Shenandoah National Park’s Wild Beauty

Shenandoah National Park’s Wild Beauty

Co-Founder Sandy Long had the privilege to serve as the first Artist in Residence at Shenandoah National Park from September 22 through October 3, 2014.

She has compiled a gallery of images captured as part of that experience. A percentage of the profit on their sales will be gifted to the Shenandoah National Park Trust, which supported her 12-day photographic journey through this magnificent park in Virginia.

From Shenandoah National Park’s grand landscapes and dreamy vistas, to its diverse flora and fauna, to its most delicate notitia—Sandy sought to capture those essential details at the heart of our place-based relationships by exploring peaks and trails, capturing sunsets and sunrises, prowling through meadows and climbing mountain trails during various times of day and ever-changing weather conditions.

It is the type of work she does in the Upper Delaware River Region of PA and NY, through which she has come to understand that deepening connections to places we love fosters a sense of gratitude and can impel us to act on their behalf.

We will work hard, take risks and commit resources to protect what we love. We may even make better choices as a result of the restorative healing experiences that can happen when we connect with the natural world. “It is my hope that these images raise awareness of the importance of protecting the priceless natural resources to be found in our national parks,” says Sandy.

Shenandoah National Park Artist in Residence Sandy Long captured this photograph of Catoctin Rocks while hiking near Compton Gap.

Catoctin Rocks

Her residency also celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, signed into law on September 3, 1964. She acknowledged this during a guided walk at Big Meadows on National Public Lands Day, September 27, during which she discussed the significance of the park’s nearly 200,000 acres of protected land. In addition to enhancing our own well being, protected land serves all life forms that depend upon intact habitats and clean water for their survival.

Wilderness funds something deep within us that is easily depleted in today’s fast-paced world—and necessary to our survival. The artist responds to this equation by exploring experience and returning with their creative offering. From the slow and mesmerizing miles of Skyline Drive and its breathtaking overlooks, to the heart-pounding climbs to astonishing peaks, to the mist-clad mornings that obscured those longer views but brought into focus the exquisiteness of lichen and moss on massive rocks and artfully angled trees where birds perched while sharing their delicate songs—here is Sandy’s offering.

She is particularly grateful to the Shenandoah National Park Trust for providing the funding for her lodging and meals, and to the National Park Service for establishing the Artist in Residence program at Shenandoah National Park. Both are to be commended for recognizing the value of the relationship between the arts and advocacy for the natural world.

[Photos © Sandy Long]

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