Songscape:Seedskadee NWR

Songscape Featured by National Geographic Explorers

Thanks to our amazing videographer, Corey Robinson, National Geographic Explorers featured live footage from Songscape: Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge on their Facebook page. Learn more about the refuge, Corey, the band, and their explorations in the video below. Thank you also to Tom Koerner for being cameraman.

Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge

Photos by Tom Koerner.

Photos by Tom Koerner.

Sustain's next Songscape has River Whyless headed to Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), a gem among America's 500+ refuges devoted to conserving wildlife and their habitats. Seedskadee NWR is twice the size of Manhattan and is located in the southwest corner of Wyoming. It is used by over 250 species of wildlife, which depend on the high desert sagebrush plains, and the oasis of the Green River which runs through the heart of the refuge. One of the star residents of the refuge is the Greater Sage-Grouse, a chicken-like bird dependent on sage and wide open spaces for survival. This unique bird, with the funniest mating dance you've ever seen, has been declining as the sagebrush landscape grows scarce due to development, oil and gas industry, and invasive species encroachment. That's why it's important we highlight the work Seedskadee NWR does to protect sagebrush habitat, and the wildlife that depend on it."

Learn more, and see beautiful photos at their website.

Songscape Updates

It's been a busy few weeks for Sustain! We have two Songscapes going this month. Songscape: Great Mountain Forest with Jake Klar just wrapped up and Songscape: Seedskadee NWR with River Whyless starts on July 30.

Songscape: Great Mountain Forest

Klar just finished his residency at Great Mountain Forest. The week kicked off with a potluck at the Great Mountain Forest farmhouse, alongside GMF's board members, staff, interns, friends and family. After a delicious dinner outside with the crickets and pines, we watched Green Fire, a documentary about Aldo Leopold, the father of conservation and the Land Ethic. To top off the night we had maple syrup sundaes, made with GMF's own syrup made on site. Forest products for the win.

Jake has completed his song, filmed a music video, and now we're in the process of arranging recording and video editing. We'll let you know the release dates soon.

Songscape: Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge

We are tired of making you tired with the requests for donations for Songscape: Seedskadee NWR! We're sorry. However, we still need funding! Luckily we had a great grant come in from Clif GreenNotes (of Clif bar) but we're still a few thousand short of being able to have Corey Robinson, National Geographic videographer, do the music video. Please consider donating here:

With that necessity out of the way, we're excited for the kick off Welcome Campfire on July 30. We have the great pleasure of receiving a beer donation from Storm Peak Brewing, a craft brewery out of Steamboat Springs. Awesome outdoor gear company, Stio, has also donated gear to River Whyless to help outfit them on their float trip on the Green River through the refuge. 

Crowdfunding for Songscape: Seedskadee NWR!

Hey folks! We have a great opportunity to work with National Geographic videographer, Corey Robinson, for Songscape: Seedskadee NWR. If we can raise the money, he'll be filming the music video of River Whyless at the wildlife refuge! This would be a great opportunity to raise Sustain's visibility and impact, show off the sage-steppe ecosystem and promote Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge and all their important conservation work.

Songscape: Seedskadee NWR Crowdfunding Campaign

We REALLY need your help, and we've come up with some great perks to say thank you for donating to Sustain. Particularly exciting is if you donate $500, Simon Roosevelt (Teddy Roosevelt's great-great-grandson, and conservationist in his own right) will personally inscribe a book of T.R. quotes to you. Even donating $25 gets you pre-access to the song!

Please support our efforts to make music a force for nature and consider donating towards Songscape: Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge!!


Announcing Songscape: Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge with River Whyless

Today, 113 years ago, Theodore Roosevelt established the first National Wildlife Refuge at Pelican Island. Back in 1903, pelicans, herons, egrets and other birds were in danger of extinction as market hunters killed them in great numbers to supply the feather industry for women's fashionable hats. T.R. created Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge to protect these birds, and it was the first time the federal government had set aside land specifically for wildlife.

Today there are over 560 National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs), all working to protect the biological integrity and environmental health of wildlife, fish, and plants of the habitats they encompass. NWRs protect over 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 species of reptiles and amphibians, and over 1,000 species of fish. While National Wildlife Refuges are less well known than the National Parks and National Forests, they have a key role in protecting our biological diversity and natural resources.

Sustain is honored to announce that we have partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to host a Songscape at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming. Sustain is also honored to announce that River Whyless, an innovative folk band from Asheville, N.C., will be participating in this Songscape.

River Whyless is a great match for the Songscape program. Sustain's co-founder, Betsy Mortensen, was drawn to their music because of the detailed and intimate way their songs cover the natural world. As a wildlife biologist, she appreciated the way the band spoke about nature in a way that was beyond cliché or false romanticism. Not only are they great at writing lyrics, their music is superb, and well received by the likes of NPR and Paste Magazine. Their latest release, River Whyless, came out last summer. "River Whyless puts a hauntingly sweet spin on traditional foundations. Their newest EP is full of lush harmonies, wide sweeping arrangements that are driven by dark percussion, putting them in a category similar to contemporaries Fleet Foxes and Stornaway." Sustain is very excited to work with River Whyless and to see how Seedskadee NWR inspires their Songscape songwriting.

Sage Grouse- Photo by Tom Koerner.

Sage Grouse- Photo by Tom Koerner.

Seedskadee NWR certainly has plenty to offer for inspiration. It's located in the remote southwest corner of Wyoming, with the Green River running through its heart. It's a great example of the sagebrush steppe ecosystem, which has been under duress elsewhere due to natural gas development and poor grazing practices. One of the key species at the NWR, the Greater Sage Grouse, just narrowly missed being listed as an Endangered Species last autumn. If you're lucky, you can still see the chicken-like big bird at Seedskadee. In fact, Seedskadee takes its name from the Shoshone word sisk-a-dee-agie, which means River of the Prairie Hen. Besides Sage Grouse, Seedskadee is full of Trumpeter Swans, Sandhill Cranes, and owls and ducks of all sorts. Moose, Pronghorn Antelope, Bobcats, and even River Otters can be found at Seedskadee too. Tom Koerner, Project Leader for Seedskadee and Cokeville Meadows NWR, not only runs things at the NWR, but also takes incredible photos of the wildlife and landscapes at Seedskadee. Check out his photography here.

Lightning at Seedskadee NWR- Photo by Tom Koerner

Lightning at Seedskadee NWR- Photo by Tom Koerner

Coyote- Photo by Tom Koerner

Coyote- Photo by Tom Koerner

Last summer, Sustain's Co-Founders and board member, Nicole Reese, had the fortune of visiting Seedskadee NWR. It. Is. Beautiful. Tom took us out to see Sage Grouse feeding on sage at dusk, while Great Horned Owls flew alongside us, and Sandhill Cranes cackled from out in the marshes. He also showed us where the Mormon Trail ran a ferry across the Green River, and where the wagon ruts of the Oregon Trail pioneers are still carved into the land. The sky is wide open and lends itself well to dramatic sunrises and sunsets, and dark nights full of stars. The sagebrush steppe ecosystem may not get the attention that forests or sculptural sandstone deserts attract, but it is a special landscape. We're excited to share Seedskadee NWR with River Whyless, and our audiences. 

Harrison, VP of Sustain, and Nicole, Secretary, enjoy dusk at Seedskadee NWR last summer.

Harrison, VP of Sustain, and Nicole, Secretary, enjoy dusk at Seedskadee NWR last summer.