First, my apologies for this late blog post this month. It seems every year I get to the end of summer and freak out about all the things I didn’t finish on my to-do list or wish list before the leaves start turning gold and orange. This year was no different.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a very personal conversation with a friend and fellow photographer about photographer burnout. We discussed where she was with her photography, why she was feeling like she wasn’t achieving her goals, the pitfalls of comparing your own work to other photographers, the thoughts of walking away from photography, and the source of all this stress and concern.
The next time you’re out in the wild, enjoying our parks and state and federal lands, spend a moment in gratitude for the often unseen and unglamorous work that makes your visit possible. And it might just be one of your friends or neighbors you have to thank for the smooth trails you walk or the trash-free landscape you photograph. The National Park Service, with an unfunded maintenance backlog of almost $12 billion, relies on a lot of volunteers to maintain trails and help make visitors’ experience pleasant. Many state and local parks are also chronically underfunded and reliant on volunteers.
Along with the bounty on the table tomorrow, most of us will be grateful for things like our family, health, home and hearth. We might also be thankful for the wonderful photographic opportunities that abound in this old world, even with all its problems (see A Nature Photographer’s Thanksgiving, Part 1). I am embarrassed to admit that sometimes missing from my list of things to be thankful for are the volunteers that make possible so many of the experiences I enjoy.
NANPA is very thankful to all of our many volunteers – past and present – that have made the organization the success that it is today.
Govern the organization on the NANPA Board of Directors
Serve on committees and task forces
Lead Meetup groups
Proofread NANPA publications
Judge NANPA photo contests
Monitor and post on NANPA’s social media accounts
Plan Summits, Celebrations & Regional Events
And so much more!
We sincerely thank all of our volunteers and appreciate their contributions to the organization.