Tourists have been flocking to national parks, wildlife refuges, and other nature areas in record numbers since the coronavirus pandemic began—which is both a reason to celebrate and potentially a cause for concern. Whether you’re new to these areas, a frequent visitor, or somewhere in between, don’t pack up the car until you read this.
1. We’re thrilled to see you enjoying nature.
The increase in park visitors is obvious to us as nature photographers, in part because we’re sometimes in the field from before sunrise to after sunset and see the crowds, and in part because park efforts to manage those crowds—like timed-entry reservations—have changed the way we do our jobs. But we’re excited to see you here and certainly are willing to share our love for these amazing spaces.
Well, for most people it should be. As I type this blog post, it is snowing again here in Colorado. The snow is a welcome weather occurrence as we desperately need the moisture, but it does do a number on those flowers people plant before the recommended planting date of Mother’s Day in Colorado. Much of Colorado, like the West, is still under severe drought conditions, bringing with it the fear of yet another difficult wildfire season. Fingers crossed that is not the case.
Tom Blagden, a nature and conservation photographer based Connecticut, will receive NANPA’s Environmental Impact Award during the 2021 Nature Photography Virtual Summit, April 29-30. He will also be a keynote speaker at the Summit. The award is in recognition of his 2019 book, The Grand Canyon: Unseen Beauty — Running the Colorado River. Blagden’s work has previously focused on Maine, Costa Rica, and South Carolina. His photographs have appeared in Smithsonian, Audubon, Outdoor Photographer, Nature Conservancy, and Sierra magazines. He is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, has been a NANPA member since its founding, and became a NANPA Fellow in 2009.
I hope everyone is surviving and thriving into the New Year. There are certainly signs of hope on the horizon for many aspects of our world. The vaccines are being distributed and the pace of that is picking up. Our new administration has set forth goals to advance environmental justice and listen to science. And the team at NANPA has many, many great things coming in the next few months.