Cameras for Conservancy member Kristie Burns attended three days of trumpeter swan releases with the Iowa DNR in the Lake Anita area recently and, as part of Cameras for Conservancy, shared her photos of the event with all the event participants for their use in social media, fundraising, and promoting awareness of trumpeter swans and water quality issues around America. She will also be using the photos in a photo essay to help raise conservation awareness of this species. Kristie says, “Seeing the swans being released into the wild was an amazing experience. These swans had either been rehabbed or were part of conservation programs at (over ten) zoos across America. A few of the swans even came all the way from Alaska. This photo conveys the spirit of the event…”
On March 31, 2019 Cameras for Conservancy Members Karen Garland, Brett Stewart, Melissa Cory, John Ryan, Tammi Howell, Kristie Burns, Mosi Mandil & Barb Ashton all gathered at Hercules Haven in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to take photos of the animals on their land. Since then Hercules Haven has moved to a 40 acre plot in Springville, Iowa where they contribute to conservation by supporting healthy land usage and kindness to all animals. You can read more about Hercules Haven here. I’ve included some quotes and photos from the photographers below to give you some insight into what the event was like. The images we took will support the Hercules Haven fundraising causes on social media as well as their fundraising calendar.
Karen Garland says, “I had so much fun that day! Meeting all the special animals at Hercule’s Haven was a joy, I especially loved getting to know Tessa and watching her lively antics as she vied for attention!”
Barb Ashton says, “This was my first visit to Hercules Haven. I didn’t know what to expect but found many animals there deeply loved and well cared for. I was particularly fascinated by the variety of chickens and how their feathers glinted different colors in the bright afternoon sun. Definitely would like to visit them again in their new location.”
Tammi Howell says, “It brought joy to my heart to see all the animals so happy. Much hard work has been put in to giving them a healthy, happy home! The team at Hercules’s Haven clearly has a heart for giving these rescue animals the life they deserve.” (photo of Tammi by John Ryan)
Melissa Cory says, “Seeing all the different personalities the rescue animals had and how happy they were was so heart warming and a lot of fun! I couldn’t help falling in love with all the animals that are being wonderfully cared for at Hercules’ Haven. I can’t wait for another visit.”
Brett Stewart says, “This was a exciting visit as I was able to connect to place that was welcoming to people! The animals are all amazing, they all touched me in some special way. The goats were my favorite as they all seemed to want to be photographed. The land near and around Hercules’ Havenwas relaxing and peaceful as well and I was able to clear my mind and have a new vision on life.”
Mosi Mandil says, “The chickens are surprisingly delightful! It’s not just the big animals that are interesting and fun.”
By Member Tammi Howell
On May 18th, the Blank Park Zoo joined forces with Polk County Conservation “Spring Into Action.” Volunteers came out to help rid Fort Des Moines park of invasive species of plants. They were able to weed out a big section of invasive honeysuckle as well as garlic mustard.
While helping the native trees and grasses receive more nutrients, they were also nourishing the animals at the zoo. All the honeysuckle and garlic mustard went to the zoo to use as treats and enrichment for their wildlife ambassadors. It was amazing seeing the difference a few volunteers and a few hours could make and I was happy to be a part of documenting their conservation efforts!
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!
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!
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.
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.