Photo by Carll Goodpasture.


Vanishing Pollinators: Photography by Carll Goodpasture

Archived exhibitions are no longer available for booking but are maintained as a virtual record of past Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) programs.

They buzz through our backyards, creep into wildflowers, and make possible many of the fruits and vegetables we enjoy every day. Bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects play a critical role in our world. About 80 percent of flowering plant species depend upon insects to transport their pollen from the male to the female parts of the same or another flower. In turn, flowers have evolved to attract the insects and other animals that pollinate them. Without these busy, tiny creatures, not only would our world be far less colorful, but our diets would change greatly. To enjoy apples, melons, coffee, and chocolate, we need pollinators.

In recent years, the populations of bees and other pollinators have been declining worldwide. Research suggests that these reductions have been caused by a variety of factors, including habitat loss and degradation, the introduction of invasive species, and chemical pollution.

Dr. Carll Goodpasture has combined his skills as an entomologist and nature photographer to take us into the miniature world of moths, bees, and other pollinators and their symbiotic relationships with the plant kingdom. Goodpasture’s vivid color photographs reveal both the beauty and the mechanics of these relationships.

Based on an exhibition organized by the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park, Vanishing Pollinators: Photography by Carll Goodpasture consists of 34 framed large-scale photographs by Goodpasture, along with engaging text. The exhibition is augmented by a CD-ROM and a booklet that can be used in educational programming. Designed to meet the needs of nature centers and other institutions with limited space, Vanishing Pollinators may be supplemented with specimens from each host institution’s entomology and botany collections to better interpret the local environment and the importance of pollinators within it.

Contents 34 framed large-scale photographs, text panels

Resource CD-ROM containing computer-based educational activities, virtual gallery program, and PDF files of activity guide, poster, and brochure

Participation Fee

$1,600 for an 8-week booking period

Running Feet

100 running feet (30 running meters)

Crates 3
Weight 295 kg (650 lb.)
Category Science & Natural History
Security Moderate
Shipping Outgoing; host museum arranges outgoing shipping and pays carrier directly
SITES Contacts

Ed Liskey, 202.633.3142 (Scheduling)
Jennifer Bine, 202.633.3106 (Content)

Toured Through December 2005


Dates   Host Institution Status
9/1/01 10/28/01 Douglas County Museum of History and Natural History, Roseburg, OR Booked
11/17/01 1/13/02 Utah Museum of Natural History, Salt Lake City, UT Booked
2/2/02 3/31/02 Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, FL Booked
4/20/02 6/16/02 Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma City, OK Booked
7/6/02 9/1/02 Chicago Botanical Garden, Chicago, IL Booked
9/21/02 2/2/03 Ecotarium, Worcester, MA Booked
2/22/03 4/20/03 Santa Cruz City Museum of Natural History, Santa Cruz, CA Booked
5/10/03 7/6/03 The Centennial Museum, El Paso, TX Booked
7/26/03 9/21/03 Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, TX Booked
10/11/03 12/7/03 Fellows Riverside Gardens, Youngstown, OH Booked
12/27/03 2/22/04 Elachee Nature Center, Gainesville, GA Booked
3/13/04 5/9/04 University of West Alabama, Livingston, AL Booked
5/29/04 7/25/04 Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, Athens, TX Booked
8/14/04 10/10/04 Stauth Memorial Museum, Montezuma, KS Booked
10/30/04 1/2/05 Marjorie Barrick Museum of Natural History, Las Vegas, NV Booked
1/22/05 3/20/05 Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, CA Booked
4/9/05 6/5/05 Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Pacific Grove, CA Booked
6/25/05 8/21/05 Spartanburg County Public Library, Spartanburg, SC Booked
9/10/05 11/6/05 Mountain Heritage Center, Cullowahee, NC Booked

Press Releases and Features


Vanishing Pollinators Presents an Intimate Glimpse of Plant and Animal Relationships Smithsonian Announces New National Tour

"Vanishing Pollinators: Photography by Carll Goodpasture," a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition, begins its national tour at the Douglas County Museum of History and Natural History in Roseburg, Ore. on Sept. 1. The exhibition continues through Oct. 28 in Roseburg before visiting other states including Utah, Florida and Oklahoma. The tour ends in fall 2005.

Organized by the Smithsonian National Zoological Park and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), "Vanishing Pollinators" is a collection of 34 color photographs by Goodpasture. A biologist and photographer, Goodpasture's images portray the beauty and grace of flowering plants and their threatened insect pollinators in an attempt to unite the energy of one of nature's most important biological systems with the power of visual art.

This exhibition is made possible in part by the Thomas K. and Katherine Reed Charitable Fund and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"Vanishing Pollinators" is an education art exhibit that alerts us to a worldwide decline in pollinator populations and the consequences of this decline. Scientists estimate that more than 60 percent of the world's species of flowering plants recruit animal pollinators to ensure their survival, reproduction and evolution. In exchange for the pollinators' role in aiding fertilization, plants provide both food and shelter to their pollinators. Goodpasture's photographs bring to life in startlingly clear detail this often-unseen interrelationship between plants and visiting insects. Studies have indicated that pollinator populations are declining worldwide at a rapid rate because of habitat destruction, industrial pollution, and misuse of pesticides. A celebration of the close relationship between flowering plants and the animals that depend on them, "Vanishing Pollinators" raises public awareness of a major environmental issue and reminds us of the inescapable link to the natural environment we share with other species.

The photographs in this exhibition were taken in a variety of locations in the Northern Hemisphere. The images were computer-edited from digitized 35 mm slides and printed by Nash Editions using IRIS inkjet printing technology.

Carll Goodpasture, who divides his time between Norway and California, has been photographing nature for more than 35 years. While best known in the biomedical sciences for discoveries in human clinical genetics, he is recognized as a skilled photographer with works exhibited internationally at museums such as the Oslo Botanical Garden and the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. As an entomologist, cytogeneticist and nature photographer, he combines the skills of the scientist with the concern of an ecologist.

The Smithsonian's National Zoo was founded in 1889. Approximately 3,500 animals of 475 different species currently comprise the animal collection. The 111-year-old, 163-acre park is located in Northwest Washington, D.C., 20 minutes from the National Mall by subway. About one-quarter of the animals are endangered and many are part of research and conservation efforts to preserve disappearing species.

SITES, a Smithsonian National Program, extends the Smithsonian collections, research and exhibitions across the nation and abroad. Since 1952, SITES has organized and circulated exhibitions on the arts, sciences and humanities.

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