SCS Illustration Contest: Natural Patterns of the Tongass, Mycelium and Dendritic Patterns

The Tongass is a place of patterns that repeat at different scales. Branching patterns are found at all scales on the Tongass. On a grand scale, these patterns are seen in bays and fjords on a map, in the rivers that flow through watersheds, and in the glaciers plowing down through the mountains. At a medium scale, these are the dendritic patterns seen in the networks of stream in estuaries, in the branches and roots of trees, and the trails of wildlife through the forest. At a micro-scale, these patterns repeat in the mycelial web of fungi that feed the living trees and in the decay of the logs on the ground. in the veins of leaves, and in the filter feeding organs of intertidal creatures. To see photos of some of our favorite dendritic patterns, check out the SCS web gallery below.

The dendritic patterns we see on the Tongass are all pathways for wildlife and nutrients. Salmon travel up the branches of the bays to the river mouths. They travel up the rivers and its streams to reach their spawning grounds. Bears pick up dying salmon and carry it through the trails of the forest. The nutrients of the decaying salmon are picked up by fungal networks and are delivered to tree roots. The tree roots carry the nutrients up the trunk and then into the tree branches and to the needles. The pattern of interconnectedness repeats itself over and over again.

The patterns seen across the Tongass are visible manifestations of the web of life that connects the oceans with the land with all the creatures of the Forest and Waters. They are beautiful in both their infinite fineness and in their grand majesty. And they are intriguing and inspirational to many who live in and visit the Tongass.

We need help illustrating this pattern and telling the story through art! Help us with a design and your art could be featured in the next SCS t-shirt design or web graphic.

"Your submission must be two dimensional, no larger than 12in. by 12in., and must be ready for a scanner (mixed media is okay, but please keep in mind that we will use a high-quality scanner to make the submission digital). We encourage you to incorporate Rhonda Reany's Coho Salmon Design to represent the journey of salmon from the forest to the ocean and back to the trees; however, it is not required." Download a copy below.


1st prize: SCS Double Salmon Design Hoodie

2nd Prize: Copy of Amy Gulick's Salmon in the Trees Book

3rd Prize: SCS Double Salmon T-Shirt

First 50 entrants will receive a camelback waterbottle

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Rules: here

Rhonda Reany Salmon Design: here

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