Words Matter: Photos and Interview Transcripts Are Key in Conservation Project

Ethiopia, Omo River Valley, village of Tourmi, after Hamar bull-jumping initiation ceremony.  Halewijn Scheuermann, Dutch tour guide, transports ititiate and his friends in his truck back to their homes. Photo by NWNL Director and Lead Photographer Alison M. Jones.
Ethiopia, Omo River Valley, village of Tourmi, after Hamar bull-jumping initiation ceremony. Halewijn Scheuermann, Dutch tour guide, transports initiate and his friends in his truck back to their homes. Photo by NWNL Director and Lead Photographer Alison M. Jones.

Sometimes a really critical piece of a conservation project isn’t the photography, the charismatic megafauna or stunning plants. Sometimes it’s something much more mundane or prosaic, like transcripts.

That’s where a NANPA grant was especially helpful for Sarah Ross, now a project manager at No Water No Life, an organization that investigates critical bodies of water, from rivers and estuaries to small springs.  In case studies of watersheds they look at the value of the resource as well as how it is being affected by issues large and small, from climate change and habitat degradation to pollution and nearby mining or timber operations.  

East Africa, Kenya: Mara River Basin, No Water No Life Expedition to the Mau Forest: South Western Mau Catchment, south of Kerisoi, Jacob Mwanduka talking with small scale farmers (not Ogiek) involved in (exotic) eucalyptus tree farming assisted by FOMAWA. Photo by NWNL Director and Lead Photographer Alison M. Jones.
East Africa, Kenya: Mara River Basin, No Water No Life Expedition to the Mau Forest: South Western Mau Catchment, south of Kerisoi, Jacob Mwanduka talking with small scale farmers (not Ogiek) involved in (exotic) eucalyptus tree farming assisted by FOMAWA. Photo by NWNL Director and Lead Photographer Alison M. Jones.

A key component of these case studies and spotlight investigations is an extensive series of interviews with the scientists study the water system, the people who use the water and the individuals and organizations working to preserve and improve the health of the watershed.  Sarah recently provided us with an update on her work:

Thanks to the support of the NANPA Foundation’s Philip Hyde Conservation Grant in 2015, my No Water No Life project (begun in 2006) has transcribed its 400+ “Voices of the River” interviews of watershed scientists, stakeholders and stewards. Currently, these NWNL interviews are being edited; illustrated with my expedition photos (2007 to 2019); and then transferred to our recently-updated Voices of the River website

Have an idea for your own grant-worthy project? Time’s running out, but you can still apply! Applications for this year’s Philip Hyde Conservation Grant and the Janie Moore Green Scholarship Grant are due no later than 11 PM EDT October 31, 2019. Click on the links for all the details and the application forms. These grant programs are managed by the NANPA Foundation.

I continue creating NWNL Weekly DROPS of News, NWNL blogs, lectures and exhibits. I will complete my documentation of 6 NWNL case study watersheds (3 in N America and 3 in Africa) and 4 NWNL spotlighted regions (California, Rome, Amboseli NP and Northern India). 

Washington, Columbia River Basin Expedition'11, Clark-Chinook Canoe Reparation Ceremony, Chinook Chief Ray Gardner wearing traditional Chinook rain hat. Photo by NWNL Director and Lead Photographer Alison M. Jones.
Washington, Columbia River Basin Expedition’11, Clark-Chinook Canoe Reparation Ceremony, Chinook Chief Ray Gardner wearing traditional Chinook rain hat. Photo by NWNL Director and Lead Photographer Alison M. Jones.

My remaining expeditions are: #69 in Oct’19 to Upper Missouri River Basin. and # 70 in Nov ’19 to Egypt’s Lower Nile River and Delta). Next year, 2020, will catapult me into my archives of NWNL photos, interviews and expedition journals to write a book on NWNL’s Watershed Voices and Views.