Trumpeter Swan Success Stories

In times of turmoil, challenges, and change we find hope in the positive stories emerging around us. One of those stories is that of the Trumpeter Swan. I hope that others take inspiration from stories like this moving forward to better times. This story is being shared with permission from the Iowa DNR ‘Iowa Outdoors’ Magazine. We encourage you to show your appreciation for their share as well as support for wildlife by sending donations their way in the form of a very affordable subscription to their amazing nature magazine here or cut and paste:

You can download and enjoy the full article below…

Download “Trumpeter Swans” HERE

Iowa Outdoors

Download “Trumpeter Swans” HERE


Cameras for Conservancy in Madagascar

For a month in November & December Cameras for Conservancy President, Kristie Burns, took photos for Conservation Fusion in Madagascar for use in their fundraising materials, grant applications, social media, books, and other media. Conservation Fusion works in tandem with the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership to teach children the importance of conservation in Madagascar, to enrich educational opportunities for children, to encourage and support reforestation projects, and much more.

Cameras for Conservancy continues to help by bringing images and stories of their work to the public. We will be announcing a book highlighting their conservation work soon! Meanwhile we will share some of the trip journals on this blog. You can see the complete set of trip journals here.

Trip Journal Day 25B: Madagascar Conservation Adventure with @conservfusion and @camerasforconservancy: Today is the O-Rama! It starts at the far end of the villages and ends at KAFS so because of the heat we start at 7:30am, picking up each new school along the way. Each school has kids dressed as their mascots (costumes Susie has designed by hand over the years!) and the rest of the students are dressed up as well with face paint, masks, hair styles, and carrying banners. The O-Rama is like a Mardi Gras for the environment but instead of floats there are banners and instead of alcohol there is kool-aid made from local syrup, 20 kilos of sugar and mixed in a 500 liter container. (Although some kids DO bring old recycled rum bottles to carry their juice in.) and instead of beads there are bright yellow T-shirts. But the music, singing, colorful costumes, celebrating, and chaos would rival any Mardi Gras parade I’ve ever seen!


Trip Journal Day 25C: Madagascar Conservation Adventure with @conservfusion and @camerasforconservancy: Ambohitsara school students are the “tree-stars of reforestation” and their mascot is the black white ruffed lemur. Fotobohitra’s mascot is the Jolly’s mouse lemur and are the stars of colonization (1st to move into reforestation areas). Kianjavato’s mascot is the leaf-tailed gecko and are the stars of camouflage. St. Dominique’s mascot is the Luna moth and they are stars of pollinization. Ambodibonary’s mascot is the aye-ayes who are Ninjas of the forest with finger extenders. CEG Kianjavato’s theme was the world being held in hands of love. Ambalahosy’s mascot is the chameleon and they are stars of change. Ambolotara’s mascot are suckerfooted bats. Can you find all these animals in the parade photos?


Trip Journal Day 25D: Madagascar Conservation Adventure with @conservfusion and @camerasforconservancy: Once we arrive at KAFS each school has a performance that consists of a dance based on the mascot of their school. Any of the schools could easily win a dance-off in one of those dance themed movies. Susie was concerned about the crowds and my cameras so she assigned me some “body guards” which was sort of fun because as I was shooting photos I had different guys giving me water, snacks, and different camera bodies to do my work. Although the crowding wasn’t too bad since I’m 6’1” and the crowds were all under 5 foot. It was more like, “Hey, what’s all that ruckus happening down there? It’s nice up here.” Except when I did my photographer squats to get a nice angle for a photo – then it was like diving into the deep end of a dolphin tank. And I’m not talking about the cute dolphins that jump through hoops for fish. I’m talking about the wild dolphins that use puffer fish as soccer balls just for fun.


Trip Journal Day 25E: Madagascar Conservation Adventure with @conservfusion and @camerasforconservancy: Part 1: The Mascots: Each costume and child was so beautiful I didn’t know who to take a photo of next. It was definitely one of those events where previous experience would have helped but I did my best. Here are some of my favorite portraits…

Trip Journal Day 25E: Madagascar Conservation Adventure with @conservfusion and @camerasforconservancy: Part 2: The Participants: Each costume and child was so beautiful I didn’t know who to take a photo of next. It was definitely one of those events where previous experience would have helped but I did my best. Here are some of my favorite portraits…

Cameras for Conservancy Donates Photos to Climate Crisis March

On Saturday, February 1st, Cameras for Conservancy donated their services to support the Climate Crisis Parade hosted by over 27 different organizations. We provided over 250 photos to all participants for use in their social media, publications, and press to increase awareness in the community.

We realize that high quality visual images can make a huge positive impact in getting a message heard by the community. We are committed to providing these images to conservation organizations so they can spend their valuable time and funds working on their conservation projects.

Some of the images we took are below…


Photographer Member: Wendy Carrington

Wendy says, “I’ve been enjoying photography for the past 17 years. Photography has encouraged me to look for and find the beauty in all things, even an old piece of wood has beauty. I am retired but have a small home website design & maintenance business. I also enjoy camping and spending time with my children and grandchildren. I have been fortunate in being awarded a couple of awards at the California State Fair, one 1st place photo was taken right here in Iowa. This same photo received a 1st place ribbon at a local county fair in California.”

