in the news (142)

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october 2012 | by ben harrison

The "Friends of Minidoka" Society asked Sea Reach to reproduce an historic sign that listed the names of all the members of the camp who had served in World War II. The Minidoka Relocation Center in Jerome County Idaho was one of 10 relocation centers where Japanese and Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast were moved in August 1942, eight months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Center operated for more than 3 years, closing in October 1945. The Friends of Minidoka educate the public about the internment experience and the center is now a National Historic Site managed by the National Park Service.

Approximately 1000 of the Minidoka Center internees served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Their names were painted by hand onto the original wood sign. Over time, the wood deteriorated and the paint faded.

The Friends of Minidoka wanted to reproduce the sign with materials that would endure time and withstand weathering. Our efforts to replicate the original sign with complete historical accuracy proved challenging, but everything worked out with a little detective work.

How would we accurately reproduce a sign from just 3 photographs? That's all we had to go on, as no one had measured the original sign, nor did an independent list of the names exist-we had to pour over the photographs of the old sign to recreate the list of names.

Then it was up to me to recreate all of the pieces and make them fit into these dimensions while keeping them easy to read, visually appealing and as true to the original as I could. The final product turned out great and as a designer, it was nice to have a positive influence on an important piece of American history.

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september 2012 | by peter reedijk | show project

Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway extends from Dubois 163-miles (262 km) to Pinedale. The byway passes through Shoshone and Bridger-Teton National Forests, as well as Grand Teton National Park en route to Yellowstone. Crossing the Continental Divide at Togwotee Pass, sweeping vistas of the Absaroka Mountains and the Teton Range - these are spectacular sights at this 9,000-foot elevation. But what makes this byway most fascinating is the diversity of topics, people you meet, and breathtaking scenery.

The road parallels the largest pronghorn and elk migration route in the central US. Herds of these large mammals gather, to this day, in the same expansive plains as the big rendezvous of the late 1800s, when mountain men were making their fortunes supplying Europe with beaver pelts that would be made into hats.

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september 2012 | by heather julius | show project

I take it easy on our first day of hiking; I stop to rest when I feel slightly dizzy and my heart pounds as if I'm sprinting at top speed, though I'm only shuffling feebly up a small hill. Our home base for our research trip in the Spring Mountains is Mt. Charleston Lodge: 7,717 feet above sea level, just a few feet from the Cathedral Rock trailhead where you can ascend for panoramic views of Kyle Canyon.

Surrounded by Ponderosa pines, I do not think of the sea. But some of the rocks we are surrounded by started out far away in a shallow coastal sea on the westward rim of north America. It's still a shock to discover rocks with fossilized coral at our feet, so high in the mountains, in this dry region where a splash of water on skin dries almost instantly.

It becomes a game then for the four of us, we exclaim with each lucky find and share and compare. We photograph each rock for posterity and add our finds to a pile that will be encased in a wall for visitors to view.

It is only later when I try to date our fossils finds that I begin to appreciate how truly ancient our rocks are. They can be no younger than about 250 million years old and it is quite possible that they are quite a bit older than that.

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september 2012 | by ben speidel | show project

6 people, 12 miles of trails, 125 wooden markers, 187 acres of park, 266 signs, 1300 holes drilled, 1350 screws. The change to Hoyt Arboretum? Priceless.

The installation of 266 new signs for Hoyt Arboretum is just one phase of a new comprehensive wayfinding plan for Hoyt Arboretum.

Sea Reach was contracted in 2010 to develop a comprehensive wayfinding plan for Hoyt Arboretum, located two miles west of downtown Portland, Oregon. This project includes updating all of the maps, signage, brochures and interpretive elements that assist people in finding their way around this lovely place.

The Hoyt Arboretum is a shining example of what makes Portland great. It's an urban oasis with miles of beautiful trails that showcase scenic views of Mount Hood and downtown Portland as seen by the trees themselves. If you have never visited, you are truly missing out.

The Arboretum staff is wonderful and is supported by an amazing group of regular volunteers. There are seventeen trails that vary in length and difficulty, ask them to help pick the best one for you!

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august 2012 | by susan jurasz

The air in Alaska smells like cold wet rocks, sweet cottonwood trees, and the salty reminder of the ocean.

We hike four hours along the Trail of Blue Ice. We smell plants, taste berries, stalk salmon, and relish the moment in such a magical place.

Starting at Portage Lake filled with stranded icebergs the size of houses, we cross over a moraine - a gravel ridge 30-50 feet high, deposited by the glacier fewer than fifty years ago.

Long, serpentine stretches of boardwalk elevate us above the wetter areas.
The terrain and vegetation change as we walk: wildflowers and then a mono-textural thicket of willow shrubs so dense only Brer Rabbit would venture through.

The next day, we bike the trail in a fraction of the time - literally a quarter of the time. It is great fun, but we are amazed at the difference in the experience.

Riding bikes made the trail more manageable with respect to time, but we felt so much closer to the landscape when we walked.

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july 2012 | by susan jurasz

This has been a fascinating week. As part of our Jordan Mobile Science Bus project, we attended the Mobile Laboratory Coalition workshop in Seattle for three days with our Jordanian clients from the Princess Basma Youth Resource Center and the International Programs coordinator from the Forest Service. Then, we returned to Sea Reach and spent two days of intensive brainstorming planning the bus design and educational programming.

