On this unique once-in-a-lifetime field trip, participants will have the opportunity to visit The Lost Bird Traveling Exhibit and Galveston’s new Eskimo Curlew Memorial Sculpture with The Lost Bird Project director and sculptor Todd McGrain. We will learn about these once-thriving birds through thought-provoking memorials that link art with natural history and highlight humans’ impact on biodiversity.
There is perhaps no timelier message than the alarming rate of species extinction. Although 40% of the world’s bird species is in decline, and 1 in 8 is threatened with global extinction, there remains good news: it is NOT too late to slow rates of extinction and many threatened species can still recover.
That is the message of The Lost Bird Project. These beautiful public art pieces help raise awareness of declining species, promote action, inspire us artistically, and remind us of our duty to protect natural resources. As the artist Todd McGrain, has said, Forgetting is another kind of extinction.
Our field trip’s first stop will be to see the The Lost Bird Traveling Exhibit, 4 to 6-foot cast-bronze sculptures of five extinct birds now roosting in front of The Bryan Museum. McGrain will share his stories about the sculptures and answer questions about The Lost Bird Project as you stroll the grounds exploring the exhibit.
From there, we will head west to Galveston Island State Park to see the Eskimo Curlew Memorial, the sixth sculpture that will be unveiled in March 2020 on the bay side of the grounds. The last fully-documented sighting of the Eskimo Curlew occurred near here in 1962 on land that is now part of the Park. The sightings in that year are supported by photographs; these photos have the distinction of being the only known photos of Eskimo Curlew ever taken in the wild anywhere in the world. Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, the organization that presents FeatherFest, raised the funds to commission McGrain to create the Eskimo Curlew Memorial Sculpture.
A short walk on the Clapper Rail Trail, passing one of the Park’s nature observation platforms, leads you to the Eskimo Curlew sculpture. You can walk 5-6 minutes to the sculpture site or observe the sculpture in the distance from the platform. A local birding guide will accompany the group so that participants can enjoy some birding along the way.
Must be able to walk a defined (but not paved) trail for less than a ¼ mile.