Conservation Day at Blank Park Zoo with CFC

By Cameras for Conservancy Member Melissa Corey

As a member of Cameras For Conservancy on Saturday May 18, 2019 I had the opportunity along with fellow member Tammi Howell to help Blank Park Zoo and Polk County Conservation by taking photos of their efforts in removing invasive plants along the trail at Fort Des Moines park on the South side of Des Moines, Iowa.

I was so excited to be a part of this effort as I was not only helping the volunteers and workers to see the before and after of their hard work through  my photos, but also learning great information at the same time. Learning how Honeysuckle is an invasive plant, and my favorite was learning about an invasive plant called Garlic Mustard. A beautiful plant with little white flowers. It really does smell like garlic! I was told it makes a great Pesto too! The best part of about this whole effort is that removing these species helps the land and water, but also provides some food for the animals at the zoo. I call this a WIN WIN situation and I can’t wait to help in future projects. Thank you Cameras For Conservancy, BPZ, and Polk County Conservation for allowing me to be a part of this. See you next time!

Photographer Member: Karen Garland


Karen Garland

I have always felt passionate about animals and nature.  In fact, when I was a child, my mother would worry about me because I had no fear of animals and would run up to any animal, without hesitation, to pet it and give it affection.  My connection to animals and nature has always been natural and very spiritual to me, and is where I feel the most at home in this world. As a young adult, I studied literature and writing, obtaining a BA in English from the University of Iowa.  I subsequently studied alternative healing, obtaining my Reiki Master in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  My love of photography was always in the background though, following me throughout my life.  It wasn’t until recently; however, that I began to seriously study photography and obtain the equipment necessary to pursue this passion fully.  I guess uniting my love of nature with my love of photography has been the inevitable path for me all along, and I’m more than thrilled to be following it now as a member of CFC!


Photographer Member: Holly Welch


Holly Welch

I retired after 36 years of teaching, started a photography business. After a battle with breast cancer, i found healing through nature. I spent three years being with the mute swans, on an almost daily basis. I became obsessed with learning about swans. I contacted the DNR and became involved with their swan restoration program. I am now the Education Coordinator for a nonprofit, The Willows Waterfowl Sanctuary in Boone, Iowa. I have spoken at many conferences, releases, and schools. My photography is no longer of people, but animals. I have received my Masters’ degree from Professional Photographers of America, as well as many awards, nationally, and regionally.

Photographer Member: Robin Hagan

I was a portrait photographer for many years before my focus shifted to wildlife photography. I spend a lot of time in Florida’s state and national parks, and along the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. I love sharing my love of nature with others through my photography, to help spread awareness that we all need to work together to pass this wonderful planet’s natural treasures on to our children.


CFC Photographs Famous Entomologist, Doug Tallamy

By Kristie Burns

February 7, 2019

Cameras for Conservancy Members Brett Stewart (with our official press pass created by Terry Landers with an amazing photo by John Ryan) and Kristie Burns were invited to take photos at the Hope for the Wild speaker series featuring Doug Tallamy on February 7th. His talk was amazing.

There is a lot of talk being done about growing gardens that attract pollinators but he talks about how we need to also attract caterpillars to support our local bird populations. The statistics he provided were amazing and at one time in his talk he entertained us all by rattling off the names of caterpillars like a professional rapper.

Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware and has authored 92 research publications and taught for 37 years. His book, Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in our Gardens was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers’ Association.

It was an honor to meet him and be able to supply photos for this event!

Cameras for Conservancy on the Radio!

By Kristie Burns

February, 2019

Cameras for Conservancy was interviewed for Blank Park Zoo’s ‘Saving Animals with Blank Park Zoo’ that airs every Friday on KFMG 98.9 FM Des Moines, Iowa.

You can listen to our episode HERE.


Cameras for Conservancy Meet- Up at Lee G Simmons Conservation Park

By Kristie Burns

February, 2019

Cameras for Conservancy members had an amazing time at their February meet-up at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Conservation Park near Omaha, Nebraska. Members Tammi Howell, John Ryan, and Kristie Burns all attended. Holly Felsen Welch, who also attended, joined us as a member this week!

We were allowed IN the enclosure with the sandhill cranes and rescued eagles which allowed us to get photos we would never have been able to get in the wild. I’ve only been this close to an eagle once before – and that time was a surprise within itself.

The weather was cold but it allowed for some special photo opportunities like this one of an eagle’s breath by Kristie Burns.

We were also allowed to visit the wolves and take photos of them playing in the snow – their favorite game was to play hide-in-seek with us.

Afterwards some of us visited the Omaha Zoo, which was only 20 minutes away and the cheetahs were in rare display this day – playing with children on the outside their enclosure and posing for us in the snow.

We look forward to planning a meet-up again at this wonderful facility. Below are some photos from our experience – a close encounter with a sandhill crane, a cheetah in the snow, Tammi Howell listening to the keeper tell us about the cranes and eagles, Kristie Burns bundled up for the weather as ninja snowman, and John Ryan just before a sandhill crane decided to give his camera lens a good hard tap…