One of the resounding messages at the conference was the concern that students are not receiving the level of science education they need in order to be successful in scientific fields. Our Jordanian partners are also looking at this as a problem facing their students. No matter where they are in the world - whether its Jordan or the United States - we want students to feel empowered to make the changes we need to live in harmony on this planet. We want to pique kids natural curiosity for the world around them, and introduce them to the tools and disciplines of science. That way, they will be better equipped to choose any course of study.

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june 2012 | by ben speidel

I recently had the opportunity to leave my desk and get into the field for the installation of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway sign that we developed for ODOT. I was surprised at both the beauty and ruggedness of the terrain in Southern Oregon!

I was seven the last time I visited the Crater Lake area and all I remember of that trip was the inside of my grandparent's motor home, feeding slightly overweight chipmunks, and how Gramps used duct tape to fix everything from a hole in his pants to a cut my brother received when he "tripped" right in front of me. Needless to say, I was able to appreciate the majesty of the mountains and high desert forest in an entirely new way this time around.

The sign we installed is just northeast of Crater Lake in Chemult, OR at the crossroads of HWY 138 and HWY 97. When we arrived on site, the four - hour drive from Portland seemed well worth it. Standing at the base of Oregon's beautiful Cascade Mountains - a mountain range born of the Pacific Ring of Fire - I couldn't help but contemplate for a moment the ominous and fiery origins of the lofty peaks that rose before me.

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may 2012 | by kathy hocker | show project

Sue was up ahead, following the proposed trail route through serviceberry brush, ponderosa, white fir, and aspen. We were scoping the site for avalanche evidence, and I knew I should catch up, but... wait... what's that shape in that rock? I stooped down for a closer look: a circular fossil with small radiating lines - probably a rugose coral. And what about that one? And that one? I knew I should catch up, but my naturalist's soul was tuned to the Carboniferous, and I just couldn't tune out.

The Spring Mountains are an island of tall limestone peaks that rise from the Mojave Desert just a few miles west of Las Vegas. They're truly a world apart: thousands of feet above the cracked desert floor, draped in cool pine forest and tundra. Our job is to create interpretive and orientation exhibits for this very popular National Recreation Area.

On a breezy May morning, geologist Steve Rowland of UNLV met us for a walk down the planned Kyle Canyon Trail and an expedition to Cathedral Rock Picnic Area. By noon, his experience, knowledge, and love of the subject had tuned our ears to the stories in the stones - and the stories were spellbinding.

The strange formations along the road to Kyle Canyon told of wetter, Pleistocene climates when perennial streams tumbled stones down from the peaks, filling the canyon with hundreds of feet of rubble. Gradually, calcite deposits cemented the rubble into "fanglomerate" and flash floods sculpted it into the hoodoos and cave-riddled escarpments that line the road.

The varying hues of limestone in Mummy Mountain, Cockscomb Ridge, and Mt. Charleston told of rising and falling sea levels, and an Antarctic ice cap that waxed and waned on a timescale that ran into the tens of millions of years.

And those pale shapes in the gray boulders and pebbles? Cones, ovals, circles, fans, reticulations... Over 300 million years ago, when there were dragonflies the size of ravens, and dinosaurs were still almost 100 million years in the future, this place lay at the bottom of a shallow sea - and these rocks were reefs, alive with horn corals, brachiopods, crinoids, and bryozoans.

No wonder that for our last half-day, as we explored the site and discussed our interpretive approach, our eyes strayed again and again to the rocks below, above, and around. Fossils, seas, sharks and floods... the rocks were telling their stories, and we couldn't stop listening.

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april 2012 | by susan jurasz | show project

After several months of fabrication, we are finally in North Dakota to install exhibits in the old Midland Continental Railroad train depot. Every day brings on a new layer of complexity and intrigue to the design. Even though we have all been working on the project, no single person, other than our art director, Peter, really has a concept of how all the pieces will fit together. And it seems there are thousands of pieces to consider.

We start with empty rooms. Exhibits get unloaded. They get unwrapped from miles of bubblewrap and foam. The pieces are sorted by room and by type. Hardware is counted and organized. Tools appear and disappear, handed from one person to the next, and a rhythm of teamwork develops. Everyone has a job and the work is steady. Every now and then, someone takes a break and walks through to see the progress, snapping a few photos to document the slow unfolding. At the end of the day, we close up shop, stiff and tired, but satisfied with the day's work. This is the most exhilarating work there is - to see a visitor center come alive after months of planning, design, and fabrication. A work of passion.

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april 2012 | by susan jurasz

There is a certain look and feel to National Parks. There is a sense of history, commemoration, and pride - pride in being an American.

The project at the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park, in Brownsfield, Texas placed us on the border between Mexico and the US. Only, it was not my picture of a US border with armed police and border patrol, instead it is a long meandering river - the Rio Grande - that creates the border. A slow moving, green river that has so many bends, it is difficult to say which side you are on at any given turn in the road. Every other car has a Mexico license plate, and everyone speaks Spanish and English fluently, it feels more like a foreign country parading as a US suburb than an American town. The battle fought at this historic battlefield determined this boundary.

On April 12, 2012, Sea Reach completed the monument sign to the Park.

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