North Coast Land Conservancy is collaborating with the Wetlands Conservancy and other partners to host Beaver Tales: A Celebration of Beaver Art. This traveling show features art in a variety of media, all of it highlighting the beaver, our natural ally in conserving Oregon’s wetlands and restoring natural systems. Selections will be displayed at Fairweather House and Gallery and other locations in Seaside for a month beginning May 6, the evening of the First Saturday Art Walk.
That same day Francis Backhouse, author of Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver, will speak and sign books from 1 to 3 p.m. at Beach Books. More events including a stewardship day, a film showing, and another book signing are scheduled throughout May.
Here are a few examples of artworks in the “Beaver Tales” show, accompanied by excerpts from Once They Were Hats.
“The longer that beaver dams have been around, the more liable they are to have affected the evolution of a multitude of species, from aquatic invertebrates and plants to fish, amphibians and wetland-dependent birds and mammals.”
“For as long as humans have inhabited this continent, beavers have played a significant role in our lives. They have fed and clothed us, inspired spiritual beliefs and cultural traditions, driven the course of history, lent their name to countless landmarks and kept our water reservoirs charged.”
“Until recently we’ve tended to overlook this last contribution, but as we struggle to adapt to the vagaries of climate change, water stewardship may prove to be the beaver’s greatest gift to us.”
“The beaver … is making a comeback as an ecological hero. Its journey is not over, after all, and there are new vistas ahead on our travels together.”
“We will open this box of wisdom left in our care.” (From a Tlingit song)