Birds of Paradise Take Over Charlottesville Treetops

The Nature Conservancy-Sponsored TREES Exhibit Includes First-Time Audio Tour for LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph

Charlottesville, VA | May 17, 2013

The LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph and The Nature Conservancy transformed Charlottesville’s downtown pedestrian mall into the rainforests of Papua New Guinea today, May 17, with the installation of the Festival’s TREES exhibit. The Nature Conservancy-sponsored exhibit features wildlife photographer and field biologist Tim Laman’s stunning birds of paradise prints suspended from the trees lining the mall until July 7. The exhibit aims to promote environmental awareness and exemplifies the beauty of the lands and wildlife The Nature Conservancy strives to protect.

"Increasingly, conservation success relies on reaching and engaging people in urban areas, such as downtown Charlottesville—and inspiring them to connect with nature,” said Michael Lipford, Virginia executive director of The Nature Conservancy. “Collaborating with LOOK3 on this year's TREES exhibit is a great opportunity to do so.”

The TREES exhibit is multi-sensory, this year including the first-ever audio tour series with stories from The Nature Conservancy conservationists, LOOK3 Producer Jenna Pirog and photographer Tim Laman, among others. The audio tour includes 14 stops under the trees and illustrates how the exhibit relates to the Conservancy’s mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Each stop on the audio tour includes a QR code that leads to the Conservancy’s tour site.

Laman took the exhibit’s birds of paradise photos during 10 expeditions to the rainforests of Papua New Guinea with collaborator Edwin Scholes over the span of eight years. The Nature Conservancy featured Laman’s mangroves photo essay and images in its summer 2010 magazine.

“I photograph natural history subjects from coral reefs to the rain forest canopy, but birds hold a special fascination,” Laman said. “I think it’s the beauty, the action, and the challenge—but especially, birds are great ambassadors for the wild places that need protection.”

The LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph is an annual 3-day celebration of the visual image that started in Charlottesville in 2007. The featured days of the Festival take place June 13-15 with onstage talks, outdoor exhibitions, evening projections and special events. The TREES exhibit has been a part of the Festival since LOOK3’s inception and each year features the work of one of the world’s greatest natural history photographers. Laman will kick off this year’s Festival with an onstage TREES Conservation Talk at the Paramount Theater on Wednesday, June 12 at 7:30 p.m.

“The free TREES exhibit is our most visible and popular,” said LOOK3 Managing Director Andrew Owen. “The Festival would be totally different without it. These enormous, beautiful prints hanging from the trees everywhere you look signal that this physical space of downtown Charlottesville is now a canvas, where the creative, social and aesthetic [features of the Festival] come together.”

Art students from Charlottesville High School will be joining The Nature Conservancy and LOOK3 in celebrating the partnership for the TREES exhibit this afternoon. The students will create an interactive chalk drawing on the Charlottesville downtown Free Speech Monument that illustrates the birds of paradise, Virginia’s unique coastal and forest ecologies and will call on passersby to share what they’re going to do for Earth.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

Contact information

Lindsay Renick-Mayer
301-897-8570, ext. 224

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