North American Nature Photography Association

Connecting The Nature Photography Community


Ethics Committee


One item that attracted a lot of attention at the Summit was the Ethical Field Practices sign developed by the original Advocacy Committee. The purpose of this sign was to educate and improve the behavior of visitors on public lands. This was to help alleviate some of the frustration that we felt as a result of witnessing inappropriate behavior by park and refuge visitors.

Physically, the sign is 11" by 14", and made of heavy-gauge aluminum or plastic (used in saltwater areas). The sign contains a condensed version of the "Principles of Ethical Field Practices" which was developed by the Ethics Committee and approved by the Board of Directors in 1996. The text of the sign is as follows:

Respect the routine needs of animals
Learn patterns of animal behavior
Know when not to interfere with animal life cycles
If an animal shows stress, move away
Acquaint yourself with the fragility of the ecosystem
Stay on trails that are intended to lessen impact
Treat others courteously
Avoid preventable mishaps
Report inappropriate behavior to the proper authorities
Don't argue with those who don't care; report them


There were several questions asked about the sign during the Summit Town Meeting. Sign developer and former Resource Committee Chairperson, Stephen Maka, was on hand to answer these questions. Stephen encouraged NANPA members to contact state and local park, wilderness, forest, refuge and nature preserve managers and bring this sign to their attention.

However, NANPA members were advised not to contact managers of federal lands. Use of signs in federal parks, refuges, forests and preserves in the U.S. is determined by their respective headquarters in Washington D.C. NANPA is in the process of discussing these signs with the various federal land management agencies.

If a state or local land manager has expressed an interest in posting this sign on their property, NANPA members are encouraged to donate the sign and work with the manager in installing it. Perhaps NANPA members can involve local scouting, civic or church groups. DO NOT post these signs without obtaining permission and directions from the land manager first!

At this time, the sign is only available in English. Further details about the sign can be found in the July-August 1998 issue of Currents Newsletter. Additional information about the sign will be posted on the NANPA Web site as it becomes available. An online order form is also planned. The cost of the sign is currently $10.00 plus shipping and handling. For additional information about the sign or to inquire about placing an order (even if you already submitted an inquiry at the Summit), please contact the NANPA Office.

NANPA is taking orders for signs to determine the amount to be manufactured and that process may take 30 to 60 days before distribution.

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