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Torrance Barrens Kiosk Contributors

Visitors of the Torrance Barrens are greeted by an informational kiosk, located in the dark sky viewing area off Southwood Road. This kiosk is complemented by both Indigenous artwork and astrophotography that was donated by a long list of generous contributors.  

Indigenous Artwork Panel Contributors

Frank Polson, is primarily a self-taught artist, a carver, and a children’s game designer. His works are nationally and internationally showcased and he is a member of the Algonquin First Nations. Inspired by Canadian artist Norval Morrisseau (Copper Thunderbird), who was widely regarded as the grandfather of contemporary Indigenous art in Canada, Known as the “Picasso of the North.” Frank paints in the Woodland style. Frank’s first exhibition was at the Thomas B. Maracle Gallery on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Since then over 2,500 of his works continue to be collected by people and organizations from around the world. He also designed 13 woodland silver coins for the Canadian Mint representing the 13 Grandmother Moon Teachings. Every coin represents a moon that brings a new teaching. Grandmother Moon shares her loving wisdom. The Anishinaabe people view every aspect of nature as a living relation that plays an active role in life. Grandmother Moon is ever-present, making 13 appearances throughout the year as she watches over Mother Earth’s children and lights up their paths. His desire is to have a travelling exhibit and to share the Indigenous ways with peoples of all cultures. 

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Alan Syliboy, is a multi-talented national and international artist from Millbrook, Nova Scotia who has a studio in Truro.  He is known for his illustrative painting on drums. He is an author, musician, filmmaker and book illustrator. He wrote and illustrated a book titled The Thudermaker. His popular animated story Little Thunder, presented by the National Film Board of Canada showcases a delightful visual story about an Indigenous boy who leaves his family and sets out on a cross-country canoe trip to become a man. Alan designed the butterfly gold coin in 1999 for the Royal Canadian Mint. In 2002, he received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.  His work is inspired by the ancient petroglyphs that were carved in stone by his ancestors on the walls in caves. When Alan paints, he feels as though he is channelling a way to bring the spirits back into the viewer’s consciousness. His work contributes to connecting Indigenous community pride among all Nations. Alan also performs in his musical band that has appeared with the Symphony of Nova Scotia called the Thundermakers. You can sample the music on the Indigenous Kiosk Panel, if you have the Spotify App on your phone.

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Jonathan Maracle is an Indigenous spiritual singer/song writer & musician from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Ontario. He plays the guitar, drums, and First Nations windflute. While attending the Sacred Assembly conference in Ottawa/Hull he and different First Nations speakers shared a vision. They spoke about how to mend the walls that have been built up between the newcomers to Canada and the First Nations people. Jonathan saw the need for the walls to be broken and he is doing that with his music. His musical band goes by the name Broken Walls and it has released 15 albums to date. Jonathan embraces and combines his traditional and spiritual sides as one. He preforms throughout the world; all over Canada, in New York, Hawaii, British Columbia, South Dakota, Oregon and Europe to name a few. He and his musical band members sound aloud their call to see the First People across Turtle Island walk together in the original intent of the Creator by way of worship, dance and prayer.  You can sample the music on the Indigenous Kiosk Panel, if you have the Spotify App on your phone.

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Rebecca Maracle is an artist, traditional medicine healer, talented feathersmith, niece to Jonathan Maracle and member of the Haudenosaunee. She operates a traditional Indigenous gallery and gift store on the Tynedinaga Mohawk Territory in Ontario. By the teachings of her people, she learned at an early age to respect Mother Earth and all she offers to us. She passes along her heritage and beliefs through her traditional style of feather artwork. She has won numerous awards and her art can be found in private collections around the world. She is humbled and never takes for granted the medicine gifts and artistic abilities the Creator has given to her. She acknowledges all of Creation in her art process and brings awareness about the parts that make up the Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual faces we all hold. Her store carries all Canadian handmade wearable art, framed featherwork, earrings, jewelry, medicine shields, dream catchers and art cards.

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Dark Sky Panel Contributors

Photos of some very special deep night sky images came to us from some internationally known astro-photographers. Recognizing the significance and importance of the First Dark Sky in Muskoka the photos of these astro-photographers were selected and they provided our Kiosk Panel with some of their very best universal images of the night sky. Please enjoy some beautiful and captivating eye-candy for which we are proud to showcase. Take your own images and submit them to us, if you’d like. Just navigate this website to submit them or locate and scan the QR Code on the Kiosk Panel at the Barrens and it will take you to the website where you can submit photos as well.

