The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem lies right in the path of some of the most significant animal migrations on the planet. However, major challenges await these animals as they leave Yellowstone National Park—stories highlighted in the upcoming exhibition, Invisible Boundaries: Exploring Yellowstone’s Great Animal Migrations, opening May 30, 2016, at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
Organized by the Center’s Draper Natural History Museum, Invisible Boundaries demonstrates that drawing political lines on a map, without attention to historical and critical movement patterns of wildlife, is a recipe for trouble. When searching for winter resources, animals like elk and deer exit the park and migrate into surrounding multiple-use and private lands, crossing human-imposed boundaries. Indeed, those borders, i.e. national parks and forests, tribal lands, state governments, and the like, don’t really exist for the wildlife of the area.
“Wildlife is crossing so many boundaries that the solutions [to understand and ultimately protect it] must do the same,” observes Dr. Charles R. Preston, Founding Curator of the Draper Museum and exhibit director. “As we continue to change our world, we create new challenges for wildlife, but we have the ability to find solutions to help wildlife to overcome some of those challenges.”
The conservation of Yellowstone’s migratory wildlife depends on the actions of landowners and other stakeholders far beyond national park borders. Invisible Boundaries uses stunning photographs and video, interactive migration maps, cultural objects, and original artwork by James Prosek to convey the story of some of the most amazing animal migrations of not only the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, but those of humpback and gray whales, monarch butterflies, Swainson’s hawks, and so forth. Then, the exhibition examines the reasons behind these amazing journeys and shares cutting-edge conservation science in one of the world’s most renowned natural heritage sites.
“We are proud to join with the National Park Service in observance of their 100th Anniversary this year,” Preston continues.” Invisible Boundaries is an excellent way for us to share in that celebration.”
The Center of the West has organized Invisible Boundaries through its Draper Natural History Museum and Whitney Western Art Museum, in partnership with Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, the Wyoming Migration Initiative of the University of Wyoming, and with exhibition designer, Split Rock Studios. The exhibition is supported in part by the William H. Donner Foundation.
Read more about the exhibition at centerofthewest.org/explore/exhibitions/upcoming-exhibitions.
Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For additional information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s Facebook page.