As my time as NANPA’s president comes to a close, like a sunset at the end of a day, I want to say “thank you for the opportunity.” I never expected to reach this level within the organization when I joined almost a decade ago.
My optimism has wavered at times over the last two years. There were stretches when I felt like I couldn’t make a difference or the positive changes that NANPA needs. There were times where I felt like much was out of my control. No other president experienced something like Covid and all that came with it. At first, I was thankful we could continue working on all we wanted to achieve through platforms like Zoom but I, like many of you, am Zoomed out. I look forward to getting together in person again soon. But giving into frustration during this time as president only meant I couldn’t make the difference I wanted to when I first accepted the nomination.
Someone told me I drew the black bean: Covid, pandemic, financial struggles in the U.S., a continually declining value for photography. It meant I couldn’t accomplish all I had hoped but I am happy and honored to have accomplished what we did, and what we have started, in the last two years. There is much more to come.
Honor the presidents, boards, staff and volunteers before me who paved the road to NANPA’s success today. Honor the future presidents, like incoming president, Beth Huning, who will continue to build NANPA into the best nature photography organization for ANYONE interested in the medium.
You are the people who will make a difference today for those future generations, like those before us.
On May 27, 2022, the world lost a visionary in the world of nature photography. Although Linda Helm was not a photographer herself, she was the support, guidance and encouragement for many other nature photographers. She was there from the early days of NANPA as she helped her husband, Mark Lukes, with the vision to start NANPA.
Although I only met Linda a year ago, she brought me into her home like I was her oldest friend. I have heard many other people talk about their first time meeting her, in the earliest days of NANPA, and at subsequent Summits. Everyone talked about her warmth, humor and generosity.