Wild Crusade

Area residents have the opportunity to get to know the legend behind the man who was instrumental in the promotion of Federal Duck Stamp program, which has had a major impact on the efforts of conservation throughout the Americas.

An exhibit that celebrates the work of wildlife artist and illustrator Bob Hines, entitled, “Bob Hines: National Wildlife Artist,” is set to run through May 25 at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute.

The exhibit features a variety of pieces from Hines’ career, including work he did for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Federal Duck Stamp program and Sports Fishing U.S.A. Organizations such as the Department of Interior Museum, Japanese Information and Cultural Center of Washington D.C., and the Russell Fink Gallery of Virginia, also loaned several pieces. Plus, the exhibit features works associated with other naturalists such as Roger Tory Peterson himself and Rachel Carson.

According to Mark Baldwin, director of education and exhibits for RTPI, he and the staff are glad to play a role in helping people to understand who Bob Hines was as one of the great conservation artists and educators of the 20th century.

“It’s been very interesting and really been delightful for me to work with Dr. Juriga in putting this exhibit together,” Baldwin said. “It really does illustrate how in the world of conservation and the environmental movement there were these luminaries through the 20th century, and some of them have gone unheralded. Most people would recognize Roger Tory Peterson or Rachel Carson as sort of the prime movers of this movement, but there were people like Bob Hines that people just don’t know much about.”

Dr. John Juriga, of Elmira, also served an instrumental role in bringing the exhibit to Jamestown. In addition to loaning several pieces of artwork and artifacts, Juriga, a Hines scholar and biographer, approached Baldwin about bringing the exhibit to Jamestown while doing research for a Hines biography at the RTPI.

“I believe the exhibit dovetails perfectly with the Roger Tory Peterson Institute’s aim of highlighting the environment and conservation art,” Juriga said. “When I contacted the institute, Mark Baldwin was quite enthusiastic at the prospect of a Bob Hines exhibit. This is the fourth Bob Hines exhibit that I’ve been involved with, and each one is different because there’s something new that arises.”

One such new item includes a mounted Emperor Goose that Hines shot in Alaska in 1954. The piece is currently being reconditioned at Twin Pine Taxidermy in Ellington, and will be on display at the RTPI soon.

“This is probably the only example of Hines’ taxidermy work, and this is the first time this particular piece has ever been on public display,” Juriga said.

NATURAL NATURALIST

According to Juriga, one of the major reasons he feels Hines’ work is worthy of attention is that he finds it inspiring.

“Here is this self-made man who found his life’s calling in the midst of the great depression,” Juriga said. “He was a self-taught, untrained artist who became the vehicle through which millions of people learned about their natural heritage.

“It’s interesting that in this day and age young people have apps on their cellphone to view photographs of plants, animals or birds, but back in the time of Bob Hines and Roger Tory Peterson there were artists who created the perfect image to convey knowledge or information,” Juriga continued.

Another naturalist that Hines worked with was Rachel Carson, author of “Silent Spring,” and their professional relationship is also featured in the exhibit.

“When the notion arose that Bob Hines might illustrate Rachel Carson’s book, ‘The Edge of the Sea,’ Houghton Mifflin wanted an endorsement. So, at Rachel Carson’s request, Bob Hines took some of his work to Roger Tory Peterson, who studied it and gave him the greenlight,” Juriga said.

ON THE MOVE

Although the exhibit has never before appeared in New York state, the other locations that is has appeared include: The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Maryland; The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidental Center, Ohio; and The Ned Smith Center For Nature and Art, Pa. The exhibit at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidental Center also served as the Bob Hines centennial celebration, and the platform for the release of Juriga’s Hines biography. Juriga will appear at the RTPI to sign his biography during a public reception on Friday, March 14.

“This exhibit reflects a remarkable career of a self-made, self-taught artist who promoted the tenets of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and compliments the history of conservation in the latter half of the past century,” Juriga said.

In addition to the Hines exhibit, the RTPI is also currently featuring a Columbian Mammoth that was excavated in Randolph, as well as selections from the life work of Roger Tory Peterson.

The institute is located at 311 Curtis St. in Jamestown. It is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 665-2473 or visit www.rtpi.org.