You can find more of her work at:

Birds of Costa Rica

Rex AndersenJanuary 20, 2020 at 7pm

Cameras for Conservancy member, Rex Andersen will be sharing his photos of the birds of Costa Rica at the Des Moines Audubon Society meeting in January. This is a great chance to get to know the Des Moines Audubon Society, meet Rex, learn about Costa Rican birds, and get some great tips for taking bird photos in remote locations as well as in Iowa. The meeting starts at 7pm and is located in the Northwest Community Center at 51st Street and Franklin Avenue in Des Moines.  The Center is just west of the Franklin Library.

CFC Takes Photos for Unbridled Spirits

Many Cameras for Conservancy members said this was their favorite photo shoot this year. And what is not to love about acres of green grass, a beautiful day, and many gorgeous horses?

USprits Group Shot

On their website, Unbridled Spirits says, “Unbridled Spirits is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2012 and based out of Lisbon, Iowa.This is the ONLY off-track thoroughbred retirement sanctuary in the entire Midwest whose transition process includes a full-time pasture retirement option! Yes, there are some amazing facilities that offer career transitioning to an other sport like dressage, eventing, hunter jumper, and more…. But there are no other sanctuaries that allow the horses to run free on over 100 acres and just learn how to be horses again! The mission is to preserve the honor and dignity of these amazing athletes by offering a retirement option to these racing thoroughbreds whose racing, breeding, and competitive careers come to an end. When a racing star leaves the track or the breeding shed, they still have a large fan-following and a tourist appeal… not to mention a desire for love and affection, same as any horse! We care what happens to these horses, and so many others do as well.”

All photos taken that day were donated to Unbridled Spirits for them to use in social media, on their website, and other fundraising activities.

CFC Annual Meeting

Cameras for Conservancy had their annual meeting on October 20th, 2019. We discussed achievements this year, goals for the coming year, and what its like to be a member of Cameras for Conservancy.

Old members, new members, and visitors all attended.

At the end of the meeting many of us took a walk around Jester Park for our first ever “Foto Flashmob” where we all took photos and donated them to Jester Park. You can see our photos of the event and photos we donated here.

Some highlighted items that were shared from the meeting:

  1. Our last year has been successful in creating an impressive “resume” for the organization. We have proven that we have the ability and the passion to do photo jobs for conservation organizations and have featured many of those in our blog.
  2. Many conservation organizations have expressed their appreciation for our work. We have included some of those comments on our testimonials page.
  3. At this time all members are participating on some level, attending events, contributing photos, helping with social media, helping with the newsletter, and much more. However, president Kristie Burns has been managing the website, e-mails, and organizational part of CFC on her own. CFC is seeking more members to participate on the organizational level as well as the photography level. The organization will grow as fast as we want it to. Every time a member volunteers to help we move along more quickly.
  4. Now that we have proven need and ability, next year we will focus on fundraising and are seeking members to help in these efforts.
  5. We will be planning a lot of exciting events for members next year and continue to run our private member photo shoots as these are very popular.
  6. Four new members joined at or after the meeting!
  7. We are planning a yearly calendar and other ways that members can earn money for both themselves and the organization.
  8. Our core goal is to provide photos for conservation organizations to help them communicate their message on a wider scale in a more effective manner. Having insights into how many of these organizations run, Kristie has mentioned it is important to provide images without taking money away from conservation work these organizations are doing. Many people do not realize how tight the budgets are for many of these organizations. However, a secondary goal is to provide an income for photographers. We are hoping to be able to pay some photographers for some jobs in the next year once our fundraising gets underway.
  9. We will be opening a job page and a photo sale page for photographers in 2020. People will be able to hire photographers and purchase prints from the website with only 15% going back to CFC.
  10. Kristie will be traveling to Madagascar to take photos for Conservation Fusion in November and December as part of CFC. Conservation Fusion is sponsoring the trip. There will be other chances for CFC members to travel in the coming months and years. Priority will be given to those members that have already taken on enough volunteer jobs that we are able to assess their work with CFC.
  11. We finally got our official 501c3 paper with our number on it!

Cameras for Conservancy Featured at Jester Park Nature Center

Jester ParkCameras for Conservancy is honored to be part of the inaugural year of exhibits at the Jester Park Nature Center in Granger, Iowa. From September to December 25th Jester Park Nature Center is displaying photos exclusively from Cameras for Conservancy Members.

On the opening night Polk County Conservation director Richard Leopold spoke a bit about the mission of the center and President of Cameras for Conservancy, Kristie Burns, spoke a bit about the mission of Cameras for Conservancy. Opening night was well attended and we continue to receive positive feedback about the exhibit.

You can see the exhibit until December 24th. Be sure to visit the images both upstairs and downstairs!


Photographer Member: Joe Countryman

Joe CJoe says, “Have you ever experienced a love for something so intense that it wakes you up at night? And you can’t stop thinking about it, so you just have to get out of bed and do it? Photography is that for me. Since realizing my passion for photography, I have become an entirely different person. I have found my purpose and I see the world in a whole new light. A light that makes me want to capture it and share it with you.”