January 25, 2011 - Bend Bulletin - Exhibit to tell tale of Deschutes River

February 22, 2011
January 25, 2011 - Bend Bulletin - Exhibit to tell tale of Deschutes River

Exhibit to tell tale of Deschutes River

By Heidi Hagemeier / The Bulletin
Published: January 25. 2011 4:00AM PST

A second new exhibit will open quietly Saturday at the High Desert Museum. While no butterflies will flutter or hawks swoop through the space, it still tells an important story.

The Year of the River, which focuses on the Deschutes River and its role throughout time in the High Desert, will fill one of the museum’s main corridors just past the entrance and is stationed outside the popular exhibit “Who’s Home?” for children younger than 5. The Year of the River’s main components are panels and photographs, with text telling the Deschutes’ tale.

“We’re encouraging community discussion on issues, some of them contentious, although the museum takes a neutral position in the debate,” said Dana Whitelaw, the museum’s vice president of programs. “The museum’s role is education.”

The exhibit will take place throughout the year in three phases.

The first part, which will open Saturday and continue through May 30, is called “The Deschutes: A Unique River.” It highlights the river’s geology and history.

The next phase, which will be in place June 4 through Sept. 11, is titled “Exploring Balance in the Basin.” It will discuss the various interests with a stake in the management of the Deschutes — farmers, recreationists and others — and delve into some of the today’s issues, like the fish tower in Lake Billy Chinook and the proposed dike removal at Ryan Ranch Meadow, just upstream from Dillon Falls.

The third installment is, “Is the Deschutes Healthy?” It will be on display Sept. 17 through Dec. 11 and will explore river conservation and education efforts.

This is the second of such efforts by the museum. The first, which took place last year, was Year of the Forest.

And again, the museum collaborated with other agencies to assemble the exhibit. The Deschutes River Conservancy and the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, both Bend-based nonprofit organizations focused on watershed issues, participated this year.

“We have a network of content experts in our area,” said Whitelaw, referring to the organizations as “guest curators.”

Bea Armstrong, director of development and communications for the Deschutes River Conservancy, said the organization sees the exhibit as a chance to teach the museum’s roughly 150,000 annual visitors about the special role the Deschutes plays in our region.

“We just saw it as a fantastic opportunity,” she said.

A range of events will also take place in the coming months as part of the Year of the River, although firm dates are yet to be announced.

One is a visit from Los Angeles-based environmental activist Marcus Eriksen. He gained fame piloting a “junk raft” made of 15,000 plastic bottles, an old Cessna 310 airplane and other odds and ends from California to Hawaii, documenting trash in the Pacific along the way.

Another is a presentation by Bend resident Loren Irving, who followed explorer John C. Frémont’s route in 1843 from The Dalles through Central Oregon and into Nevada. He will show photos and perhaps film to explain his journey.

Heidi Hagemeier can be reached at 541-617-7828 or at hhagemeier@bendbulletin.com.

Published Daily in Bend Oregon by Western Communications, Inc. © 2010



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