Jenny Ross’ 2011

This year Jenny has spent lots of time focusing on life both on the ice and off the ice. Her project Life On Thin Ice sponsored over half a dozen lectures educating the public about the arctic and climate change. As well, some of her other photographs were made into posters to aid the National Wildlife Federation’s Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders Program’s efforts to conserve the Sloth Bear across Asia. Jenny’s very apparent hard work was recognized as she earned the 2011 North American Nature Photography Association Vision Award. Jenny has had a truly productive and remarkable year.


The NANPA Vision Award

I’m extremely gratified to announce that the North American Nature Photography Association honored me with the 2011 NANPA Vision Award. This award is presented to one photographer each year in recognition of photographic vision and excellence, and inspiration to others in nature photography, conservation, and education. I received the award during the 2011 NANPA Summit, an event during which NANPA promotes the art and science of nature photography as a medium of communication, nature appreciation, and environmental protection. I’m tremendously honored to have received this important recognition. An article about my Arctic work and my Life On Thin Ice™ project appeared in the spring edition of the NANPA journal Currents. To see the article, click here.


Polar Bears – on the ice and in print

As many of you know, in July 2010 I observed and photographed an extraordinary incident involving polar bear infanticide and cannibalism on the sea ice in the Barents Sea within the Svalbard Archipelago. One of my photographs of that event was published in the July 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine. In addition, I’m honored that I had the privilege of collaborating with renowned polar bear biologist Ian Stirling on a peer-reviewed scientific paper about polar bear infanticide and cannibalism that was published in the December 2011 issue of the journal Arctic. One of my photographs of the July 2010 infanticide-cannibalism incident was included with the paper, and another one of my images is on the cover of the journal.

In December 2011 at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco I was interviewed by BBC News correspondent Jonathan Amos regarding my polar bear infanticide-cannibalism photographs and the scientific paper on which I collaborated with Dr. Stirling. The December 8 BBC news article and an audio tape of my interview are available here. Subsequently, many news agencies, newspapers, and magazines around the world covered the issues and published my photographs of the July 2010 infanticide-cannibalism incident.

Speaking of Dr. Stirling, he has published a fully revised and updated edition of his wonderful book Polar Bears, and I’m very pleased to say that a number of my photographs are featured in it. I highly recommend this comprehensive, authoritative, and fascinating book.

My latest polar bear news is that a feature story about polar bears for which I did both the text and the photographs has just been published in the January 2012 edition of Ocean Geographic magazine. Visit the Ocean Geographic website to view the January 2012 issue of the magazine.


Life On Thin Ice™

During 2011 I continued to work on my ongoing long-term project Life On Thin Ice™. I did half a dozen public lecture-slideshow presentations about polar bears and arctic climate change, and during the summer I focused on photography in the Russian High Arctic. With the sponsorship of Heritage Expeditions, I returned to the Wrangel Island UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as the Bering Strait region; with the sponsorship of Aurora Expeditions, I visited protected areas of Novaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land that are within Russia’s newly-created Russkaya Arktika National Park. My heartfelt thanks to both companies for their generous support of my project and my efforts to educate the public about ecosystems, wildlife, people, and climate change in the Arctic.

On 3 March 2011 some of my photographs from Life On Thin Ice™ were featured in a slideshow event entitled “Extreme Exposure” at the prestigious Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. To view the images, click here and go to page 2 of the participants list; then click on “Jenny E. Ross.”

Also FYI, I’ll be launching a new Life On Thin Ice™ website soon, and will let you know when it’s online.


The Salton Sea & the San Andreas Fault

The Salton Sea is California’s largest and most endangered lake. One issue affecting restoration efforts for the Salton Sea ecosystem is the extreme seismicity of the region. The San Andreas Fault originates beneath the southeast portion of the Salton Sea, and a major earthquake on the fault causing liquefaction of that area would damage or destroy any infrastructure there.

While working on my ongoing Salton Sea project, I photographed some fascinating and important research related to the San Andreas Fault being conducted at the Salton Sea by scientists affiliated with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and USGS. The results of that research are presented in a scientific paper by Daniel Brothers et al that was published in the July 2011 issue of Nature. One of my photographs relating to seismic issues at the Salton Sea appeared on the cover of the journal, and several more of my images accompanied the Scripps press release about the study.

In other Salton Sea project news, in collaboration with my partner agency, the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, I will be deploying camera traps in 2012 in an effort to capture images of rare species that rely on the wetland habitat of the Salton Sea.


National Wildlife Federation’s Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders Program

Populations of both sun and sloth bears have been declining across Asia, and both species are designated as Vulnerable (i.e. threatened) by the IUCN/SSC (International Union for Conservation of Nature / Species Survival Commission). Community-based education efforts in Asia addressing coexistence with and conservation of these imperiled species are critical to their survival.

In collaboration with conservation partners in Southeast Asia, NWF’s Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders Program (EWCL) created two Southeast Asian bear conservation posters using my photographs. A sun bear poster was produced in English and Khmer for Cambodian partners, and a sloth bear poster was produced in English and Hindi for Indian partners. In India, 5,000 full-sized “Dare to Care” sloth bear posters (2,500 in Hindi and 2,500 in English) were distributed during the country’s Wildlife Week to more than 65 conservation education organizations including forest divisions, zoological partners, education institutes, schools and universities, reaching more than 10,000 community members in their conservation awareness programs. 1500 sloth bear posters have also been provided to the Agra Bear Center in India, a sloth bear rescue and rehabilitation facility. The posters they will be distributed there to educate visitors about the plight of sloth bears. In addition, a total of 400 full-sized and 50,000 flyer-sized sun bear posters in Khmer will be distributed to schools and communities in Cambodia. It is anticipated that the “Dare to Care” sun bear conservation awareness campaign there will reach 50,000 community members and close to 10,000 school children.