The Lost Bird Project – by Todd McGrain
Location: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
June 19, 2014 through June 21, 2016 [still there in August, 2016.
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, in concert with Project Passenger Pigeon 2014, commemorates the centenary of the Passenger Pigeon extinction with the installation of The Lost Bird Project sculpture set.
The Lost Bird Project recognizes the tragedy of modern extinction by immortalizing North American birds that have been driven to extinction. To date, bronze memorials have been dedicated to the Passenger Pigeon, Carolina Parakeet, Labrador Duck, Great Auk, and Heath Hen. These sculptures are not naturalist work with biological details. The intention is to create the shape, which are subtle reminders of each bird’s decline.
The human scale of each sculpture elicits a physical sympathy. The smooth surface, like a stone polished from touch, conjures the effect of memory and time. – Todd McGrain
These sculptures compel us to recognize the finality of our loss. As a group they are melancholy, yet affirming. They ask us not to forget, and they remind us of our duty to prevent further extinction. Extinction of animals, plants, and other organisms caused by human actions can often be credited to habitat destruction resulting from deforestation and pollution. In addition, excessive hunting and fishing, the introduction of non-native species, and the transmission of diseases are also contributing fact.
Todd McGrain has been a sculptor for over 25 years. During this time he has received a number of grants and awards including the Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. For the pastdecade, McGrain has been directing his strengths as a sculptor toward the Lost Bird Project.
The Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum works to connect the citizens of Chicago to nature and science through immersive exhibits, family events and in-depth education programs. Founded in 1857 to give scientists and nature aficionados a place to study and share the specimens they collected, the Chicago Academy of Sciences developed a national and international reputation for its leadership in conservation, its collection and citizen science. Dubbed the first Museum in the West, the Academy’s collection has expanded to 390,000 artifacts and specimens, making it the definitive collection of our region’s natural history and a valuable resource for researchers. Ongoing research, restoration and conservation initiatives directly benefit local ecology.
The sculpture group of “Lost Bird Project” was installed to mark the centenary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon.
The Project Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Memories and Lessons from the Passenger Pigeon.
The year 2014 marked the centenary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon – once the most abundant bird species in North America, if not the world. A group of scientists, educators, conservationists, artists, musicians, filmmakers, and others, are working together to use the centenary of the passenger pigeon’s extinction to engage people in this remarkable story and to use it as an opportunity to promote habitat preservation and species conservation. The goals are to:  familiarize people in North America and beyond with the passenger pigeon and its extinction;  explore how human activity impacts other species; and  motivate people to take actions that both promote biodiversity and prevent human-caused extinctions. For more.. click here..
For anyone interested in more on these projects, here are some links..
Peggy Notebaret Nature Museum .. click here..
The Lost Bird Project.. click here..
Todd McGrain Sculpture.. click here..
Project Passenger Pigeon.. click here..
Published by Jyoti Srivastava
Image copyright © Jyoti Srivastava