Category Archives: Conservation

The Power of Your Voice

Nature needs your voice!

You may not know that considerations are underway by our current Department of the Interior whether to declassify lands that are presently national monuments, such as the newly designated Bears Ears in southeast Utah, the new Berryessa Snow Mountain (California), Giant Sequoia (not the national park section!) The Carrizo Plain, Sonoran Desert, Grand-Staircase National Monument, and the list goes on – 22 in all.  Seriously. 

Aside from your political beliefs, consider the implications of losing these wilderness spaces, and the value that they have as places one can go and ‘lose oneself’ and merge with the whole of nature. As a landscape/nature photographer, these and other public lands are often the source of my photographs, but those photographs are the outward expression of the inward inspiration that I receive while being in these wild, special places, places that take my breath away – and not from hiking, but from the sheer joy of seeing fantastic geology, flower-filled meadows, rushing streams, and wildlife. 

Preserving wild, natural places, is, in my mind, essential for mental health. of us all. Even if we never visit these places, the human mind needs to know that there are places that we can ‘escape to’, a safe zone in nature, away from it all. It’s a primeval base need within us all, whether we are conscious of it or not. If you use local or regional parks for your time with nature, a walk, a hike, a paddle on a lake, then you have felt some of that refreshment, that rejuvenation, that comes from being in nature. These national monuments are land much like a ‘local’ park, just on a grand scale.

National Monuments serve to preserve the integrity of  wild areas that might otherwise be abused by extractive industries, and in some cases provide a buffer zone to those processes just outside of their borders. Many also preserve space needed for wildlife to survive, let alone thrive. And ironically, with the crowds that populate our national parks these days, these monuments are oasis where one can still find solitude, without the crowds, and they are wonder-filled, too, although perhaps not on the grand scale of the national parks nearby. But to the animals, and those of us that go there, they are essential.

I know that not everyone sees ‘eye to eye’ on issues like this, but if you feel strongly about the need for these lands, please consider taking a moment and make your voice ‘heard’ in the public comment period for these monuments on the list.  You can read the information and comment here:

https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOI-2017-0002-0001

The public comment period for the other monuments ends June 10th, EXCEPT for Bears Ears – that ends May 26th, so please, if you plan to comment, do so soon.

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.
― Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire


 
 

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National Park Week – Celebrate Nature!

Vista of Capitol Reef National Park and the Henry Mountains, Utah. (Brenda Tharp)

 

National Park Week is almost here! It’s the week of April 15-23, and the National Park Foundation and National Park service are partnering to offer free admission to hundreds of national parks (and monuments) across the USA on April 15-16th, so plan to get out and LOVE your parks on those days and beyond! Earth Day is also just around the corner, too – April 22 – and those same parks will also be offering free admission on April 22-23.  It’s a great time to get out and enjoy your park(s), but also to take CARE of the earth, and there are local events near you that you can get involved in surrounding Earth Day weekend. 

While I make some of my living from selling fine art landscapes/nature images, more important is that I am passionate about spreading the message of our need to preserve wild spaces, and wild animals and birds. I strongly support organizations that work with landowners, such as the Nature Conservancy, because I believe that in many cases, the land being used privately or commercially can be protected by working with the landowners, in both conservation and education.

I strongly support organizations that work tirelessly for wilderness protection, too, including those that go to ‘bat’ (i.e. court) in defense of public lands, wildlife, or land needing protection, such as Southwest Utah Wilderness Alliance who works so hard to protect Utah’s wilderness. I realize it’s not possible to donate to every group out there – my gosh there are so many – but we can do what we can, and also donate our time, a photo for fundraising or images for educational use. We can also blog and post on social media as a way to educate more people about the importance of preservation and conservation. It’s up to us to spread the word of the need for preservation and conservation, and our images can help do that. 

Love your park(s)!

 

 

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