A film and photography exhibit celebrating the freshwater life of Southern Appalachia
Story and photos by David Herasimtschuk
A true spectacle of biodiversity, freshwater hosts a
teeming collage of colors, shapes and behaviors. These flowing waters are
essential to life. Yet, as a society dependent upon this vital resource, how
often do we look beneath the water’s surface? Over the last ten years,
Freshwaters Illustrated has worked to document the vibrancy and wonder of life
found in the rivers and streams of Southern Appalachia, North America’s most
biologically-rich waters. This unique region harbors the world’s richest
temperate fish fauna and is home to the highest diversity of freshwater
mussels, snails, crayfish and salamanders on the planet. Highlighting this
great variety, Freshwaters Illustrated created its newest
feature film, Hidden Rivers, which
follows the work of conservation biologists and explorers throughout the region
and reveals both the beauty and vulnerability of these ecosystems.
Leopard frog in the Anacostia River watershed, Washington DC metro area.
Applications are now being accepted for NANPA Foundation’s Philip Hyde Grant, a $2,500 award given annually to an individual NANPA member actively pursuing completion of a peer-reviewed environmental project featuring natural photography as a medium of communication, nature appreciation and environmental protection. Application deadline is October 31, 2017 at 11:59pm EDT. Continue reading →
I awkwardly clamber up the cobble and bedrock of a swift Southern Appalachian River. My senses and thoughts are continually captivated by the life that call these forests home. Small slimy salamanders scurry along the bank as the heavy buzz of cicadas flood the sweet Southern air, all a pleasant reminder of the unique diversity that is supported by these ecosystems. However, to truly understand how special Southern Appalachia is you have to look below the water’s surface.
As I hike up river, occasionally looking for glimpses of what might be lurking in the small rapids and pools, all I see from above are fleeting dark shadows that seem to blend in with the patterns of the water. From the surface, these rivers can appear as lifeless bands of bedrock and boulders, as if that’s where the forest’s life stops. But looks can be deceiving, and as every photographer knows, perspective is everything. Hidden beneath the surface of Southern Appalachia’s rivers and streams lives one of the greatest assemblages of freshwater life found anywhere on this planet. Continue reading →