Be the Change, Make a Difference

A least tern feeds a fish to his young while the mate watches and broods another chick under her wing. 1200mm, 1/1000, f/8, 1/3 EV, ISO 250 © Mary Lundeberg
A least tern feeds a fish to his young while the mate watches and broods another chick under her wing. 1200mm, 1/1000, f/8, 1/3 EV, ISO 250 © Mary Lundeberg

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Are you a change agent? Do you want to make a difference? Now’s your chance! In honor of its 25th birthday, the NANPA Foundation set an ambitious goal to raise $25,000 and is well over half way there. This week, an anonymous donor offered to match, dollar for dollar up to $2,500, all donations to the NANPA Foundation.

We often don’t think of ourselves as change agents and difference makers outside of ethical conservation photography. Certainly, that can influence people, places, and policies but, if we only think of our ability to make change happen through our photos and stories, we’re missing other opportunities. Enter NANPA Foundation and this week your contribution will have twice the impact!

Fundraising update: More than $4,000 was gifted in response to the anonymous donor’s challenge this week, helping us earn the full match. Now we have less than $5,000 left to raise to hit that ambitious 25th birthday goal. Learn more >

The NANPA Foundation was organized in 1996 “exclusively for educational, scientific and charitable purposes.” It promotes “research, training, and public education on nature photography” through meetings, publications, scholarships, awards, grants and other projects for both nature photography enthusiasts and the general public. You may know the Foundation through one of its signature programs.

Photo by Morgan Heim 2017 Philip Hyde Grant winner
“Garbage” Teams break down an encampment at a grow in Plumas National Forest. During this reclamation effort, crews cleaned up almost 14,000 lbs, or 7 tons, of trash from four sites. © Morgan Heim 2017 Philip Hyde Grant winner.

Philip Hyde Conservation Grant

Each year, the Foundation awards a $2,500 Philip Hyde Conservation Grant to a NANPA member working on a peer-reviewed environmental project consistent with NANPA’s and the Foundation’s mission. Often, this grant is a key element that enables a project to be completed or gets a project past a major challenge. A look at the list of past winners shows a wide variety of important projects and a group of grantees who are master nature photographers. Last year’s winner, Mary Lundeberg, recently reported on how her Share the Shore project to raise awareness of human interaction with shore-nesting birds had been adopted in local schools. The 2019 winner, Clay Bolt, is studying the effects of climate change on bumble bees in New Mexico’s Sky Islands.

Previous winner’s projects have gone on to become traveling exhibitions, books, and films. These projects live long beyond their initial completion. Your donations made that happen. Some projects might not have been completed without the NANPA Foundation grant. Others might have lacked critical extra data that provided a more complete understanding.

Grasshopper peers over the top of a flower. © Kelsey Gramza (2018 Janie Moore Greene Scholarship Grant)
Grasshopper peers over the top of a flower. © Kelsey Gramza (2018 Janie Moore Greene Scholarship Grant)

Janie Moore Greene Scholarship Grant

Awarded biannually, the Janie Moore Green Scholarship Grant is a $2,000 scholarship awarded to a student specializing in the study of photography at an institution of higher learning. This award is funded through the generosity of Janie Moore Greene and has jumpstarted the careers of several well-known nature photographers. The very first scholarship recipient was Jon Holloway, now a nature and fine art photographer, a photography teacher at Lander University in Greenwood, SC, and owner of the Sundance Gallery. Jon has served on NANPA’s board, and various committees, including the College Scholarship Program Committee. When  someone goes from student to teacher, from receiving a grant to helping award one, well, that’s a great example of the way a NANPA Foundation grant can bring lasting returns to NANPA and the nature photography community.

Photo of a completed photo blind, showing the ramp up to the blind, and the inside of the blind, summer 2021. Photo credit: Alachua Conservation Trust
The completed photo blind, summer 2021. Photo credit: Alachua Conservation Trust

Photo blinds

Since 1997, the NANPA Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has provided grants that helped build 47 photo blinds in 29 states. The newest, at the Alachua Conservation Trust’s Prairie Creek Preserve near Gainesville, Florida, was completed earlier this year. In addition to providing a place to photograph birds without disturbing them, this blind is located near a heavily trafficked trail and encourages everyone to stop and take a closer look at the natural world and wildlife in the preserve. In so doing, the general public can develop a greater appreciation for nature and become vested in preserving it.

A natural extension of the photo blinds program is NANPA Foundation’s sponsorship of the special award for photos taken within a national park or wildlife reserve in the Share the View International Nature Photography Contest.

Don Carter (back row, far left) with 2016 NANPA High School Scholarship Students at the Tremont Institute in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo credit: Karine Aigner.
Don Carter (back row, far left) with 2016 NANPA High School Scholarship Students at the Tremont Institute in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo credit: Karine Aigner.

Other scholarship programs

The NANPA Foundation also supports NANPA’s High School Scholarship Program and NANPA’s Summit College Photography Scholarship Program. Past high school scholarship winners include Gabby Salazar, 2014-2015 NANPA president (listen to Salazar’s interview on The Nature Photographer on the Wild & Exposed podcast) and internationally-known portrait and fashion photographer Lindsay Adler.

Participants in the Summit College Photography Scholarship Program get real-world experience in creating multimedia projects for clients, such as the 2019 overview video about and for the Clark County (Nevada) Wetlands Park that helps the park tell its story and educates the public about the value of wetlands to the area’s plant and animal life as well as to responsible human recreation. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, both programs have been on hiatus.

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Portfolio reviews

Any NANPA member can benefit from the NANPA Foundation’s online portfolio reviews. For only $45, you get 30 minutes, one-on-one with a top professional photographer or agent to go over a selection of your images and provide feedback and advice.

As you can see, the NANPA Foundation’s various programs reach a wide audience and make a difference, whether supporting up-and-coming photographers, educating the public, conserving wildlife and nature, or helping NANPA members improve their own photography.

Whether it’s #GivingTuesday or the anonymous donor’s matching grant or the wide breadth of programs supported by the NANPA Foundation that inspires you, you can make an impact on the future of nature photography with your donation. You can be a change agent, whatever amount you give. Donate today and help the Foundation meet its goals!