Wednesday, December 1, 2010

El Valle, The Rio Grande Delta

I remember talking with Nancy Marsden shortly after moving to the island, and she told me her nephew was working on a book about the Rio Grande Valley, but at the time I had no idea what a monumental project Seth was actually undertaking. I expected the beautiful photography and knew this would be a lovely coffee table book but did not expect the depth of talent and expertise which is represented in this volume.

I attended the launch party in Brownsville several months ago and was impressed with the wonderful turnout. Since purchasing my copy of El Valle, that evening, I have spent many enjoyable hours pouring over the pages and becoming more familiar with what makes this part of the country so unique. I know Seth has been busy in the area giving a series of presentations and slide shows to promote the book and what it represents. I am pleased to have the opportunity to welcome Seth Patterson, photographer for Gorgas Foundation and the book production manager for El Valle, to Paragraphs, to discuss his experiences in producing such a beautiful book.
A first of its kind, El Valle takes the reader on a visual journey through the Valley, from Falcon Lake to the Gulf of Mexico, exploring the rich biodiversity and cultural legacy that has taken root along the banks of the Rio Grande.
The volume is definitely a cross-border effort and much thought has gone into the bi-lingual presentation. Eugenio J. Hernandez Flores, Governor of the state of Tamaulipas, states in his introductory letter:
People from Texas and Tamaulipas are fortunate to share more than a border. Along the banks of the Rio Grande, we enjoy a historic diverse, and constructive relationship that has shown us the importance of working together in overcoming common challenges and harnessing our mutual strengths.

Many topics converge along this border, long considered one of the world's most dynamic. These include the vital goal of conserving and protecting our natural resources.
I cannot say enough good things about this book, you really need to see it and peruse it at your leisure to truly understand what a comprehensive view of the Rio Grande Valley the book provides. The photos are exquisite, but, the narrative, which was written by 28 well-respected specialists in their specific areas of expertise and all incredibly knowledgeable about the Rio Grande River Delta, gives the photography even greater depth.

As Laurence V. Lof, President and CEO of the Gorgas Science Foundation, Inc. states in his preface to the book:
We hope this book introduces you to the many faces of the Rio Grande Delta. These images provide a touchstone from which we hope you will explore beyond this brief introduction.
A new appreciation of the Rio Grande Delta is growing, and an increased pride in our unique heritage is taking hold, as is a commitment to help document and preserve our identity and the legacy for which we are all stewards.

Reading through this book I was amazed at the uniqueness of the lower Rio Grande Valley, and reminded how important it is that we respect nature and protect the fragile open and natural spaces which remain.

El Valle - The Rio Grande Delta is published by the Gorgas Science Foundation in collaboration with Earth in Focus Editions, the publishing arm of the International League of Conservation Photographers, and joins a prestigious collection of publications aimed at raising awareness to the importance of responsible land stewardship and conservation of our vanishing natural resources.

I hope to have a good turnout for the presentation and slide show tomorrow night, December 2, at 6:00pm. It will be a great learning experience and a lot of fun to have Seth, at Paragraphs, and I am thrilled that his mother, known on Facebook as Dolphinwhisper Scarlet Colley will also be joining us. So stop by, say hello, and share a glass of wine.

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