IT’S A WORK IN PROGRESS
I’ve occasionally been critical of the role that Corporate America plays in our parks. Probably a defective gene or some such. There is one corporate project that I’ve been watching closely and it is bearing some positive fruit.
EYES ON YELLOWSTONE is a joint effort of the Yellowstone Park Foundation and Canon, USA. It was initiated by Yoroku Adachi, president & CEO of Canon USA in 2003, (press release.) This effort formalized a long standing relationship between Canon and Yellowstone and was established to:
“. . . fund important scientific research and break new ground in conservation, endangered species protection and the application of cutting-edge science and technology essential for the management of park wildlife and ecosystems. Another program element is increased public access via the Internet to the wonders of one of the world’s most renowned and popular parks, and education about the importance of environmental protection and preservation.”
The most publicly visible result, so far, is the Windows Into Wonderland web site that provides little ‘e-trips’ to Yellowstone places and topics, and has been available since 2001. This site is aimed at younger students, and classroom audiences.
The entire effort is diverse and steered by a cooperative ‘partnership’ of the Yellowstone Park Foundation, Yellowstone Park Staff, and Canon. Over the years several important programs have been initiated and completed with funding from this program. These include: “Eyes On Hayden: Predators and their Prey in a Pristine Valley”, “Electronic Fields Trips”, “Food for the Masses: Refining the Masses”, “Disturbed Landscape Restoration: The Turbid Lake Road”, “Yellowstone’s ‘One-of-a-Kind’ Plants: Sand Verbena”, “Traveling Exhibits”.
One project, (still partial & incomplete,) that has received very little attention is the website sub-titled “Greater Yellowstone Science Learning Center.” This site is available now with all warts, broken links, and ‘coming soon’ categories visible for us to see. I like it and I like where it appears to be going. Although the site is tightly focused on the projects that Canon has supported, the ‘coming soon’ sections promise to make this site a useful index and compendium of Yellowstone information. I hope that Canon & Yellowstone are as committed to presenting the information as they are to gathering it.
The most complete section is “Biological Resources” and it focuses on large mammals and fish. This incomplete site is worth a visit. It’s also worth watching – just to see if it’s only a publicity stunt or a real contribution. Credit given where credit is due, now and in the future.