YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — In 1864 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant with photographs from landscape photographer Carleton E. Watkins fresh on his mind. It was the work of Watkins and painters like Albert Bierstadt who had influenced many Americans in their appreciation of nature which led to the protection of Yosemite by the federal government to be inalienable and to last “for all time”.
Yosemite later became a National Park in 1890 and this national treasure is still faced with many challenges to protect it today.
YExplore, a leading provider of educational services in Yosemite National Park offers interpretive programs that discuss the meaning of conservation and stewardship with their tour participants. James McGrew, a California born artist and summer interpretive ranger in the park will lead the “Art Shaped the National Parks” workshops in both Hetch Hetchy and Yosemite valleys May 2-5.
McGrew will lead a natural history walk through Yosemite Valley on Friday, May 2, at 10 a.m. Later that evening, he will deliver a free evening program discussing the influence of art in shaping of the national parks with a focus on Yosemite. The photography slide presentation will take place in Yosemite Valley at a location to be determined and will be free to the public.
A plethora of Yosemite Workshops will be offered to participants throughout the duration of the weekend in both Yosemite Valley and Hetch Hetchy. James will lead a two-day plein air painting workshop that will continue the discussions started with the nature walk. Landscape photography sessions will be directed in Yosemite Valley by veteran photographer Al Golub while Robb Hirsch leads his Hetch Hetchy Falls and Flowers class in the surroundings of Tueeulala and Wapama Falls. Author David Lukas will guide birding and natural history walks on Saturday and Sunday with additional adventure hikes to Yosemite’s famous falls available for all to explore.
These workshops are fee based; however, YExplore is offering scholarships for two students who would like to attend them. The scholarship will cover tuition for enrollment. All interested artists and photographers may visit the yexplore.com or yosemitetwinvalleys.com for pricing information and scholarship instructions.