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Robert Gendler, an American Physician specializing in Interventional Radiology and also known as an astronomer and astro-photographer. Robert used CCD cameras since starting out in astro-photography and specializes in images of deep sky objects with very long exposure times. His photographs are regularly published in astronomy magazines, including Sky & Telescope and on Astronomy Picture of the Day website. His work has appeared in Astronomy Magazine, cited a mosaic of the Andromeda Galaxy as one of “the most beautiful astronomical images of the past 30 years.” One of his images also appears in the Guinness Book of Records, under the largest image of a spiral galaxy ever. One of his photographs of IC 405, the Flaming Star Nebula was included in one of the six Royal Mail commemorative stamps, the 50th anniversary of The Sky at Night. His image of the Pleiades appeared in a German Postal series “For the Youth.” Robert has published quite a number of books on astronomy. “Astro-photography has evolved to become a valid and significant art form in its own right. The rigors of celestial imaging are less well-known. The physical and technical demands are great. Equipment is costly and experience comes only at the expense of sleep and comfort. It requires a substantial commitment but pays back in huge rewards. Robert says that it has enriched his life and he enthusiastically recommends it to anyone with an interest in the areas of astronomy, imaging or computer science as astro-imaging is a marriage of these disciplines. “Just a word of caution; after your first successful image be prepared to be hooked for life.”

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Gordon Hansen, an American Engineer specializing in metallurgy also holds an MBA from Michigan State. Gordon retired from the Ford Motor Company where his work focussed on product development. In 2000, he was gifted a telescope that was the start of an ongoing passion for astronomy. During the first 4 to 5 years he was primarily a visual astronomer. He then delved into astro-photography which has been his main on-going interest ever since. Gordon possesses an extensive array of equipment and a 10’ Domed Observatory in his backyard. He is an active member of various clubs including the Ford Amateur Astronomy Club where he has held the positions of Treasurer, Vice-President and President. He is also a member of the Plymouth Astro-photographers organization where he co-ordinates monthly meetings with local astro-photographers.

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Johannes Schedler, a chemist with an electronics background from Austria, started in his teens when he became passionate about chemistry experiments and electronics.  In 1985, he co-founded an air pollution control company which he managed until 2014 and went on to work as a business consultant. Johannes’ interest in astronomy began in 1997 and later he joined the local astronomy club. He eventually built his Panther Observatory in Wildon, Austria near his home and then started exploring and capturing deep sky images. In 2004, he went to Namibia to capture the images of the night sky. In 2005 after more adjustments to his observatory equipment, he was able to obtain improved image resolution.  Since 2005, he has presented at conferences starting with San Jose, California and later to astronomy clubs throughout many different countries, sharing his knowledge of deep sky imaging. His images have appeared in Sky & Telescope and many popular magazines and books. Johannes’ first Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) was in 2003 and he has had APODs over a span of 15 years.

Leonardo Orazi is an Italian Astronomer from Turin, Italy.  High above the land and as close to the mountains as possible provides for high altitudes and a great open sky where he captures his beautiful images. Leonard obtained his education in Computer and Electrical Engineering. He works on firmware and hardware design for a company in the business of banking security and also develops integrated systems for security alarms and surveillance systems. He has won many awards for his astro-photography compilations and takes his work seriously.

Dr. Dieter Willasch is a physicist from Berlin, Germany. He graduated from the Technical University in Berlin and was hired as a researcher in an industrial lab working in electron microscopy. Over the next 30 years his career took him to managing businesses in different fields. Upon retiring, Dieter’s physics’ background assisted him to choose his instrumentation equipment. It wasn’t long afterwards that this physicist entered the world of digital astro-photography. Dieter has two observatories, one in Eningen, Germany and the other in Somerset West, South Africa. Having two observatories enables him to photograph in both hemispheres. He is pleased that the city council of Eningen shuts off the street lights on weekday nights so there is an open view to the clear skies. Dieter is an avid and dedicated astro-photographer. Along with the skills that he has developed over the years, this has provided him with many recognitions and he is considered among one of the world’s best astro-photographers. He is also proud to be a holder of many NASA APODs.

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