchase the song at: https://jakeklar.bandcamp.com/track/tallyman

Proceeds will support all of us!

Learn more about the project HERE.

New Green Roster Band: Single Girl Married Girl

Newest Green Roster Band- Single Girl Married Girl! Happy to celebrate Earth Day with a new band dedicated to sustainability! SGMG is based in NYC, and their Americana/folk/pop music shows off incredible vocals, playing, and lyrics.

Their new album, Spark, comes out May 19th, and will be packaged in sustainable materials! You can learn more about SGMG's green goals on their Green Roster band page, HERE.

To listen to Single Girl Married Girl, visit their website. Be sure to follow them on socials!

@sgmgtheband on Twitter and Instagram

Facebook: facebook.com/SinglegirlMarriedgirl/

Studio Day at Dirt Floor with Jake Klar

On November 7th, Jake Klar recorded his Songscape: Great Mountain Forest song at Dirt Floor in Haddam, CT. Both Klar and Dirt Floor are Green Roster members, dedicated to upholding environmental practices in their businesses. 

Left to Right: Eric Lichter, Max Wareham, Jake Klar.

Left to Right: Eric Lichter, Max Wareham, Jake Klar.

Klar brought along Amherst-area musician and friend, Max Wareham, to play another layer of guitar. Eric Lichter, founder of Dirt Floor, had a cozy set up for them in the log cabin studio overlooking the Connecticut River. He even had a fire going, which you can hear crackling along to some of the tracks. It's an appropriate addition to Klar's song, which is inspired by Great Mountain Forest's history as a working forest. Great Mountain Forest provided timber-turned-charcoal to the iron industry of northwest Connecticut, which fueled the spread of railroad infrastructure in the 1800's. At a later date, Harrison Goodale, will likely be adding saw to the song, in keeping with Great Mountain Forests' heritage of sustainable forestry.

As always, it is a pleasure working with Dirt Floor. Eric Lichter is one of Sustain's strongest supporters and we could not bring you Songscapes without him. He donated this recording session to Sustain, which is incredibly generous. Thank you Dirt Floor!

See our short Facebook Live session at Dirt Floor (and a sneak peak at the song!):

Recording Songscape: Great Mountain Forest

On Monday (Nov. 7), Jake Klar will be recording the song he wrote while staying at Great Mountain Forest as part of this summer's Songscape program. We've heard the rough cut and it's wonderful! Really brings in the working forest history of the landscape.

The song will be recorded at Dirt Floor, one of our Green Roster member studios. Eric Lichter has donated a free day of recording for this project and we couldn't be more grateful for his support.