My biological field experience is what eventually led me to pick up a camera and use it as a tool for conservation and awareness. I was first attracted to the idea of creating National Geographic style images. You know, eye candy (for plant nerds). Grand, sweeping landscapes that sing of feelings of vastness and purity. Those classic photos oftentimes are thought to create a feeling of wilderness – a landscape untouched by humankind.
As I work more and more as a restoration ecologist, I have come to realize that the hand of humankind is critical in maintaining so many species and landscapes we might perfunctorily believe are “liberated” or protected from humans. It is our hands that help protect these places. And I’m not talking about raising fences and locking gates, I’m talking managing invasive plants, rewarding sensitive ranching practices, and leading hikes to get more people hooked on nature. Continue reading →
April Fools Day is over and traveling thru (a small part) of Tejon Ranch was a great way to spend it. The Tejon area was flush with extensive swaths of fiddleneck (Amsinckia eastwoodiae) coloring the hills orange. Truly, this may be the best display of fiddleneck I’ve ever seen.
Restoration is a favorite activity of mine. There’s an intrinsic healing that happens within oneself when your hands get dirty, plants comes to life, caterpillars become butterflies, and you generally work as a hand that protects and celebrates nature. It’s kind of like gardening, but way cooler!
In this month, my field work has ramped up and there are lots of amazing flowers and creatures that have come to enjoy their rebirth in spring. This desktop calendar celebrates an almost 30 year effort to understand and save one species in particular, the Bay Checkerspot Butterfly.
Here’s my desktop calendar March – free for all who want to use it as such. I wanted to celebrate the work of Dr. Stuart Weiss (see this wacky character, mentor, revolutionary above) and his associates (okay, fine, I’m one of them) in restoring habitat before a species becomes extinct. More info about the Creekside Center for Earth Observation here. Click on the photo, then right click and save the image, or see the link below.
My February calendar download pays tribute to a wonderfully, snowy lodgepole pine stand. I warn you, it’s abstract. In that, I think this sweeping long exposure provides a lot of ecological information on the stand. From this abstract you get a sense of openness and light in the forest stand – this has shown to decrease pine bark beetle invasion and help maintain larger trees for longer. Yes, this is reason to go hug your favorite forester.
The openings, the hand of humankind in its management have created the rhythm of our lodgepoles.
This photo hails from a lodgepole stand in Whitefish, Montana.
I must say that I’m very sad to see 2012 go (but still excited for 2013 at the same time). It was a thrilling year with many great happenings. There were also trying times when it seemed like this place we celebrate as home is aching. The winter is just the season to allow for rest, regeneration, slow days, and cold cuddle-up-with-someone nights. More to come on recapping 2012 and looking forward to 2013.
Here’s my desktop calendar January – free for all who want to use it as such. I wanted to celebrate the cold, quiet, slow times and know that they are as important as peak growing season. Here’s a photo from Yosemite valley celebrating just that. Click on the photo, then right click and save the image, or see the link below.
I’m very excited to start a new mini-project celebrating unique landscapes and people’s connection to them. I will create a file that includes a bit of a description of the place, a photo of the place (of course), and a monthly calendar!
The first one, December 2012, is a celebration of quiet and peaceful places among a matrix of urban areas. The Mt. Hamilton Range, east of San Jose, is just that place. A number of private landowners have helped preserve this dramatic landscape filled with true wild-ness, aka wilderness!