Photo exhibit marks preservation milestone

Photos by JOHN FIELDER/Special to the Sentinel—Conserving open space includes saving orchards and farm lands from development. The Armstrong orchard on East Orchard Mesa, above, has been protected by the Mesa Land Trust as part of the Grand Valley’s heritage. BELOW: A placid moment at the Island Acres section of James M. Robb Colorado River State Park, one of the many sites in the Grand Valley benefiting from funds from Great Outdoors Colorado.

Any lover of Colorado’s wild places, and even those places not so wild but still equally memorable, knows the photographic artistry of John Fielder.

The renowned landscape photographer has been capturing unforgettable images of Colorado for 40 years, and this year the man who seems never to stop moving has been particularly busy.

Fielder makes one of his much-awaited visits to Grand Junction at 7:30 p.m. Saturday when the Mesa Land Trust hosts him for a slideshow and presentation at the Colorado Mesa University Center Ballroom.

Tickets are $10 per person and are available at or by calling 263-5443.

It’s all part of the 20th anniversary of Great Outdoors Colorado, better known as GOCO, which uses lottery funds to conserve open space, state and local parks and wildlife habitat.

Fielder, one of GOCO’s founding members, recently published two books about GOCO and its work.

The first is a guide book, “Guide to Colorado’s Great Outdoors: Lottery-Funded Parks, Trails, Wildlife Areas & Open Spaces,” and the second is a picture book, “Colorado’s Great Outdoors: Celebrating 20 Years of Lottery-Funded Lands,” depicting many of the places in which GOCO has invested lottery funds.

His show Saturday will feature photographs of local GOCO investments.

“We’re really excited about his appearance in Grand Junction,” said Mary Hughes, development officer for Mesa Land Trust. “We’ve waited about a year for this and we’re thrilled to have the chance to partner with John and Great Outdoors Colorado.”
Saturday’s events include a pre-show private reception at 5:30 p.m., when guests can meet Fielder and purchase signed copies of his books. Reception tickets are $50 each.

Fielder is donating 30 percent of all sales to Mesa Land Trust.

Sunday morning, Fielder will host a four-hour photography class and brunch from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Horsethief Canyon Ranch. Tickets are $200 each, with proceeds benefiting Mesa Land Trust.

Information and tickets for all events are available at the above website and phone number.

Since its founding in 1980, the nonprofit Mesa Land Trust has protected more than 63,800 acres, mostly in Mesa County with a few acres in western Montrose County and in Utah adjacent to Glade Park.

“That’s almost 100 square miles of habitat and open space,” Hughes noted.

The Land Trust’s most-recent and perhaps most-visible acquisition was the Three Sisters property along Monument Road.

The Land Trust coordinated the raising of $1.6 million for the 130-acre parcel, which was deeded to the city in June.

In its 20 years, GOCO has invested $27.8 million for projects in Mesa County.


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