Before nature photography entered my life, I was a wildlife biologist. For nearly thirty years I lived my childhood dream working with wildlife, managing wildlands, and as my career was winding down, helping the next generation prepare for their careers in wildlife conservation. My passion for all things nature also started long before my professional career. By the ripe age of ten I was already a seasoned birder and passionate naturalist. My love for nature photography was just icing on the top of a wonderful life and career focusing on all things natural.
What’s this have to do with the title of this blog, “Focus on Pollinators?” Well, a lot or should I say, the lack of focus on pollinators during my career as a wildlife professional.
Until recently – and I mean in the last decade — there was not much attention given to pollinators. During my early days in wildlife conservation, the emphasis was on charismatic mega fauna such as turkey, deer, and waterfowl. The mantra was to manage the species that are hunted and then everything else will take care of itself.
Even as a young naturalist, I knew there was more than just single species management, that all things were connected to each other. I was proud to be part of the generation that questioned the single species approach and moved toward a more ecological approach to wildlife conservation.
Eventually the focus started shifting and the profession was finally acknowledging and working on a systems approach to conserving and managing our wildlife and wildlands. These days, conservation professionals apply the concepts of conservation biology and landscape ecology.
Today we are recognizing pollinators’ role in the ecosystem. We have finally acknowledged the crisis we have placed ourselves in by not addressing the importance of pollinators.
Pollinators are indeed at a crossroads in survival: habitat loss and fragmentation, pesticides, diseases, and the invasion of non-native species that compete with native pollinators are just a few reasons for the decline.
Nature photographers have a vast, untapped resource of photographic opportunities to document these species and to use photography to bring awareness and understanding of why we need pollinators. Consider this: Worldwide, there are more than 100,000 animal species that are pollinators, including more than 1,500 vertebrate species. From butterflies and moths, to bees, beetles and flies, to hummingbirds and bats, there exists a plethora of species to photograph.
To learn more go to: http://www.fws.gov/pollinators/. Include images of pollinators as part of your photographic collection. Post and share them on your website, Facebook page and other social networking sites to bring attention to these critical inhabitants of our fragile earth.