The Beaver and the Willow (2023)

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Program Note

The Beaver and The Willow was written for the 2023 Wyoming Festival at the UW-NPS Research Station. The music was inspired by recent research conducted at the station and the resident beavers at Schwabacher Landing nearby. These beavers play an important role in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, supporting diverse willow-meadow habitats and contributing to the beautiful landscapes in Grand Teton National Park.

In The Beaver and the Willow, first we see a willow tree — tall and swaying — happy in its thicket. Then, we see a beaver, moseying along in search of a tasty meal and some good, strong building materials. The beaver sets its sights on the willow, and marches toward it. The willow sees the beaver coming, with its big teeth and strong jaw, and protests its advances. The willow stands tall and strong, but defenseless; it is no match for the beaver. When the willow falls, the forest mourns. But, as the beaver leaves, small twigs that fell from the willow begin to stir… and the willow is reborn, stronger and wiser.