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Press Release

Dynamic Beauty of Fernbank Forest Showcased in New Photography Exhibition by National Geographic Photojournalist

Fernbank Forest: Designed by Nature to Open at Fernbank Museum August 5, 2017

ATLANTA, July 27, 2017 —  Award-winning environmental photographer Peter Essick will adorn the walls of Fernbank Museum with photography displaying the beauty and tranquility of Fernbank Forest in the exhibition Fernbank Forest: Designed by Nature, on view August 5 through November 12, 2017.

Over the course of two years, Essick photographed the majestic old-growth forest through the seasons– documenting leaves turning from green to yellow, birds nesting and migrating, rain saturating trees with color, vistas expanding, water turning to ice, and the ecosystem existing in constant motion. Hundreds of hours of quiet immersion bring to life the dynamic beauty of the forest in 51 large-format photos displayed along the entry level of the Museum. Viewers will discover breathtaking views from above the canopy, close-up stills of beautiful forest specimens (including trout lilies, eastern bluebirds and salamanders), the result of the museum's intense forest restoration, and the forest's dramatic and varying seasonal landscapes.

"Through intensive restoration efforts, Fernbank has created a healthier ecosystem throughout the forest, at the same time offering breathtaking views of champion trees, dramatic topography, incredible wildlife and colorful wildflowers – all of which are beautifully displayed in the new photo exhibition," said Jennifer Grant Warner, Fernbank's President & CEO.

Fernbank Forest is an ecological island surrounded by an urban expanse of nearly 6 million people. Serving as a refuge for flora and fauna, this forest in the city is home to more than 64 native tree species, 150 bird species (both permanent and migratory), and 52 species of amphibians, mammals, reptiles and fish. Fernbank Forest: Designed by Nature intrigues and inspires visitors with its study in visual contrast. The immediate sensation is one of wide angle vistas and dense, vertical forms – yet, upon closer inspection, a smaller world of elegant, complex designs is at play. Colors, too, are all in motion in the exhibition's photographs, as days pass and seasons change.

"When I was asked to consider Fernbank Forest, I thought I might have difficulty making photos of this

in-town locale. Fernbank Forest seemed more like a park than a functioning old-growth forest ecosystem. I soon learned that Fernbank was indeed a special old-growth Piedmont forest. It just took a little time to reveal itself," said Essick. "For me, this forest showcases a world of urban nature we all need to see."

For the past 25 years, Essick has worked as a freelance photojournalist, creating more than 44 photographic essays for National Geographic magazine. In addition to his photojournalism, Essick's photos have also been included in international photographic exhibitions, in Time magazine's Great Images of the 20th Century, and in 100 Best Photographs of National Geographic.

Fernbank Forest: Designed by Nature is dedicated to Susan Neugent, former President and CEO of Fernbank Museum of Natural History and acting President Emeritus. Her leadership and dedication to the preservation of Fernbank Forest have created a lasting legacy that will continue to inspire visitors for generations to come.  

Fernbank Forest: Designed by Nature is presented in celebration of Fernbank Museum's 25th Anniversary and was curated by Tony Casadonte of Lumière.

HOURS AND TICKETS: Fernbank Forest: Designed by Nature is included with Museum admission. Tickets are $18 for adults, $17 for seniors, $16 for children ages 3-12, free for children 2 and under, and free for Fernbank members.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History is located at 767 Clifton Road NE in Atlanta. For tickets or visitor information, visit or call 404.929.6300.