“Bosque Wildlife” at Bosque del Apache NWR with Sandy Zelasko and Irene Hinke-Sacilotto

Situated along the Rio Grande River, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge covers more than 57,000 acres and is a major wintering ground for cranes and waterfowl. Refuge personnel manage the water levels of its wetlands and impoundments to simulate what was once the seasonal flow of water from the Rio Grande before the river was damned and the flow altered. To feed the huge number of birds visiting the refuge each year, nearby fields are planted with corn, winter wheat, millet, and other grains. Loop roads transect the refuge marshes and fields and provide prime sites for wildlife viewing and photography. Species that may be seen include shovelers, buffleheads, pintails, teal and other ducks; bald and golden eagles; kestrels and other hawks; turkey; meadowlarks; quail; roadrunners; coyotes; mule deer; and more. In November, large flocks of snow geese and sandhill cranes will be present. At night to escape predators, the birds flock to the marshes and shallow pools. With dawn, the snow geese and other waterfowl rise in mass from the wetlands and sweep overhead on their way to nearby fields to feed. Each day we will spend the early morning and late afternoon hours at the refuge photographing birds and many other species of wildlife which are present at the sanctuary.

CONSERVATION: Sockeye Salmon Spawning

Story and Photographs by Andrew Snyder

 

Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) making the jump up a small falls en route to spawning – Katmai, Alaska. © Andrew Snyder

 

Andrew Snyder is a new NANPA board member, a professional biologist and photographer, and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Mississippi.  He recently posted a piece on maptia.com, a website devoted to stories and photography of the natural world, about the annual spawning of sockeye salmon, which return to freshwater rivers from the Pacific Ocean each year to lay their eggs.

When sockeye salmon are born, they spend between one and two years in freshwater lakes or streams.  Then, they migrate to the ocean and spend two or three years there.  Once they’re ready to spawn, they head back to the river where they were born. Continue reading

Documenting the Anacostia

Story and Photography by Krista Schlyer

 

Great blue heron on the Anacostia River, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens National Park, Washington, D.C. © Krista Schlyer

 

As the 2016 recipient of the Philip Hyde Grant, I encourage all NANPA members engaged in a conservation photography project to apply. I was awarded the grant from the NANPA Foundation in support of my Anacostia Project, which aims to help residents of Washington, D.C. better understand and get engaged in restoration of the beleaguered Anacostia River watershed.

The Anacostia River, long known as the forgotten river, has, like so many of our urban rivers, suffered centuries of abuse and ecological insult–from deforestation for tobacco production in the 1700s, to toxins and sewage that accompanied a rapidly growing population ever since. Continue reading

Conservation: Alaskan Beauty

Story and Photography by Tyler Hartje

 

Winding rivers serve as the lifeblood of this dynamic ecosystem, carrying fresh water and nutrients to the tundra.  © Tyler Hartje

I couldn’t help but stare out the window during the short 45 minute flight from Anchorage to Iliamna — my home base for the next week as I sought to photograph the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) and maybe catch a glimpse of the elusive coastal wolf (Canis lupus). Coming from Seattle, Washington, I am no stranger to vast mountain ranges, winding rivers, and large bodies of water, but the Alaskan scenery left me awestruck. I couldn’t believe that I was going to spend the next week in this incredible place. Continue reading

Funding for Conservation

Story by John Nuhn, NANPA Foundation President

Blazing orange Tennessee shiners and yellow striped saffron shiners densely pack in around a stoneroller on a river chub nest in a small Smoky Mountain National Park river. © David Herasimtschuk

Blazing orange Tennessee shiners and yellow striped saffron shiners densely pack in around a stoneroller on a river chub nest in a small Smoky Mountain National Park river. © David Herasimtschuk

Philip Hyde Grant Offers Funding for Conservation Photography Projects

Imagine receiving $2,500 to assist your current conservation photography project! The NANPA Foundation’s Philip Hyde Grant could do just that. Continue reading

Hidden Rivers: The Freshwater Biodiversity of the Southern Appalachia

Story and Photography by David Herasimtschuk

Bright orange Tennessee shiners surround a stoneroller on a chub nest in the West Fork of the Pigeon River in Smoky Mountain National Park. Both species take advantage of nests built by chubs, and use them to deposit their eggs in. © David Herasimtschuk

Bright orange Tennessee shiners surround a stoneroller on a chub nest in the West Fork of the Pigeon River in Smoky Mountain National Park. Both species take advantage of nests built by chubs, and use them to deposit their eggs in. © David Herasimtschuk

 

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

Grant Supports Environmental Projects with Impact

Grant Supports Environmental Projects with Impact

Philip Hyde Environmental Grant applications accepted through October 30, 2015

Hellbenders © David Herasimtschuk, 2014 grant recipient.

Hellbenders © David Herasimtschuk, 2014 grant recipient.

What difference do your photographs make?

Applications are now available for NANPA’s Philip Hyde Environmental 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 30, 2015 at midnight PDT.

Past recipients include Paul Colangelo (2010), whose efforts to bring the remote and largely unseen Sacred Headwaters of British Columbia to the attention of lawmakers and citizens outside of the Tahltan First Nation played a key role in vacating Shell Oil Company from a million acres slated for methane development; Amy Gulick (2008), whose award-winning book Salmon in the Trees, traveling exhibits, lectures and YouTube videos tell a hopeful story of Alaska’s Tongass rain forest, a rare ecosystem where salmon grow trees and support an abundance of bears and bald eagles; and C.C. Lockwood (2008), whose photographs showcase disappearing swamplands that threatened the culture and economy of Louisiana, as featured in the PBS documentary Atchafalaya Houseboat.

As applicants for the Philip Hyde Environmental Grant, these photographers successfully demonstrated the ways in which their still photographs would make a difference to specific decision-makers wrestling with a timely issue. Additionally, at the time of application, these projects were already well underway, with established collaborations, realistic schedules and practical budgets. These factors made for compelling applications that fared well in scoring.

For complete guidelines, link to the online application and additional tips for applicants, please visit http://nanpafoundation.org/philip-hyde-environmental-grant/.

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Photography Helps Puma Conservation by Jeff Parker

© Jeff Parker

© Jeff Parker

Images and Article by Jeff Parker

A large male puma makes his way down the hill to the kill we’ve spent the last hour watching. For the next 45 minutes, we have the privilege of observing the interactions between this adult male, a female, and two 1-year-old siblings as the pumas work at consuming a guanaco killed the day before.

The biologist with us at the photo shoot—a big cat specialist—had never seen such behavior before. Most research has been conducted on pumas in North America, where adult males such as this one—likely the mate of the female and the father of the two cubs—don’t hang out with, and especially don’t dine with, others. This behavior in South America may be because the ecological fitness of the habitat minimizes the sort of competitive forces we see in more northern areas. Continue reading

The Captive Project by Gaston Lacombe

Captive - Sea Turtle © Gaston Lacombe

Captive – Sea Turtle © Gaston Lacombe

When I presented my project on rewilding at the recent San Diego NANPA Summit, it was a Lightning Talk, so I only had six minutes to address the audience. I did not have time to explain a bit more about why I started a photo project about releasing animals back into the wild. It stems in part from spending years working on another project, which deals with less fortunate animals living in captivity. After photographing animals who had lost all freedom, I felt the need to experience animals returning to nature. But still, the project I call “Captive” is a quest I feel passionate about, especially as I have seen my photos play an integral role in the current public discourse over reforming and rethinking zoos.

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