Wildlife Art Exhibition and Sale Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Fishery and Wildlife Biology Education at Colorado State

Note to Editors: Color photographs of sculptures that will appear in the exhibit are available through the Public Relations Office at (970) 491-6432.

Fifty years ago, 51 students enrolled in Colorado State University’s new department of forest recreation and game management. Today, the renamed department of fishery and wildlife biology boasts 459 students and is ranked one of the best programs of its kind in the nation.

To celebrate the department’s 50th anniversary, more than 80 works by wildlife sculptors and painters from the Rocky Mountain region will be displayed in an exhibition and sale April 3 and 4. The exhibition runs 11 a.m.-6 p.m. April 3 and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. April 4 in the Lory Student Center Art Lounge. The event is free and open to the public.

A portion of the art sale’s proceeds will go toward the Douglas L. Gilbert Scholarship Fund, created in honor of Douglas L. Gilbert, who led the department from 1975 to 1980.

"This is a great opportunity to see and purchase wildlife art created by some of the best artists in the Rocky Mountain region," said Gene Decker, fishery and wildlife biology professor and exhibition coordinator. "It also allows us to recognize the department’s accomplishments over the last 50 years and look ahead to a new era in fishery and wildlife biology education."

Some of the wildlife art community’s most noted sculptors– including several from Colorado–will showcase their work in the exhibition. Sculptors include Colorado State alumnus Chapel, who received a commission to create a life-size sculpture for the Loveland Civic Center Plaza; Gerald Balciar, a well-known bronze sculptor who lives in Parker; wildlife painter Bob Coonts of Fort Collins; and George Walbye, a Loveland sculptor who was one of five artists chosen by the High Plains Arts Council to install founding works in the city’s nationally-renowned Benson Park Sculpture Garden. Works in the exhibit will be judged by John Mumma, director of the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

The event also honors one of the department’s pioneers, the late Gustav A. Swanson. A conservationist, ornithologist and avid collector of wildlife art, Swanson joined Colorado State as head of the department of fishery and wildlife biology in 1966. Even after Swanson retired from the department in 1975, he remained at the forefront of national wildlife conservation and preservation issues. He died in 1995. His wife, Evadene Swanson, will participate in the art exhibit.

The College of Natural Resources launched the department of forest recreation and game management in 1947. In that year, the Colorado Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit also was founded. A fisheries program was added to the research unit in 1963 and the name was changed to the current Colorado Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit in 1984. The program remains one of the most prominent national research units and involves Colorado State, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Biological Resources Division, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Wildlife Management Institute.

For more information on the art exhibit and sale, call Gene Decker at (970) 491-5656.