chasing squirrels and saving whitebarks

The 30-foot-high mural of a whitebark pine by Brazilian artist Thais Beltrame towers over the crowd at her exhibit Friday in the ArtSpace Gallery.

Last week an array of conservation groups released a report listing the top 10 places to save for species endangered by climate change. Among those places is Greater Yellowstone, where whitebark pine trees are under assault from a warming-enabled infestation of beetles.

The report underscores the importance of the work filmmaker David Gonzales, founder of The Snaz, has poured himself into for the past year. Rather than sitting idly while the forests wither, Gonzales formed the nonprofit TreeFight and has been recruiting volunteers to hike into the hills and help catalog and protect the most valuable remaining stands of whitebark pines around Jackson Hole. (He also has been recruiting models to show off the group’s T-shirts, proceeds from which pay for pheromone packets that ward off beetles.)

Tonight Gonzales shows the fruits of this labor with the premiere of “Seeing Red: TreeFight’s First Year” at Center for the Arts. The screening coincides with an exhibit by acclaimed Brazilian artist Thais Beltrame, who has drawn a 30-foot-high mural of a tree at the center. Some of her work will be raffled to benefit TreeFight.

The opening reception for Thais’ exhibit begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Art Association gallery. The screening of “Seeing Red” starts at 7 in the theater. Afterward, DJ El Jefe will spin tunes in the lobby. Admission is free.

This teaser features one of the TreeFight heroes, Pepi, on one of his many excursions into the forest.

Update: Raffle tickets for a piece of Beltrame’s work, titled “Lake Solitude,” will be available here.

(Gallery photo by David Stubbs)


Posted under Art, Environment, Media

12 Comments so far

  1. danno January 14, 2011 7:10 pm

    global warming is a liberal fairy tale, pushed by no-growth, flat earth Marxists whose ultimate goal is to reverse the industrial society and go back to an agrarian ideal

  2. joe January 14, 2011 8:57 pm

    if you are looking for an intelligent site about global warming/ climate change to separate fact from fiction science from marketing CLIMATEDEBATEDAILY.COM and

  3. js January 17, 2011 12:17 am


    I was going to let someone else tackle this, but can no longer sit silent while the rain drops pitter-patter on my roof.

    danno, maybe from your vantage point in New Jersey, everything’s fine and dandy with the climate. but here in J. Hole, it’s raining again — the January thaw, after two or three December thaws.

    in fact, winter here, aside from the occasional (and short-lived) deep freeze, has become a state of perma-thaw in recent years.

    but I’m not a scientist. fortunately, the vast majority of scientists (those not on the energy companies’ dole) has concluded that human activity is affecting the Earth’s climate, possibly with catastrophic consequences.

    don’t take it from me. take it from esteemed conservative columnist Ross Douthat, a sensible guy who I respect:

    “But the evidence that carbon emissions are altering the planet’s ecology is too convincing to ignore. Conservatives who dismiss climate change as a hoax are making a spectacle of their ignorance.”

  4. no growth flat earth marxist January 17, 2011 12:24 am

    I believe that this December was the warmest on record (going back to the 1800′s sometime?).

    And Danno, can you explain what is going on in Australia these days? Hard science helps explain these phenomenon, but it seems unnecessary.

    We did have a week or so of extreme cold….Hopefully it killed some of the beetles. Here’s to optimism!!

  5. dan January 17, 2011 1:02 am

    dg just trying to get laid as usual….i hear fairies clean his house.

  6. CC January 17, 2011 8:09 am

    I’m from Jersey too! And I have a few things to say as well. But I am painfully aware that regardless of my opinions or my rehashing of other’s opinions, regardless of anyone’s qualifications, that we (the earth dwelling people) will probably still be arguing and pointing blame as we vaporize from the results of over-consumption and competitiveness that have caused us to turn a blind eye to the results of our actions. Instead, we have an app that counts our peanuts in HD, while the trees turn red. While we approach peak oil, while we encourage the infinite growth model, while we burn forests for cattle grazing land, and while we tear up the wild grazing land for signature golf courses and big box outlets. What are we giving to our children? A shit sandwich that we can make look like a birthday cake in photoshop.

  7. greg January 17, 2011 8:45 am
  8. joe January 17, 2011 9:22 am

    journalistic scientology has spoken. we believe, l.ron hubbard rejoice. brave new world optimism. ride our bikes,arrest idlers and deniers. shut down the airport, rock & roll ,cootchy coo. environgelics and evangelics don,t do evolution, they are not scientists but at least the don’t live in jersey

  9. joe January 17, 2011 2:22 pm

    Cronartium ribicola: White Pine Blister Rust

    The following is from Scharpf, Robert F. (tech. coord.) 1993. Diseases of Pacific Coast conifers, U.S. Department of Agriculture Handbook 521 (p.85).

