On Thursday, Mar. 21, Protectors of Tule Springs, Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada and the City of North Las Vegas welcomed a group of elected officials, community leaders and volunteers to see firsthand the work in progress on the Monumental Mammoth sculpture.
Local Gold Award Girl Scout Tahoe Mack, who conceived the project as her Gold Award project, announced that she and Protectors of Tule Springs have been awarded a 2019 Black Rock City Honoraria Grant to take the sculpture to Burning Man in August. Their proposal was one of only 70 selected out of 340 proposals.
The public art project is being developed in partnership with Protectors of Tule Springs and will eventually mark a trailhead in the City of North Las Vegas leading into Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument.
U.S. Representative Dina Titus worked closely with the Protectors to enact legislation to establish the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument in 2014, saying “I was pleased to be one of the original co-sponsors of the legislation that created the monument, the first monument in Nevada.” She thanked the Protectors for their hard work lobbying and educating to help preserve these lands.
“We are excited to have Tahoe’s life-sized mammoth become the gateway to North Las Vegas’ Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument,” said North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee during the event. “I can’t think of a better way to highlight the rich history that’s in our backyard – thousands of years of fossils from mammoths, camels, bison, horses and wolves. How many communities can say they are home to that?”
The Monumental Mammoth structure is being constructed at XL Steel which has donated equipment and is also providing work space for the artists to create the sculpture. Now that the frame is constructed, work on the “skin” has begun, which is made from repurposed metal retrieved during the public cleanups of Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument.
Mack has enlisted the help of two well-known artists to bring her vision to life, Luis Varelo-Rico and Dana Albany. “Art is my passion, and I have been learning so much from these amazingly talented artists. For instance, I’ve never welded before. And now to have the chance to showcase my art at Burning Man is like a dream come true.”
Protectors works closely with Girl Scout Troop 41 who have been previously honored for their work on various educational and fundraising activities for the National Monument. Dawn Mack, the mother of Tahoe Mack, is the leader of Troop 41.
U.S. Representative Susie Lee, one of the original leaders of local Girl Scout Troop 41 to which Mack belongs, commended the Gold Award Girl Scout, saying “To see the leadership you’ve demonstrated has truly been a gift to me.”
Kimberly Trueba, chief executive officer for Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada, added further praise, saying “When people think of Girl Scouts, they think of powerful leaders, like Girl Scout alum and Congresswoman Susie Lee. And from this day forward, they will also think of Tahoe Mack, Gold Award Girl Scout.”
Sherri Grotheer, member of the Protectors of Tule Springs (POTS) board of directors since 2012, shared the fundraising goals for the project. Thanks to partners like XL Steel and NV Energy, Protectors have received nearly $150,000 in cash and in-kind donations to begin work on this project. “But in order to finish the sculpture in time for Burning Man in August, we need to raise an additional $80,000 by June. We are calling on our community to help us bring this public art project to life.” A variety of tax-deductible donation opportunities are available through Protectors of Tule Springs, or contributions can be made through a Go Fund Me account started by Mack.
North Las Vegas City Councilman Richard Cherchio, a supporter of the project since its inception, praised the importance of public art projects like the Monumental Mammoth, saying “I knew it would happen! This is a culmination of a tremendous amount of effort by a lot of dedicated people. To have a public art project like this located in the City of North Las Vegas is something really special.”
Gesturing to the 16-ft. sculpture towering behind her, Tahoe Mack said, “This is my Girl Scout Gold Award project! It’s amazing to see what can happen when a community can come together to celebrate Nevada’s rich history through art.” After receiving a standing ovation at the event, she added, “Small girls can do big things: all it takes is a dream and hard work and you can do anything. Now I want to invite everybody to be a part of this project and help us finish it.”
The community is asked to donate funds or needed supplies and even lend a hand with the creation of the metal skin. Click here for more information on how to get involved.