By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator
June 15 is Nature Photography Day, a time to promote the enjoyment of nature photography and to reflect on how photos can be used to further the cause of conservation. NANPA celebrated the first Nature Photography Day (NPD) back in 2006 and, over the past 15 years, there have been many ways the day has been observed—not just in North America but across the globe as well.
A little background
Long-time NANPA member Shirley Nuhn is known as the “godmother of Nature Photography Day,” having been instrumental in getting this observance started. You can learn all about the history of NPD, and the critical role she played, in this article. Over the years we’ve heard many ways of celebrating NPD, from photo walks to photo competitions, from blog articles and hashtags to camera club outings and photo exhibits, exploring a local park or your own backyard. The sky’s the limit. You can find more ideas on NANPA’s NPD web page.
What’s up this year?
From June 4 through June 15, NANPA encourages members and interested photographers to participate in NANPA’s Nature Photography Day Bioblitz and help document biodiversity in your neighborhood and across the continent.
A bioblitz is a community event to find and identify as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. For example, a group of volunteers could spend three hours one morning exploring a meadow and creating a snapshot of the biodiversity in that field.
Although scientists are often involved in bioblitzes, they aren’t required. A number of smartphone apps allow one to photograph, identify, and record species of plants, animals, insects, reptiles, and fungi. An app like iNaturalist not only helps you identify species but also records that information for the future use of researchers. In that way, a bioblitz is a valuable citizen science activity that can have value long after the participants have gone home. NANPA Conservation Committee Volunteer David Cook explained how iNaturalist works in this article.
Did I mention prizes?
Yes, there are some incentives. VISA cash cards and some cool gear from Tamron and Wimberly are in the prize packages for the most observations posted, most unique species observed, a special judge’s choice award for an observation deemed most noteworthy and a grand prize drawing. For more information on the prizes and rules, see NANPA’s NPD web page.
You don’t have to do a Bioblitz to mark Nature Photography Day. There are many other ways to mark the occasion, from tagging the photos you share with #NaturePhotographyDay to organizing (and photographing) a stream cleanup, to working with a conservation organization. See NANPA’s NPD web page for more ideas.
Over the past year, with pandemic travel restrictions, many of us developed a new appreciation for natural areas close to home, whether local parks and forests or botanical gardens and backyards. NANPA’s Nature Photography Day is a chance to look closer, learn more, and celebrate the beautiful things all around us.