    “White pine blister rust, caused by the rust fungus Cronartium ribicola, is a textbook example of a heteroecious rust fungus. Its life cycle, symptoms, and climatic requirements are typical of most native western rust fungi.

    “Hosts — C. ribicola can infect nearly all white pines and is restricted to this group. Its native North American hosts are eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), western white pine (P. monticola), sugar pine (P. lambertiana), limber pine (P. flexilis), whitebark pine (P. albicaulis), bristlecone pine (P. aristata and P. longaeva), foxtail pine (P. balfouriana), and Mexican white pine (P. strobiformis). In addition, it infects all species of the genus Ribes, its alternate host.

    “Distribution and damage — The disease was introduced into North America in the early 1900′s on seedlings of eastern white pine grown in Europe. It was not native to Europe, however, but is believed to have been introduced into that continent from Asia. Its introduction to North America resulted in one of our most serious outbreaks on conifers. White pine blister rust is now widely found in northeastern United States, the Lake States, and the West. In was introduced into British Columbia in 1910 and has spread from there throughout most white pine regions of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and California.

    “In North America, white pine blister rust has caused more damage and costs more to control than any other conifer disease. Since the 1920′s, millions of dollars have been spent on the eradication of the alternate host, Ribes, and thousands of white pine stands have been severely damaged. In the western United States and Canada, some stands have been completely destroyed. When the main stem of a tree is invaded, death is only a question of time.”

    This description of early efforts to fight the blister rust and protect white pine (Pinus monticola) is from Neuenschwander et al. (1999):

    “It is a tribute to Northwestern foresters of the turn of the century that they recognized the importance of white pine to the ecosystem and the gargantuan threat of the blister rust. Would those Victorian-era foresters have guessed we would still be fighting the blister rust today?

    “Researchers and managers determined that getting rid of Ribes – currant and gooseberry shrubs – would help prevent the spread of the rust to western white pine. Eradication of alternate host species, those surrounding plants that first contract a disease and then spread it to the important crops around them, was already being used against the black stem rust that afflicted wheat. In that case the alternate host was both the cultivated and wild barberry species. To this day, the U.S. Bureau of Plant Quarantine regulates cultivation of barberry. Against this historical and scientific background were played out the first efforts to control blister rust infection of western white pine trees.”

    To see the full article, go here:

    “… Although the war on Ribes was sound in concept, it needed to reduce a hazard so vast that success was virtually unattainable. That the forest professionals of the time would make such a massive attempt is powerful testimony to their understanding of the importance of western white pine to its ecosystem – and to American culture. It is also powerful testimony that society may need to rethink the prevailing attitude that humans can control nature.”

    i have been noticing the whitebarks mortality on the pass for the last 15 years, and obvious foresters have been watching longer. blister rust also has a 90% mortality rate over time. Fortunatly a small percentage will be immune. these will be the seed stock for the new evolutionary strain. the bark beetle tend to attack trees with the hishest fungal rates/ i.e. closest to mortality, similar to the old folks best friend:peumonia. it is important to understand the balance of good economy and ecology. but the best thing that we can pass to future generations is the understanding and the honesty of logic with good science and good spirituality. teach your children how to think, not what to think. and yes you to, can help forest science,and be smokey,s besty.

  10. joe January 17, 2011 7:41 pm

    forgot to say pheromone packets can help, but keep it between the lines. it has become warmer and the climate is always changing.we have just heaped trillons of dollars of debt on our kids backs, with more to go, might be time to take a more humbly honest and less arrogantly political (palin or gore) approach. because as arrogant kids age they might decide that old people should work in nuclear power plants. a joke

  11. D January 19, 2011 10:48 am

    Energy Companies don’t cause Global Warming or/and Climate Change even though it makes you feel better to say that they do. The people who demand said energy, buy it, use it, need it … are the cause, all of YOU included. With no demand there is no supply. The fact is, the Climate is changing its real… regardless of the cause. I will end it there because I hardly think my point of view will sway anyone’s opinion here.

  12. D January 19, 2011 10:50 am

    But I think what TreeFight is doing is great it’s said to see the places I grew up playing in the mountain turning orange and burning down. I wish the nation as whole would take it this serious.

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