VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
Tag archives for iLCP
These photos come from Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. And by all means, if you ever have a chance to visit the snowy shores of the Chilkat outside Haines, Alaska, I encourage you to do it, especially after the tourists have left, and the temperature now causes ice crystals to form inside your nostrils. This preserve represents the best of who we are as a country. And I think, with everything going on right now, we can at least agree, that we need to remember the things we’ve done right.
Imagine a booming underwater powerhouse, overflowing with vibrant biodiversity; a vast, dynamic wonderland of adaptation in aquatic form. Primordial soup? Not quite–though coral reefs are themselves an irreplaceable vessel of life. From fish nurseries to coastline protection and pharmaceutical breakthroughs to diving meccas, coral reefs provide a multitude of ecological services and economic contributions. Awed by the endless infinity of life living upon life to degrees unimaginable to the naked eye, I count myself lucky to have spent time in these enchanting habitats in many parts of the world.
The humble mangrove forest is one of the most biologically important ecosystems that border our oceans. They act as the skin of our coastlines, managing the energy exchange between land and sea; and provide vital ecosystem services such as waste treatment, habitat, food resource, and recreation.
I have been on many research expeditions throughout the Gulf of California, Mexico, where I study these ecosystems and photograph them in action: acting as a nursery for yellow snappers, hosting migratory birds after their long flight, and buffering coastlines against storms.
When I was a child, I found that insects were like marvelous animals full of colors and shapes. While studying and learning about them, I also discovered that they had really interesting behaviors. Now as an iLCP Emerging League Photographer and biologist, I have been photographing insects for the last decade, showing how amazing they are, and highlighting what we could lose if we don’t do something right now.
Started in 2014, my long-term documentary project “Baby Giants” focuses on the conservation work of the critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley and other endangered sea turtles. Help is already underway to bring these sea turtle populations back from the brink, and I get to share this story of hope and invite you to join the efforts for sea turtles.
In early 2010 I pulled together a poster of the ten “Most Wanted” amphibians that led to a global search for frogs and salamanders lost to science. A little battle-weary from the unabated extinction of frogs and their kin, and seeking hope in the face of despair, I was buoyed by the improbable reappearance in Costa Rica of the Variable Harlequin Frog and inspired to wonder: what else might be out there?
I’ve been working on the topic of plastic pollution in the last few years. This is an issue that needs a dramatic change as soon as possible. Sometimes people come up to me and tell me that it’s a lost fight, but these kinds of wars have been won before. You can see for example how the toy industry was forced to use unleaded paint only (imagine how many toys China makes each day), and at the beginning you would think that you couldn’t go against a big monster like the toy industry. However, that battle was won and so can the one against plastics harming the environment and wildlife.
What YOU Can Do: Change some simple every day habits. Recycle more and save energy by: using less hot water, using energy safe light bulbs, buying seasonal and locally grown food, using public transportation, switching off the light when you leave a room…. Little daily actions will go a long way and make the difference.…
Throughout my life, I’ve occasionally felt a déjà vu kind of love for certain people, places, and things that I’ve never actually encountered before. Let’s call them les déjà aimés or the already loved. There have been quite a few of these special first-encounters throughout my life: the first eastern box turtle that ever crossed my path; the tadpole filled pond in the woods behind my grandfather’s house; and the blue swell of the Southern Blue Ridge. When I laid my eyes upon a rusty-patched bumble bee for the first time, that old familiar feeling presented itself once again, immediately filling me with a deep surge of compassion for this little bee with an oxidized, orange kiss of color.
I have spent the last 15 years documenting science fieldwork with my camera. I have followed researchers over glaciers and down rivers and through swamps and across oceans. I have shared freeze-dried dinners with them in wet tents in Alaska, celebrated birthdays aboard zodiacs in Antarctica, and swatted countless mosquitoes with them in Siberia.
After working as a photographer for over five years, I recently returned to school to study Conservation Science as a postgraduate student. It has been a challenge to exchange my camera for books and my mornings in the field for mornings in a lecture hall. But, mostly, it has been difficult to learn about the many challenges facing the natural world – from the mass extinction of frogs to the growing illegal wildlife trade. Thankfully, my professors have also focused on exposing me to solutions and to innovative new approaches to conservation. So, as I finish my degree this summer, I remain optimistic about the future – a future where I believe that both humans and nature can and will thrive.
I started out like most kids when I was young — with a thirst for adventure and an overflow of curiosity! Growing up with a woodland surrounding my house meant that on most days whenever I wasn’t playing video games I was exploring the great unknown of my Florida backyard. Catching bugs, green anoles (picture above), and snakes with my brother and sister was a way for us to learn about our world out in our own backyard. Being a deaf-blind (right ear/left eye) meningitis survivor has always presented challenges for me, but when I got my first camera at age 14, it opened an entirely new way for me to see and document the world, that paired perfectly with my strong interests in science and the environment.
The mission aboard the 1942 DC3 aircraft is aimed at measuring ice thickness and changes in the Arctic Ocean. Lead scientist, Dr. Thomas Krumpen, has been overseeing the campaign called TIFAX since 2010, covering the same polar region, including Fram Streight and above Northern Greenland towards Nord Pole each year in July -August. During the three weeks campaign in 2016, the team flew a total of fifty hours during 10 survey flights, surveying 2300 miles/3700 km of ice surface. Findings from the campaign revealed surprisingly low summer ice thickness measurements. Since 2010, the Arctic summer ice thickness has reduced by 42%, presumably due to both rising atmospheric and sea temperatures.
Sometime in May 2012, I found myself sitting on the damp forest floor of the Daintree rainforest in Queensland, Australia next to a sleeping cassowary. Cassowaries are huge flightless birds that live in the tropical forests of Australia and New Guinea. They look prehistoric; half-bird and half-dinosaur with fine, glossy-black feathers, a long featherless neck colored turquoise, red and orange, and an absurdly tall shiny-brown casque on top of their heads. Sadly, cassowaries are endangered across much of their range due to hunting, loss of forest habitat, and predation from feral pigs and dogs. It is estimated that fewer than 1500 Southern Cassowaries remain in the tropical forests of Queensland, Australia, and this is where I went to document these awesome birds.
With the Trump administration gearing up to expand border wall construction on the U.S.-Mexico border, it is more important than ever to gain a clearer picture of the land and people of this region, and the enduring environmental and human costs of a border policy focused on walls.
A new project, Embattled Borderlands, released today, allows viewers to take a virtual visit to this remote region, to hear the voices of its birds and frogs; to see the faces of its elusive cats and endearing reptiles; to experience its vast landscapes and starry skies; and to understand the plight of its most vulnerable human residents.