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News: The GCA's First National Medal in Photography


September 10, 2020

J. Sherwood Chalmers Medal Awarded to Michael Forsberg

Michael Forsberg is the GCA’s first recipient of the J. Sherwood Chalmers medal, awarded for outstanding achievement in the field of photography and/or photography education as it relates to the purpose of The Garden Club of America. Forsberg, a Nebraska native, has devoted 25 years to photographing America’s Great Plains, covering 100,000 miles across twelve states and three Canadian provinces. 

Through the beauty of his photographs, he communicates why the Great Plains matter and why their wildness need to be preserved. His fascination with Sandhill Cranes led to five years of documenting their migration and the publication of On Ancient Wings: The Sandhill Cranes of North America in 2004. A second book, Great Plains: America’s Lingering Wild, was published in 2009. His stunning photographs are deceptively simple. They often seem to catch a spontaneous moment, but are, in fact, the product of meticulous planning, thorough preparation, and endless patience in the field. The result is photographs that showcase the magic of the wild and touch the hearts and imaginations of all who see them. His work has been featured in Audubon, National Geographic, Nature Conservancy, and Outdoor Photographer magazines. Two of his images have been selected for USPS postage stamps. In 2011, Forsberg co-founded the Platte Basin Timelapse project, filming a watershed through time. A documentary film for PBS, titled Follow the Water, based on the project and Forsberg’s traverse across the Platte Basin watershed, was released on PBS in 2018.

The new photography medal was designed by Eugene Daub. It features an aperture in the center of a flower, symbolizing nature and photography. Wikipedia relates that “Eugene Daub is an American contemporary figure sculptor, best known for his portraits and figurative monument sculpture created in the classic heroic style. His sculptures reside in three of the nation's state capitals and in the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol.”

The J. Sherwood Chalmers Medal


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