Invisible Boundaries: Exploring Yellowstone’s Great Animal MigrationsThis special exhibition, now closed at the Center but traveling, focuses on the migrations of elk and other charismatic, wide-ranging wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. It explores the challenges these animals face as they leave Yellowstone National Park and cross into surrounding multiple-use and private lands in search of winter resources. Their journeys link the ecosystem’s outermost foothills and ranchlands to its deepest, mountain wilderness. The long-term conservation of Yellowstone’s migratory wildlife depends on the actions of landowners and other stakeholders far beyond national park borders. The exhibition’s three main partners—scientist Arthur Middleton, photographer Joe Riis, and artist James Prosek—collaborated to take a multi-disciplinary approach to the complex subject. Their work, along with beautiful videography by filmmaker Jenny Nichols, resulted in an exhibition that blends in-depth science, stunning imagery and film, interactive migration maps, original artwork, and much more. Invisible Boundaries tells the compelling story of animal migrations and cutting-edge conservation science in one of the world’s most renowned natural heritage sites.
INVISIBLE BOUNDARIES: Exploring Yellowstone’s Great Animal MigrationsWe draw lines on maps. And by doing so, humans impose boundaries on landscapes that do not really exist in the eyes of the wild animals that live there. These “invisible boundaries” include lines between national park and wilderness areas, public and private lands, and neighboring states and countries. No matter what lies across each new boundary, animals must move through them in order to carry on the business of living. This exhibit explores the invisible boundaries of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem through the teamwork of scientists and artists whose lives and work are attuned to seasonal animal migrations.
While this exhibition focuses specifically on elk movements, creatures all over the world make migrations. As wildlife pass through human-influenced landscapes and waterways, they encounter many of the same difficulties as elk.
ANIMALS ON THE MOVE
They swim. They fly. They walk and run.
At some point in their lives, most creatures on Earth journey from one place to another. Sometimes they travel to find food, and sometimes to breed. This kind of movement—through air, under water, or over land—is called “migration.” Many animals follow the same migration route, year after year.
Snow geese, warblers, monarch butterflies, whales, sea turtles, and sockeye salmon are just a few of the animal that migrate.
Ever since we began to piece together the mystery of migration, scientists and artists alike have marveled at these feats of athleticism and beauty. These journeys fill us with awe and admiration for nature’s diversity.