“Our trip…will long be remembered”: Following the Trail of a Bird Watching Road Trip

Last Thursday our new exhibition, “Our trip…will long be remembered”: Following the Train of a Bird Watching Road Trip, opened. This exhibition follows the route of birders Walter M. Rosene, Sr., and Walter Bennett during their 1924 trip from Sioux City, Iowa, to East Central North Dakota as documented in Rosene’s travel journey. Detailed notes taken on the trip represent some of the earliest observations of birding areas that are now well-known for their value to ornithological study. The exhibition will be available now through fall 2020 in Parks Library Room 403.

Detailed bird observations and poetic descriptions of fascinating accounts enable visitors to see the beauty of nature through Rosene’s eyes. Excerpts from his journal are complimented by photographs and hand-colored lantern slides taken on the trip, and maps and supplemental materials place the road trip in the larger context of environmental and social concerns of the Great Plains in the early 20th century.

Rosene, the first president of the Iowa Ornithologists’ Union, and Bennett, a biological investigator and bird life lecturer, dedicated most of their lives to conservation and bird study, and their 1,600-mile journey remained a memorable and important experience throughout their birding careers.

Many of the documents and photographs are from the Walter M. Rosene, Sr. Papers and are available digitally as part of the Avian Archives of Iowa Online (avIAn) – a newly launched web portal of Iowa ornithological primary sources supported by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The avIAn project documents nearly 100 years of bird study in Iowa and includes materials from some of the Midwest’s most prominent conservationists.

Pictured above are staff from Iowa State University Printing and Copy Services installing the window decals for the new exhibition.

Join us at the exhibition reception to learn more

What: Following the Trail of a Bird Watching Road Tip: A Curators’ Journey

When: 7-8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 24

Where: Ames Public Library Farewell T. Brown Auditorium, 515 Douglas Ave, Ames IA 50010

Join us to learn behind the scenes details about the creation of the exhibition and its connection to the recently completed Avian Archives of Iowa Online (avIAn). Attendees will have the unique opportunity to hear from exhibition curators Erin Anderson and Amy Bishop as they discuss their findings and the impact it has on local and national communities.

This talk marks the opening of the exhibition. Admission is free and hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served.

We would like to give special thanks to the following exhibition partners: Iowa Young Birders, Iowa Ornithologist’s Union, Ames Historical Society, the ISU Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management and Wild Birds Unlimited of Ames

Contact information

Rachel Seale, University Library Special Collections and University Archives Outreach Archivist ­­515-294-5311 or rmseale@iastate.edu

Nacuya Rucker, University Library External Relations Director 515-294-2155 or nrucker@iastate.edu

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