FROM THE NEW NANPA PRESIDENT

cbolt_portrait_jan2014One of the great joys that comes from time spent photographing nature is a kind of record of our discoveries: a visual diary of the moments that took our breath away or an account of those precious glimpses into the lives of species who share this great planet with us.

For me, joy doesn’t come just from making images. It also comes through the process of reflecting on how fortunate I’ve been to be present in the face of so much awe-inspiring beauty. There are times when I am filled with so much wonder that I feel I might explode. Through my work as a natural history and conservation photographer, I’ve made it my mission to share this passion with others so that it might result in more people coming together to cherish and protect the natural world.

Over the years, many people have asked me how they might also become more involved with conservation photography. I’ve found that many photographers feel that their own contributions might not be good enough because they don’t have the time, skill, funding or institutional support to travel to distant places where the front lines of conservation are perceived to exist.

While I believe these far-flung environmental issues are of the utmost importance, I also often think about the young person who is concerned about the health of a patch of forest in her neighborhood or the retiree who wants to document local pollinators, so that he might influence his community to use fewer pesticides. Do these actions, which may not make the headlines, matter as well?

My wholehearted belief is yes, these things matter a great deal. During my presidency, my primary mission will be to offer everyone who would like to use their photography to speak up for nature the opportunity to do so. We all have important viewpoints to share about why nature matters, and together, NANPA members can offer a resounding voice for why others should care too.

I’m incredibly fortunate to be following in the footsteps of two amazing past presidents. Gabby Salazar and Sean Fitzgerald have paved the way for this moment with a wealth of exciting outings that bring NANPA members together outdoors. We also have a beautiful new website, which makes it easier than ever to share information and use technology to connect our community and the causes that we hold dear. Thanks to these new developments, I feel certain that we are at a unique point in our organization’s history to speak up for the plants, animals and wild places that make our hearts sing.

I’m honored and humbled to be your new president. I can’t wait to see the great things that we’ll accomplish in the year to come.

Best Wishes,

Clay Bolt