North American Nature Photography Association

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Environment Committee

Charge: Keep members informed and motivated toward using their skills and knowledge for environmental protection. Review applications and make recommendations to the Foundation Board for the annual Philip Hyde Grant.

This was one of the first committees established. Few groups know more than nature photographers about the beauty, complexity, and endangered status of nature. Many members have stated the obvious importance of being active in environmental protection since our photographic subjects and locations are at risk.

Issues this committee is concerned with range from the use of photographs as conservation and activist tools, the ethics of how pictures are made and captioned, to questions of photography's contribution to pollution.

Past Projects -

  1. The Environment Committee conducted a survey of members about the most important environmental issues confronting and of interest to them. This has been used by all of NANPA to help guide programs and policies.

  2. The mission of the North American Nature Photography Association, adopted by the Board of Directors in 1995, includes the charge "...to promote nature photography ... as a medium of communication for the sciences, nature appreciation, and environmental protection." The Environment Committee prepared an Environmental Statement that expands on the NANPA Mission Statement regarding environmental protection. The NANPA Board of Directors approved the Environmental Statement in January 2002. The Environmental Statement describes the member attributes that will allow us to individually further the NANPA mission and collectively make a difference. The statement specifically encourages independent environmental activities on the part of NANPA members.

  3. The committee encourages member involvement in environmental issues. Environment Committee members have published articles in Currents, including the recent "Photography is still a powerful tool for activism" and participated in programs about how to use pictures for environmental action and how to work with conservation groups. "Fax on Demand" or mail-out packets have been available for distribution from the NANPA Resource Center, since spring 1997. These include a list of "Hidden Forests" in need of photos and friends, the packet on local nature camera clubs and using photos in environmental campaigns and information on silver recovery from spent photographic solutions.

  4. The Environment Committee recommended and the Board approved NANPA joining the Alaska Coalition via the Alaska Wilderness League. The Alaska Wilderness League endorses the goal of protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling and supports efforts to add its 1.5 million-acre Coastal Plain to our nation's wilderness preservation system. They also support efforts to protect the Tongass and Chugach National Forests.

  5. The Environment Committee worked with the Ethics committee on the NANPA Statement on Captioning and continues to provide important guidance to other NANPA committees and members on issues of environmental ethics and actions.

  6. We are active in coordinating NANPA's interaction with environmental groups and other service organizations (Society of Environmental Journalists, etc.). Among the tangible results of this is a growing environmental issues discussion at annual Summits.

  7. We developed the application process for the Phillip Hyde Grant Award, a $1000 grant made by NANPA's Foundation to photographers working on environmental projects.

Current and On-going Projects -

  1. 2007 SUMMIT EVENT - The NANPA Environment Committee invites all 2007 NANPA Summit attendees to a Community Outreach Event celebrating the work of conservation photographers and their collaborators. Admission will be charged to the public to raise funds for a conservation project; NANPA members will be admitted free. For more information see the Community Outreach Event Page.

  2. Discover Life in America (DLIA) is the non-profit organization that is overseeing the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. DLIA's mission is to discover every species that exists in the Park and make this information available to the public via various web sites. NANPA is supporting DLIA by developing a partnership to link NANPA members with ATBI scientists and to support the ATBI Photo Workshops. To learn more, see the DLIA web site at http://www.dlia.org/. There is also training and registration information for volunteer photographers at http://www.dlia.org/dlia/volunteer.html.

  3. The committee develops recommendations to the Summit Advisory Council regarding environmental agenda items for future Annual Summit meetings. The recommendations are designed to ensure that environmental topics will be a regular feature of keynote addresses and breakout sessions.

  4. We are active in promoting and coordinating NANPA's interaction with environmental and conservation organizations. Among the tangible results of this is a growing environmental issues discussion at annual Summits.

  5. At the 2004 Annual Summit in Portland, the Environment Committee set up the Environmental Corner in the Exhibit Hall. The Environment Corner provided informational materials from environmental and conservation organizations in the northwest United States. This information served to inform to our members about local issues and demonstrated the fact that these organizations have an on-going need for high quality images. We intend to have an Environmental Corner at the 2005 summit in Charlotte and at the 2006 summit in Denver. The goal is to encourage the creation of more linkages between our members and these organizations.

  6. The Environment Committee wants to promote information sharing among our members. Many of our members are involved with professional and pro-bono projects for environmental and conservation organizations or budget-constrained government organizations. If members who have done projects can share information about their projects with others, then we assume that our members will learn about why these projects are rewarding and how to go about doing such projects. Moreover, we hope they’ll be motivated to do their own projects. Over the next few years we hope to use member surveys, web site message boards, web site informational pages, guidance documents and Annual Summit breakout sessions to further this goal.

  7. The Environment Committee provides regular Environmental Alerts to our members via the Environmental Alerts page on the NANPA web site. These alerts are meant to inform members of critical issues affecting the environment that we photograph. We encourage members to research the issues and make their own decisions.

The Future -

The Environment Committee is at the heart of NANPA. It's not about making money or getting published or the latest equipment but rather about our mutual love for nature and the Earth that drew us into nature photography. Each of us is already doing our part, but there is more to do, more to learn, more to teach, and more to protect.

What we really need are active leaders for the environmental projects we'd like to do. The projects we hope to undertake will be focused on:

  • Networking among members regarding their environmental projects, as noted.
  • Naturalist and natural science training for photographers.
  • Continuing to develop connections between NANPA members and local environmental organizations that need help with photography, as noted above.
  • Providing NANPA volunteer assistance in parks and refuges that have significant public photography opportunities or projects.

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