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7.14.14 ~ silver on the sage…

by | Jul 14, 2014 | Baldy Mountain, Philmont, Philmont Ranger, sage

This past weekend I had the honor — and I mean honor — of being awarded the Philmont Staff Association’s Silver Sage Award.

First awarded in 2005, the Silver Sage Award is presented annually by the Philmont Staff Association in recognition of distinguished and exceptional personal service or contributions of an important and lasting nature, by any individual or organization, for the benefit of Philmont Scout Ranch, Philmont Program participants, and/or Philmont staff.

Here’s why the PSA generously voted to present me with the award (and why so many of my paintings are of the Philmont country, and so many of my art patrons have a connection to Philmont!)

Dawn Chandler served six years on the Philmont staff. After spending four years as a ranger and training ranger, in 1988 she became the first female backcountry camp director in Philmont’s 50-year history. She returned in 1989 for a second summer as CD at Abreu before going on to complete a master’s degree in fine arts. After moving to Taos to become a painter and artist, Dawn returned to Philmont in 1997 as the PSA’a first executive director. In her six years in that position, she quadrupuled the association’s membership, established its first office on the ranch, transformed its magazine, and earned the respect and acceptance of ranch management. Now an established Santa Fe artist, Dawn continues to capture the magic of Philmont in paintings of its scenic grandeur.  (From the Silver Sage Award program, July 12, 2014)

Sharing the stage with me were two extraordinary women: Kathy Leach and Nancy Wells. Through most of the last century, women were not allowed to work on Philmont’s trails or in its backcountry. That started to change in 1972 when Kathy and Nancy were hired to be Philmont’s first female Rangers.  Forty years later and these pioneering women are still inspiring, kick-ass goddesses in my eyes.

My friend Mark Stinnett — a former president of the PSA and the one who actually hired me to be the executive director all those years ago — introduced each of us. He put together a top notch slideshow for each of us, and in mine included many of my paintings of Philmont and Wheeler; it was fun — and touching, for I wasn’t expecting this. 

Wonderful, too, to have so many friends there. Thank you, all of you.

A highlight yesterday morning was spending time talking to Kathy Leach and her husband — and adding them to my list of art patrons. They took home with them the painting below: Monsoon Season in Baldy Country (below). It just seems right that a former Ranger would want a painting representing the depths of Philmont’s backcountry.

Philmont and the members of the PSA made me feel like a rock star this weekend. Thank you all so much. I remain deeply moved.

monsoon season comes to baldy country ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on canvas ~ 12″ x 18″ ~ copyright dawn chandler 2014