Carving Birds & Conserving Land: Rand Jack and the Whatcom Land Trust

April 27, 2024 - October 27, 2024

Old City Hall

“The reason I carve birds is because it’s a wonderful way to display the wood”  – Rand Jack

Working in close partnership with the Whatcom Land Trust, the Whatcom Museum presents the carved bird sculptures of artist and conservationist Rand Jack. This year marks the Land Trust’s 40th anniversary, and Rand has served on the Land Trust’s Board of Directors since co-founding the organization in 1984. An attorney and educator, Rand has helped facilitate the protection of more than 20,000 acres of land across Whatcom County, ensuring healthy forests, rivers, and shorelines for future generations of all species. These lands include some of Whatcom County’s most iconic open spaces, such as the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve, Galbraith Mountain, Teddy Bear Cove, Canyon Lake Community Forest, Governors Point, and part of the Chuckanut Mountains.

Since 1980, Rand has carved birds from locally sourced wood, sometimes gathered from his forested property in Whatcom County. The exhibition brings together 20 works, along with two new sculptures, all tucked into and around the displays in the museum’s John M. Edson Hall of Birds in Old City Hall.

Rand has a singular focus when carving wood, often spending hours at a time in his workshop highlighting the grains and natural veining in the wood to reflect the features of each bird. He is driven by his excitement and fascination when cracking open a stump to discover the unique characteristics of the wood’s interior features. Carved falcons, ravens, shore birds, and owls emerge from the textured forms of different wood species informed by years of close observation and intimate understanding of the birds that inhabit the 40-acre property he and his wife Dana own in Deming, Washington

Depicting each bird life-sized, Rand’s sculptures range from five-inch nuthatches to elegant sandhill cranes that stand three feet tall. The exhibition explores how Rand puts into practice, both through his artistic pursuits and his commitment to the Whatcom Land Trust, his love of the great outdoors and his drive to make nature accessible for community enjoyment for years to come.

Whatcom Land Trust logo

The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.