In the closing days of 2020, the world lost a number of giants, among which were Archbishop Desmond Tutu, naturalist and author Edward O. Wilson, and ecologist and conservation biologist Thomas E. Lovejoy III. Wilson and Lovejoy massively influenced our understanding of the world around us and their work was profoundly important to conservation and biodiversity. Dr. Lovejoy was also an honorary member of the Board of Trustees of the NANPA Foundation, alongside Jane Goodall and Dewitt Jones. He was recruited by Jane Kinne in the early 2000s, recalls Foundation President John Nuhn.
Maybe you saw last month’s matching challenge for the NANPA Foundation but couldn’t participate (but if you did, we thank you!). Between holiday gifts and fundraising pleas from just about every charity and nonprofit organization in the universe, not to mention all our normal daily expenses, it is a tough time to scrape together yet another donation. But, what if you could make a contribution to support the work of the NANPA Foundation all year long, without having to spend a penny more than you’re already spending? That’s the idea behind NANPA Foundation’s AmazonSmile program.
I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving with family and friends.
I can’t believe it is now December, and another year is coming to a close. When I reflect on last year at this time compared to this year, and what I expected for this year, it is hard to believe we are still in the middle of a pandemic, climate change is more prevalent than ever, ships with Christmas goods are stacked up along the West Coast, and the economy is showing signs of, well, let’s hope that doesn’t become a struggle too. In the last month I saw polar bears waiting for ice that was at least two weeks later than the average freeze up. And just last week Denver broke a record of 223 days without measurable snow, and there is no snow in the 7-day forecast.
Are you a change agent? Do you want to make a difference? Now’s your chance! In honor of its 25th birthday, the NANPA Foundation set an ambitious goal to raise $25,000 and is well over half way there. This week, an anonymous donor offered to match, dollar for dollar up to $2,500, all donations to the NANPA Foundation.
As we head into the Thanksgiving weekend, I am reminded of a relative who used to make each guest at her holiday table say what they were thankful for. But, in year two of a pandemic that’s taken so many lives and disrupted travel and business, are there things we’re still grateful for? Yes, Virginia, there are many things for a nature photographer to be thankful for. Vaccines, for one, that are gradually helping life, travel, and our businesses return to a more normal state, and, in no particular order:
Since 1997 the NANPA Foundation has been funding the construction of photo blinds on public land through grants. To date, 47 blinds have been built in 29 states. As photographers, we tend to think of blinds as safe, ethical, and responsible places to observe and photograph wildlife. The animals are not disturbed by humans in the blinds and are more likely to engage in their natural behaviors. All good for the nature photographer! But there’s a lot more to blinds than just photography.
The Philip Hyde Conservation Grant is a $2,500 grant awarded by the NANPA Foundation to a NANPA member pursuing a peer-reviewed environmental project that aligns with NANPA’s and the NANPA Foundation’s missions. Applications for the 2021 grant are being accepted through 11 p.m. EDT on October 29th, so there’s still time to apply. Past recipients have been engaged in projects covering a wide gamut of locations, ecosystems, plants, and animals. As part of their responsibilities, grant awardees periodically report on their progress. Last month, 2020 grant recipient Mary Lundeberg reported on her work protecting nesting shorebirds on Florida beaches. Today, we hear from more previous awardees on how their projects are progressing.
Collecting Instagram likes and compliments from mom and aunt Betty might feel good, but probably won’t make you a better photographer. You can take a class or go on a workshop, but those can be expensive and you may not get much one-on-one time with an instructor. Instead, one of the best ways to learn where you are and how you can improve is to have a portfolio review. In a review, a professional photographer, editor, or agent examines a selection of your images and provides critique, feedback, and advice. Portfolio reviews are often expensive, though many photo conferences include portfolio reviews as options. You, however, can get one at a very reasonable cost, without the time, travel, and expenses of a conference through the NANPA Foundation.
When I received a 2020 Philip Hyde Conservation Grant from the NANPA Foundation, I was both excited about using images to conserve threatened seabirds and shorebirds, and scared. How could I stay safe working with schools, and policymakers during a pandemic? Would libraries, nature festivals, and exhibits remain closed? What I wanted to do was to use images to create awareness of beach-nesting birds, and encourage people to conserve them, and protect their habitat. I’d also hoped to raise awareness of problems shorebirds face, such as human disturbance, habitat loss, predation, climate change, red tide, and plastic pollution. Through my work as a bird steward and photographer, I recognized that some of the threats beach-nesting birds face are caused by people who unknowingly disturb them, so I envisioned educating teachers, students, beachgoers, and policymakers about these threatened species. I hoped that through environmental education, we might be able to raise a generation of people who care about the wildlife around them and respect them. My plan involved youth helping to solve the human disturbance problem through art and messages to the community.
Chris Herig has been interested in photography since age nine when she went away to camp for the first time, but she didn’t “get serious,” she says, until much later in life.
“It wasn’t until both of my parents had passed away and no longer needed me that I truly began traveling for pleasure and then eventually traveling longer distances and visiting the places I had only dreamed of, most especially our national parks,” Herig explained. “I started my national park adventure with Grand Teton and then Yellowstone on my 50th birthday!”
Herig registered for a brown bear workshop led by NANPA member (now President) Dawn Wilson and was inspired by Wilson’s 15-month journey traveling across the U.S. by RV. So she joined NANPA and keeps discovering new things.
A photo blind in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
While participating in a NANPA webinar, Herig mentioned that she frequently photographs at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in northern Florida. The refuge is home to numerous waterfowl, hawks, eagles, bobcat, deer, butterflies, alligators and, well, a lot of wildlife. But Herig didn’t realize it is also home to a photo blind funded by the NANPA Foundation.