One of our Florida members, Chris Gutierrez, woke up before sunrise last month to help document an important event in Florida
He says this about the event, “The turtle walk was a success! All together we checked nearly 150 nests, we dugout 2 nests (nests get dugout 3 days after hatching to record data on the eggs and check for any stragglers) and there were two hatchlings we were able to rescue!
We also checked up on the Snowy Plover nests which SCCF also monitors.. so I was able to photograph them as well.. I also focused a lot on the volunteers and photographing them doing their work. All together I say it was very successful!”
A big thank you to Chris who provided photo documentation services to SCCF for free and to our blog to help highlight awareness of these efforts in Florida. This is what Cameras for Conservancy is all about! Even one person can make a difference!
Are you working on a conservation project or want to feature someone else who has been working in conservation? Blog posts, articles, documentaries, photo essays, series stories, and more are all welcome! Please submit articles and photos to: CamerasforConservancy@gmail.com
By Melissa Cory
It’s that time of year again when the butterflies return and the flowers are blooming. Including a nice patch of milkweed that is growing in my yard. On June 7th, 2019 2 days ago I started noticing some little holes in the milkweed leaves. That usually means something (hopefully Monarch caterpillars) are eating them for nourishment. I took the time to carefully pull back the leaves searching for the little gems and sure enough, I found SEVEN!
I carefully broke off the Milkweed leaf and brought them into the house and put them in containers that I had previously purchased from the pet store. This helps protect the very small caterpillars from birds and other predators and gives them Plenty of air and sunlight. I put a new milkweed leaf in daily after cleaning the container out as caterpillars do poop a lot! As they get bigger I will add a nice stick for them to crawl on as well. After they grow they make their way to the top of the lid, spin their silk and turn into a chrysalis and eventually, if all goes well, into a beautiful Monarch butterfly.
I hope you follow us on our journey although I must warn you, there are many things that can harm the process. Tachinid flies have been the main nemesis for us around my house. I have lost many caterpillars due to these pesky flies. When the Monarchs are eggs the Tachinid fly will lay their eggs on the Monarch egg and it will grow inside the caterpillar and eventually kill the caterpillar. So the process is not always a success, but I have had several success’. This is my third year helping Monarch caterpillars around my yard and I thought it would be fun to share the process with you all. I have not seen a lot of the flies around right now so I hope these little ones will survive. Stay tuned for updates!
Valerie says: Tunnel vision through my lens is a huge horizon of BEAUTY. Photography allows me to capture color, nature at all levels, to be creative, helps me to be at peace, and to stay active within my mind and soul. Best compliment I have received was from a lady admiring my photo’s to say, “ How can you take photo of things I have seen forever, and feel as though I am seeing it for the first time?”
On May 7th Cameras for Conservancy hosted a small fundraiser at the Des Moines Embassy Club West. It was attended by many of the members of CFC. In addition to tickets sold, CFC receives a portion of all restaurant sales from that evening. We look forward to our next fundraiser, however, you can donate to Cameras for Conservancy any time by using this link here.
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.