A Greater Yellowstone Seasonal
Almanac and Film

Research Associate: Katie Shepherd Christiansen

Project Overview: The Greater Yellowstone Seasonal Almanac will apply and integrate scientific knowledge across an array of ecological and cultural subjects, to bring to life the cyclical, concurrent happenings of this world-renowned ecosystem. The book sets out to practically clarify the kind of people we are and hope to be, in order to ensure Greater Yellowstone’s future. Weaving thoughtful storytelling with informative original artwork, the book provides opportunities for readers to meaningfully step into the beating heart of Yellowstone and equips communities to sustainably coexist across this wild landscape.

Through a companion film to the book, project lead and NRCC Artist-in-Residence Katie Shepherd Christiansen intends to reconnect people to the land, to wild communities, and to each other, and to empower underrepresented voices in conservation. Akin to the book, the film will unveil a personal, tactical example of living in synchronicity with the seasons across the wild landscapes of Greater Yellowstone. Unlike many conventional environmental films that focus solely on biophysical matters or offer simplified solutions to the matters at hand, this project takes on the complexity of the intersection of nature, culture, motherhood, artistry, and family as these real-life threads influence and inspire Katie’s path as a conservationist and environmental advocate. Acclaimed cinematographer of the Greater Yellowstone Migrations project’s Elk River documentary, Jenny Nichols will be making the film.

The film will follow Katie along on her pathway to creating the Almanac: visiting Katie during her upcoming art and writing residencies at locations including Yellowstone National Park, Paradise Valley Montana, Grand Teton National Park’s AMK Ranch, and the National Elk Refuge–locations where Katie will be participating as visiting artist in residence in 2023 during the writing of her book. The film will circulate through the film fest circuit and grassroots outlets around the country as part of a strategic impact campaign, coinciding with the release of the Almanac.

Backstory: The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is a world-class large landscape sustaining wildlife and wildness, and an irreplaceable public good to the people of America and the world. But the future of the region, its lands, waters, and all of its inhabitants, are endangered. Mounting pressures spanning local to global forces threaten the integrity of the landscape and the very survival of its wildlife and human communities. In the face of such threats as the extinction crisis and climate change, we must work rapidly to protect this unique public good. Moreover, we must work precisely by addressing the true underlying conditions threatening our future: our misperceptions of self, nature, and our relationship with nature.

2022 Wyoming Arts Council Greater Yellowstone Journalism & Creative Writing Fellow, Katie Shepherd Christiansen, builds projects that integrate the best available science and educational pedagogies to preserve the opportunities and benefits of this region for future generations. Katie is editor of the 2021 publication The Artist’s Field Guide to Yellowstone: A Natural History by Greater Yellowstone’s Artists and Writers.

Current Status: Katie is engaged in project fundraising and development, and is underway with writing and illustrating the book.

Project Partners: Wyoming Arts Council Pattie Layser Memorial Fellowship, National Elk Refuge, AMK Ranch, Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Raynes Wildlife Fund, Trinity University Press

Project start year: 2022

Location: Greater Yellowstone Region