Foreword by Robert Bateman

Introduction by Ellen Zimmerman

Jean Blackall
Deborah Borsos
Paula Cravens
Susan Fahrni
Deanna Gauthier
Lynne Grillmair
Lynne Grillmair & Alice Hale
Alice Hale
Troy Hunter
Ann Jones
Stan Lukasiewicz
Kathryn Manry
Darcy Monchak
Enid Petherick
William Pitcher
Dawna Lea Ringer
Victoria Rodgers
Marty Ryan
Jane Tevelein Doel
Nellie Tobler
Jill Unger
Darlene Young

“A Breath and a Heartbeat”
by Caleb Moss
(250K – Widescreen)

Pat Morrow
Photograph Video

Flash Video 22MB


Columbia Wetlands Home AGOG Home


The Columbia Wetlands: a river of life begins

The Columbia Wetlands are a natural wilderness in the heart of the Columbia Valley, between southern British Columbia’s Rocky and Purcell mountain ranges. These wetlands are one of the world’s living treasures.

The Columbia Wetlands inspire the art in this exhibit, so ably curated by the Art Gallery of Golden. These works remind us of the great wealth — and of the underlying fragility — contained in this natural treasure. Artists focus their vision on both the microcosm and the macrocosm of the wetlands, seeing and interpreting every detail of light and shape within its vastness. We hope these works help inspire people to approach the wetlands, not as trespassers, but as respectful guests.

Our visits through the upper Columbia River and its wetlands are best experienced as a slow float or quiet interlude with binoculars or sketchpad or camera. River otters and beavers busy themselves nearby. Waterfowl linger in the reeds. Great blue heron stalk their prey in the shallows while osprey and eagles drift above, scanning for fish. Black bears rifle the berry bushes; coyotes pounce on rodents and whitetail deer graze — always alert to predators.

Everything is as it should be.

Life in the wetlands
The Columbia Wetlands are the life support system for hundreds of thousands of birds, water creatures and mammals. They sustain the second-largest concentration of great blue heron residents in western Canada, more than 300 pairs. Migrating waterfowl — 15,000 each spring and autumn — depend on the wetlands to survive their journeys. Songbirds, shorebirds and birds of prey rely on the Columbia Wetlands, as do Kokanee salmon, Rocky Mountain whitefish, ling cod and several varieties of trout.

This ecosystem is essential winter range for hundreds of elk and deer. Moose, wolf, cougar, coyote, mink, river otter, beaver, and black and grizzly bear are found here. Reptiles and amphibians, including rubber boa, painted turtle and Columbia spotted frog, call this place home.

The great river
The Columbia River springs from this biologically-rich beginning. It’s the largest river flowing into the Pacific Ocean from anywhere in North America, and it supplies freshwater to millions of people in BC and the Pacific Northwest.

Starting slowly, languorously, the Columbia River determines its destiny in this small stretch at its beginning. It determines itself, as nature meant it to be, not as man would change it downstream. Its pace repeats a message: There is no need for us to travel faster than the river itself, no need for hustle and bustle.

Protected for the future
In 1996, Columbia Valley residents and government agencies came together, agreeing that the stretch of the Columbia River and wetlands from Donald in the north to Fairmont in the south should be protected for wildlife. A Wildlife Management Area was established, protecting wildlife under the BC Wildlife Act throughout the whole 180-kilometre stretch. Recreational and historical uses — fishing, hunting and trapping — would continue, but under an innovative philosophy that places wildlife and habitat values first.

Here then is the legacy for the future. The Columbia Wetlands will remain intact for the benefit of wildlife and for the health of our future generations. Human visitors will respect its interwoven threads.

Natural inspiration — an artist’s view
These wetlands inspire us. Within their cool green channels, their shallow sloughs, and on the lazy river, we discover unobtrusive, contemplative pastimes that bring us close to a wide variety of birds and animals.
Our senses become engaged and stirred in this bountiful place. Artists in all media find beauty and their muse within the Columbia Wetlands, this globally-renowned Ramsar site, one of the largest connected wetlands in North America and one of the most significant ecological treasures in the world.

The Columbia Wetlands inspire art. Perhaps this art will inspire passionate stewardship. We hope you enjoy the exhibit — and that you fall a little more in love with the Columbia Wetlands.

Ellen Zimmerman, Wildsight