The Songs of Great Salt Lake

If the marshes and mudflats of Great Salt Lake could transform into music, how would it sound?

If the marshes and mudflats of Great Salt Lake could transform into music, how would it sound? Hear (and see) for yourself in this ‘Songscape’ music video sponsored in part by Great Salt Lake Audubon.

In 2017, Great Salt Lake Audubon Chapter unveiled a new grant program in which they invited applicants to submit a proposal for funding of up to $1,000. The first round of funding in October saw a healthy response of applications. Songscape: Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge was one of the three recipients.

Songscape is a songwriting retreat where musicians are immersed in the beauty and history of public lands for one week. Afterward, artists create a song and music video that captures the magic of the natural features and recreational opportunities in the area. Developed by the non-profit Sustain, the Songscape program aims to create new audiences and foster appreciation of public lands.

The music video was shot on location at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge last October. The refuge sits in Bear River Bay, one of five globally Important Bird Areas at Great Salt Lake, which also is also designated a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site. The nearly 80,000-acre refuge and nearby wetlands provide critical habitat for millions of migrating birds, including over 50 percent of the North American Snowy Plover population. American Avocets and Black-necked Stilts nest by the thousands along refuge dikes and roads. 

Indie rock artist Conner Youngblood spent five days at the Bear River Refuge taking in all it has to offer- birding, air boating, fishing, and learning about the area’s ecology and history. Inspired by the refuge, Conner turned those experiences into a new song. His experience is chronicled in the January 2018 issue of Southwest Magazine.

“Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is a gem,” said Heather Dove, president of Great Salt Lake Audubon. “We were happy to participate in showcasing this remarkable resource. The refuge is a great example of why the preservation of these special places for the public is so important.”

Sustain is working to build more relationships with bands, land organizations (land trusts, non-profits and government agencies), and recording studios.  Learn more about Songscape here.