Barely one of every 20 rivers found in the Northeast run to the ocean without an artificial dam altering flow patterns. Damming rivers was historically a profitable venture that allowed for control of nature and power generation. Now, many of these structures stand like tombstones. They represent a time when wild rivers were plenty and people were few. We are beyond that point and a greater economic and environmental good is actually derived from liberating these rivers.
These are resourceful, smart, gregarious, adaptable creatures… and they’re suffering in a world with a changing climate.
Yes, you read that right. One of the most iconic, magical places on earth will only be accessible by trespass. This is what we call Fortress Conservation in the ecology field: buy the land – then put a fence around it to limit human interaction.
Erecting fences is a short-sighted, privilege-driven way of doing conservation. It’s not a way to promote conservation, it’s the way to kill it.
While waking transects and looking for rare plants in the dusty Mojave Desert of 2013, I had much time to consider vastness, appropriateness and tenacity. Notably, it was hot, dry, and teetering on spiritual (which isn’t always a good thing when rattlesnakes abound).
The desert is nothing if it is not tenacious. It is an acerbic beast even in it’s kindest moments. Blowing sand, regular temperatures in the hundreds from April through October (in the sun that is). Humbling, and even bending or distorting the idea of life just a bit, since the desert’s signature is withering brown plant skeletons, dry playas and spines. Dessication, opportunity and impermanence are its soul. It is a tribute to both eternal things and the ephemeral. Within that sea, there are pauses of vibrance and life.
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 hope you enjoy the still sleepy, cool tones of the end of winter. Please feel free to click on the image and save it as your desktop calendar for the month of February. Or you can click here for the direct link.
PS Why is rhythm such a hard word to spell if its just so important in life?
I’ve been working on trying to recap and learn from my past year of photography. This year, for the first time, I’ve taken on creating an ebook with my 16 favorite images, and offering it as a sort of brief, updated portfolio. Continue reading
Happy New Year!
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 excited to be offering 13 slides from the Conservation:Humans Required project that I’ve been working on over the years. This set of slides is particularly exciting to present to the Bay Area conservation professionals who will be attending a sold out seasonal gathering by the Bay Area Open Space Council at the David Brower Center in Berkeley. The BAOSC is a fantastic organization that makes great things happen in the conservation world. Thanks to Annie and Ryan for this opportunity.
These slides come from the heart as I want to inspire a new wave of conservation minded humans who see knowledge and commitment as an answer to habitat degradation. Many of these photos depict places I am attached to as an ecologist, hiker, photographer, or just a philosopher. All scenes are less than 150 miles from home. All scenes feel like home…
Here’s a one slide of the show. It should be fun and I hope to make some strong connections with new friends.