Interpretive exhibit at Taylor Creek
Located just a short distance from the Forest Service Taylor Creek Visitor Center, the mouth of Taylor Creek is an excellent example of a wetland that is critical to Tahoe’s wildlife. That is the premise that the Forest Service used in a new interpretive exhibit located on the Taylor Creek wildlife viewing deck between the Lake of the Sky Amphitheater and Tallac Point.
Several years ago the Forest Service received a grant from the National Forest Foundation to replace signs and exhibits on the Rainbow Trail, Smokey’s Trail, the Forest Tree Trail and the Taylor Creek wildlife viewing deck. The deck could hold several large displays, but we wanted something more than the usual interpretive exhibit. We wanted something different and really big. We were aware of nature artist Larry Eifert’s work and made several calls to see if he would be interested in our project. Eifert is known for his large wildlife murals found in many national and state parks throughout the country. Once the groundwork was completed, he came to Lake Tahoe to take pictures and study the Taylor Creek area. The Forest Service provided him with species lists of the plants and animals to be included in the exhibit. During the winter of 2002, Eifert started painting the four-foot by eight-foot mural that would later be used to make the resin panel to fit on the deck.
The exhibit from Eifert’s original artwork was installed in May on the Taylor Creek wildlife viewing deck. The exhibit is more than just an interpretive display but a piece of artwork on the deck. Visitors looking over the meadow and marsh of Taylor Creek can now identify plants and animals they may see in the scene in front of them.
Besides getting a beautiful exhibit for the viewing deck and an original piece of artwork that the Forest Service will use at a later date, we also worked with the artist and the Tahoe Heritage Foundation to produce a poster and puzzle of the artwork to be sold at the Visitor Center. Both the poster and the 500-piece jigsaw puzzle of “Taylor Creek — one of Lake Tahoe’s Hidden Treasures” are 12-inches by 36-inches and there is a silhouette of the plants and animals on the back of the poster and on the back of the puzzle box. The poster is $6 and the puzzle $11.95 and are sold through the Tahoe Heritage Foundation at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center. The Tahoe Heritage Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the environmental education programs conducted by the Forest Service in the Tahoe Basin. All income generated from the sale of the posters and puzzle will be used for future educational and interpretive programs at Taylor Creek.
The message that the Forest Service is trying to get across with the exhibit, poster and puzzle is that Taylor Creek is a fragile place. You can help maintain the quality of this wetland habitat and its wildlife by getting to know and respect it as you would your own neighbors.