1Frame4Nature | Wendy Shattil
What YOU Can Do:
Put a face on wildlife by taking photos of them in their natural urban environment.
–1Frame4Nature is a collection of images and stories from around the globe of your personal connection to nature. However small, when combined with the actions of others, your individual actions can impact real and tangible outcomes for the preservation of our planet. Submit your story now!
iLCP Fellow Wendy Shattil‘s 1Frame4Nature: Twenty-nine years ago, while visiting London, I discovered the concept of urban wildlife. My partner, Bob Rozinski, and I immediately realized it was the perfect time to bring the idea across the Atlantic to counteract threats to habitat in and around our hometown of Denver, Colorado. We created the Colorado Urban Wildlife Photo Club in partnership with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to involve people in learning about and photographing their wildlife neighbors. Our goal was to produce a photo-based book to share our discoveries with the Denver metro population. In twelve monthly meetings, we taught more than 200 folks how to shoot for publication. To add the essential educational component, we brought in wildlife experts to describe the behavior of species that club members might encounter. At the end of the year, we selected fascinating and representative photos from many of the photographers to be included in Close to Home: Colorado’s Urban Wildlife, which was published on Earth Day, 1990.
An unexpected gift during this exhilarating process was meeting Bini Abbott, a middle aged woman who joined the club. Bini was the first to admit she was not a very good photographer, but she was excited to take snapshots to document wildlife at Two Ponds, a small wetland near her home in suburban Arvada. She started photographing herons feeding on frogs, watched migrating songbirds on their way north, and observed foxes raising their young. When Bini learned the wetland was to be destroyed for a housing development, she took her photos to the Arvada City Council, and, ultimately, the Army Corps of Engineers, which decided to protect the Two Ponds ecosystem from being bulldozed.
Bini did even more than preventing this urban wetland from being developed. The 72 acres became Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge in 1992 and has been enjoyed by wildlife and refuge visitors ever since.
To me, Bini’s achievement is the most powerful argument that anyone who learns to tell a story through photography and uses images to speak for nature and wildlife can succeed at the highest level. You do not have to be a professional photographer to make a difference. Whether you use a cell phone, a point-and-shoot, or sophisticated camera equipment, the most important element is that someone is taking the picture—not what device the picture is taken with.
Call to Action: The more we know of our animal neighbors, the more likely we can become effective voices to protect them. Put a face on wildlife by taking photos of them in their urban environment. Are they content and secure in their habitat or at risk now or in the future? Has wildlife around you adapted to humans and structures? Show how you value your wildlife neighbors in your photos or words.
This article is brought to you by the 1Frame4Nature Campaign. Share a picture and story on Instagram with the hashtag #1Frame4Nature, of your personal connection to nature and tell us what action you’ve taken on behalf of our planet.