Story and photographs by Beth Huning, 2011 Philip Hyde Grant Recipient
As photographers, many of us are good at telling our conservation stories through imagery. We use our photos to support projects that protect or restore the earth, its ecosystems, and inhabitants. Philip Hyde was a pioneer in using photographs for conservation and I have long admired his achievements. A native Californian, he was passionate about protecting the American West, and his photographs were influential in many conservation campaigns.
Many photographers have launched conservation campaigns, following in Philip Hyde’s footsteps, visually raising awareness of a conservation issue that deeply concerns them. In our cameras we literally have, at our fingertips, the tools to convey a sense of urgency for a cause and rally support to save a species, protect wilderness areas and natural ecosystems, or stop destructive practices. However, very few of us have all the financial resources we need to finish and promote our projects.
Every year, the NANPA Foundation’s Philip Hyde Grant provides funds for an urgent or worthwhile conservation project. This grant can be the critical boost needed to start or finish a key phase of your project or to promote your cause with the type of audiences that can make a difference.
While it may not seem like a lot of money, the Philip Hyde Grant provides many benefits.
- First and foremost, being selected by your peers lends instant credibility to your project.
- Just receiving the recognition is helpful in raising awareness. If you are selected, use it to your advantage! It’s a hook for local media and a reason to invite you to speak to groups.
- Receiving a grant provides leverage for earning other grants and awards.
Don’t worry if you aren’t selected the first time you apply—you’re likely up against some other terrific projects. Seek feedback, and consider applying again if your proposal scored well. It may be that there was a very urgent and timely project that needed the additional support that year. Or the competition may have been exceptionally tight. Just keep your project moving and consider the application process a way to make your case, as well as gain visibility and recognition for the conservation issue you are undertaking.
I am proud to have received the NANPA Foundation’s 2011 Philip Hyde Grant for my project, “Turning the Tide—San Francisco Bay Area Wetland Restoration.” The grant money was immensely valuable, as it allowed me to complete multimedia, web-based wetland tours and provide photographs for the exhibits and publications that followed. The photos were also used in a campaign to raise public awareness of and build a constituency for some of the largest wetland restoration projects on the West Coast. Of course, the Philip Hyde Grant didn’t cover all the expenses, but gave me the leverage to raise funds from other corporations, foundations, and environmental organizations.
To repair 150 years of degraded habitats and restore ecological function to a major wetland area takes large amounts of money and public support. Not only did we seek state and federal funds for restoration, we also launched a public campaign for a regional parcel assessment (a type of property tax) to be used for wetlands restoration. To pass that, an outreach campaign targeting several different audiences was absolutely necessary. We were thrilled when the proposal received over 70% voter approval in June 2016.
The Philip Hyde Grant helped us do so much more than just completing the web-based tours it helped fund. The grant helped us leverage results, raise public awareness, expand our outreach and successfully advocate for a ballot initiative.
Learn more about or apply for the Philip Hyde Grant.
Learn more about the Janie Moore Greene Scholarship Grant, awarded to a student currently enrolled in, or who has been accepted to, an institution of higher education specializing in the study of photography through the generosity of Janie Moore Greene.
Beth Huning has been interested in photography, nature and conservation, and other cultures her entire life. She leads natural history tours, teaches photographic workshops and gives presentations on nature, photography and environmental conservation. Beth has worked for the National Audubon Society and National Park Service in Yosemite and currently coordinates the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture, a public-private partnership implementing the federal bird conservation plans to protect and restore wetlands in San Francisco Bay and along the California coast. Her photography hangs in galleries and appears in books and magazines. She serves on NANPA’s Environment Committee and is a former Membership Chair. You can see more of her work at her website, http://www.bethhuning.com.