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'Refuge' explores the dramatic beauty of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge and introduces two unique artists who have drawn inspiration from this magnificent landscape. Fawn Douglas is a contemporary painter and muralist of Paiute descent. Sharon K. Schafer is a wildlife biologist turned photographer and painter. The Desert National Wildlife Refuge in Southern Nevada was established by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1936 to protect more than two-million acres of pristine desert wilderness. Between 1936 and 1999, the Air Force commandeered nearly two-thirds of the Refuge to create the Nevada Test and Training Range; a three-million acre military facility for testing nuclear weapons, bombing practice, and air to air combat training. Despite these dramatic reductions, the Refuge still protects one of the largest tracts of untouched desert lands in the American Southwest and a community of plants and animals that is among the most biodiverse in North America. The Refuge also conserves Native American sacred sites that date back thousands of years. Last year, the Air Force announced plans to withdraw more than half of the remaining Refuge for military use and close it to the public. All opportunities for recreation, scientific study, and cultural ceremony will end. Together, Fawn and Sharon describe the devastating loss to their creative and emotional lives should the Air Force win this battle.
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