Alumni Profile: George Bumann
August 15, 2012
George Bumann (’02 M.S. in wildlife science) has made a name for himself with his stunning wildlife artwork. Since earning his degree, he has become a professional sculptor, working out of his studio in Gardiner, Mont., at the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park. He lives there with his wife Jenny (’95 B.S. in wildlife science), and their son George in a unique home — an 1890s railroad station that was the last stop on the Northern Pacific Railroad before it reached Yellowstone.
“The ‘day job’ portion of my work these days is in fine art bronze sculpture, and the rest is spent out observing wildlife, sketching and sculpting from life in Yellowstone,” explained Bumann. “Some of the latter has found me climbing up trees to escape unruly moose, darting away from stampeding bison, jumping into the truck as elk walk by at arm’s length, and standing by, as in one case this past autumn, when a cow elk decided to eat part of my sculpture then knock it off the sculpting stand and into the dirt, to the delight of onlooking tourists.”
As passionate about education as he is about art, Bumann has taught art and natural history programs since 1990 and offers a number of formal education programs and guest lectures on ecology and art at Yellowstone. “It was the synergy of the skills and lessons from Virginia Tech fused with my own zeal for education and art that opened the niche I enjoy now as a fine artist and educator,” he remarked.
Bumann has guided all manner of outdoor education programs, from 10-day backpacking courses and daylong youth and university programs, to personalized tours for various organizations and multi-day college-level field seminars on Yellowstone wildlife ecology. He has also conducted teacher workshops and training sessions for National Park Service and Xanterra interpreters on a variety of topics. Many of these activities have been planned through the Yellowstone Association, where his wife is the director of education.
“For what I’m doing now, striving to connect people to wild places through my art and educational programming, Yellowstone has presented unlimited opportunities that have allowed education of citizens from our nation and those from around the globe,” he said.
Bumann’s sculptures can be found on display throughout the United States and Europe, including the permanent collections at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Mont. See examples of his artwork and a schedule of courses at www.GeorgeBumann.com.