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Nature Photographers Highlight Natural Treasures

Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission - Thursday, June 29, 2017

Many visitors to our natural areas are nature photographers. It’s an activity that has a low-impact on the habitats we conserve, while still allowing people to enjoy these special places. Photographers express their love and appreciation for nature through their photos, and in the process, teach and inspire others.

Historically, photography has been an invaluable tool for conservationists. Photographs by William Henry Jackson, as well as paintings by Thomas Moran, influenced Congress to create our first national park, Yellowstone, in 1872. (You may have seen paintings by Thomas Moran on exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.) Likewise, in 1938, environmentalist Ansel Adams published a book of his own photographs, Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail, while lobbying for the protection of the Kings River region of the Sierra Nevada. Revealing the beauty and grandeur of this wilderness area, Adams’ photographs captured the attention of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1940, Roosevelt signed the law establishing Kings Canyon National Park. A year later, Adams was commissioned by the National Park Service to take photographs in all of the national parks. As the saying goes, a picture is worth thousand words.

Today, nature photographers continue to bring awareness to wonders of nature and the need for conservation. The ANHC has talented volunteers who are avid photographers. They generously allow us to use their photographs for education and outreach purposes, such as on our website, in our enewsletter, on our Facebook page, and Instagram account. Some of these photographers seek out rare Arkansas plants and animals, often in hard-to-reach places, and thereby assist our scientists in documenting species.

President Roosevelt never saw Kings Canyon National Park in person, just as many of us may never see with our own eyes some of the natural treasures within our state. However, through the work of nature photographers, we know these places, plants, and animals exist. We gain a sense of their uniqueness and value, a prerequisite to conservation of our natural heritage.


Related content:

Top: Photographers from the Arkansas Outdoor Photographers Club on a field trip at Baker Prairie Natural Area, photo by ANHC staff.

Top Right: John Moore and Craig Fraiser photographing maple-leaf oak, photo by Theo Witsell

Left: Henslow's sparrow, photo by Robert Herron

Bottom photo: Seven Devils Swamp Natural Area

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