By the time you read this, the Borderline Chalkfest will be in full swing. Check it out downtown through Sunday, July 18.

Seeing Shawn McCann again is always a treat for me! His beautiful mural graces the zoo entrance and has become a top showpiece as one of the most photographed sites in Wahpeton by tourists. It depicts our favorite animals being painted by Tal, our beloved orangutan. Shawn indeed captured the spirit of all things Chahinkapa in this magnificent masterpiece.

I too, am fortunate to work with art daily. Not in the artistic creation format, but with natural art pieces formed by nature. One does not need a field guide or micro lens to appreciate some of the shapes, textures, and beauty of an organic form that has not been altered. The look of a hay bale swirled into a giant yellow and gold pinwheel, the up close appearance of rhino skin, the eye of a cheetah, or a downy feather fallen from a nest are reminders of that famous artist, Mother Nature.

So it is only fitting that our zoo crew had the honor of meeting the Chalkfest artists on a zoo tour Friday afternoon. Art and nature have always been symbiotic. Without nature art would not exist. And through art, nature can be depicted as an interpretation of the original entity. Artists help us to appreciate the beauty of our natural world without taking it for granted. Exploring nature through art is a most effective and precious experience.

Surround yourself with all that is good in life.

Kathy Diekman is Chahinkapa Zoo Director.

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