Most of the locations I photograph in, and certainly many of the species that are my subjects are in need of protection. Big conservation organizations I can support with donations. I really like the closeness and close working relationships that turned into friendships with smaller grass roots organizations however. For a localized area, I believe they can have a much deeper impact. Besides donating, over the years I have supported three organizations in particular with my photography, but also through my photography.
- South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS); http://www.slcszambia.org/. A group largely comprised of former guides, lodge owners and residents near South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. This group involves the community in wildlife conservancy. Hires locals. Works with local schools. Assists government wildlife rangers. Conducts anti poaching patrols, on foot, by vehicle and lately by air (combats Sustenance and Commercial Bushmeat Poaching as well as Commercial Ivory Poaching). Will get involved in vetenerary work if wildlife is suffering due to human causes. I have photographed anti poaching patrols as well as personnel and donated the images to SLCS for publication, etc. Have also photographed snared animals (victims of bushmeat poaching) and donated the images. My first gallery exhibit's proceeds were donated to SLCS.
- Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust; http://www.chipembele.org/. Also in Zambia's Luangwa Valley. Besides an animal orphanage, its main purpose is to teach local children basic ecology and the importance of wildlife and its existence (local children actually have very little contact with wildlife, and often view wildlife as a dangerous nuisance). Also promotes education in general and assists in and works towards local village children succeeding in primary school with the goal of going to university in Europe, North America or Australia. Several children have achieved this. Education is key to reducing poverty, and down the line even poaching. I have photographed local village children for a calendar that was used by Chipembele as a fundraising tool, as well as donated images for their classroom for educational purposes.
- Ventana Wilderness Alliance (VWA); http://www.ventanawild.org/. Based in Santa Cruz, California. Active in the designated wilderness area of the Northern Santa Lucia Mountains just inland of coastal Big Sur, by assuring public access and safety by maintaining wilderness trails, wilderness promotion and stewardship, working with other organizations and individuals to protect this pristine wilderness area. I have photographed some of the area with VWA's mission in mind, and have donated images for VWA to use in their news letter as well as for print advertising (such as in Catamaran Literary Reader and in the Monterey County Weekly). VWA has raffled off a framed photograph donated by me at the 2012 Wilderness Film Festival at the Del Mar movie theater in downtown Santa Cruz.
Besides direct involvement, at every single exhibit, inevitably conversation will turn towards conservation. I am lucky to show and sell my images of wild places and wild creatures to the public. Likewise people want to share their experiences. In addition to direct business dealings and conversation, I am able with my work to directly and indirectly create awareness.