Great Plains: America's Lingering Wild
Great Plains: America's Lingering Wild presents 60 photographs from the new book by Nebraska native Michael Forsberg, an internationally known conservation photographer. Forsberg's spectacular images provide unparalleled encounters with the wild creatures and the breathtaking landscapes of one of the world's great grasslands, a 1-million-square-mile network of ecosystems stretching from Canada to Mexico.

The exhibition, however, offers more than a collection of beautiful pictures. It grapples with essential questions of how we will preserve what remains of our Great Plains natural heritage. The once vast diversity of wildlife and plants perseveres today only in isolated fragments that Forsberg painstakingly photographed during several years of travel across the length and breadth of the immense region at our nation's center.

Forsberg accomplished most of his photographic fieldwork by hiking through prairielands and paddling down rivers, carrying camera, daypack, and tripod on his back. Some shots, though, were more demanding, requiring him to lie patiently for hours on his stomach in a small, one-person bivy, peering at the movements of wildlife through a tiny hole. Other shots — remarkably intimate portraits of a wary bobcat, grizzly bear, and mountain lion — were captured without Forsberg's physical presence through the use of a "camera trap," a custom made system that activates a concealed camera when an animal passes through its infrared beam.

"When I am photographing wildlife," Forsberg writes, "I often feel that I'm chasing ghosts, capturing surviving wild spirits of species whose numbers have been decimated or all but eliminated from these wide-open spaces." And yet, Forsberg remains hopeful for the future of the land and creatures of the Great Plains. His book and the accompanying exhibition represent the culmination of his determination to raise awareness about these fragile habitats and the urgent need to protect them.

Forsberg's images have appeared in Audubon, Natural History, and National Geographic. He is a Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers. He is also the author of On Ancient Wings: The Sandhill Cranes of North America, published in 2004.

Michael Forsberg's New Book
Buy the stunning Great Plains: America's Lingering Wild in Joslyn's Hitchcock Museum Shop. Each 256-page, full-color book features a bookplate signed by Michael Forsberg!
(hardcover $45; Member price: $40.50)