Songscape: Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge
July 30- August 4, 2016
song release: January 27, 2017
We've partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and River Whyless for a week long Songscape songwriting retreat. The band, an innovative folk group from Asheville, headed out to Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming this past summer. For this Songscape, we also had the special privilege of working with National Geographic videographer, Corey Robinson. Robinson captured the scenes and sounds of Seedskadee NWR in a music video featuring River Whyless' Songscape song, "Hold Me To Ya". Proceeds from the sale of the song will support Sustain, the band, and the National Wildlife Refuge Association. The NWRA does great work to support OUR national wildlife refuges, and we're excited to support their work. You can purchase the song HERE.
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."
Seedskadee NWR certainly has plenty to offer the band 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 Greater 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.
Learn more on our announcement blog post here.
Seedskadee NWR is under the jurisdiction of the USFWS Mountain-Prairie Region, which covers 8 states and a few of our nation's greatest rivers, like the Colorado and Missouri, and greatest landscapes. In fact, the regions contain some of the largest intact and connected ecosystems left in the Lower 48! In order to make sure the landscapes support wildlife, the Region engages in collaborative conservation projects with local communities, nonprofits, tribes, and ranchers. Sustain is honored to be counted among these partners.
Press Release HERE.
Video from National Geographic Explorers
Corey Robinson, our videographer, did a great live session on the National Geographic Explorers Facebook page. Watch to learn about the refuge, Corey and the band's experiences, and a song off of River Whyless' new album.
We would not be able to run Songscape: Seedskadee NWR without the generous support of our sponsors.