Sartore Exhibit, 'Fragile Nature: A Personal View,' at NU State Museum

Released on 05/12/2004, at 12:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Sunday, Jun. 6, 2004, through Jun. 5, 2005

WHERE: NU State Museum, 14th and U Streets

Lincoln, Neb., May 12th, 2004 —

In 15 years of traveling the world as a photographer for National Geographic magazine, Joel Sartore has been up close and personal with some of the globe's wildest places.

For a year, beginning June 6, Sartore will share some of his wide-ranging experiences and some of the often-discouraging lessons he's learned in an exhibit titled "Fragile Nature: A Personal View" at the University of Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln.

Although the exhibit's title, "Fragile Nature," indicates the precarious existence of the subjects depicted, its subtitle, "A Personal View," expresses Sartore's belief in what people can do if they set their minds to it. He cited the California condor, American alligator, Florida manatee and others as examples of species that have been brought back from the brink of extinction through concerted human effort.

"The bottom line for this show is to get people thinking about the world we live in," Sartore said. "There's never been a moment in history when humans have been so disconnected from the natural world, but we're very dependent on the natural world for survival. We have to have clean air, clean water and good food. To think that we're not intimately tied to the natural world is folly.

"I want this show to go to work. I'd like it to actually do some good and teach people about the natural world."

Sartore, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumnus who lives in Lincoln, said he also wants the exhibit to remind visitors that endangered species aren't all found in remote corners of the earth. In fact, one is very close to home -- Lincoln's own Salt Creek tiger beetle.

"It will be the biggest picture in the exhibit and the animal itself is the size of a sunflower seed," Sartore said. "But for Lincoln, Neb., it's a big issue. It's the only endangered species that's all ours and it's headed for extinction because of the massive development going on in north Lincoln. I'd just like for people to see it before it goes extinct."

The exhibit will feature more than 50 photographs grouped by theme in the museum's Cooper Gallery. On entering the exhibit, visitors encounter a glass case containing some of the equipment Sartore takes on his expeditions. Inside, each wall or section will highlight a particular aspect of the natural world, "almost like chapters in a book," Sartore said. Those "chapters" will be about habitat loss; species brought to the brink of extinction by human activity; large, charismatic megafauna such as bears and wolves; prairie species; the still-wild areas of Alaska and British Columbia; the Atacama Desert in Chile and the Bolivian rain forest; photos of Sartore on assignment; and people and their interactions with the natural world. Each chapter will be accompanied by a personal narrative from Sartore explaining the context of the photos and describing the status of the species or habitats involved.

The Friends of the State Museum will host a presentation by Sartore titled "Saving the Earth, One Species at a Time," from 7 to 9 p.m. June 5 in the Cooper Gallery. The event is free with a paid membership to the Friends group. For membership information, visit on the World Wide Web or telephone Willo Stuart, project coordinator for the event, at (402) 472-6365.

The NU State Museum is in Morrill Hall, 14th and U streets on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln City Campus and is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sundays and holidays (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day). Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children and $8 for families.

For more information, telephone the museum director's office, (402) 472-3779, or visit the museum's Web site.

To view or download a JPEG image of a color photograph from the "Fragile Nature" exhibit, go to this link.


Willo Stuart, Special Projects Coordinator, NU State Museum, (402) 472-3779