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Photo of three people with one looking through a spotting scope and the other two looking off in the distance. Wildlife viewing, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California. © Beth Huning

Wildlife viewing, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California © Beth Huning

By Beth Huning, NANPA President

“This land is your land…..”.  Such is the first line of the famous Woody Guthrie song. We photographers are frequent visitors to public lands, often not thinking of them as “ours” to steward so much as accessible to us to photograph. Yet these lands are only available to us through forward thinkers of previous generations who witnessed exploitation, foresaw the future, and committed to their protection and public ownership for their resource values or for future use, recreation, and enjoyment.

When we think of public lands, we photographers often visit the iconic national parks and national wildlife refuges for the landscapes and the wildlife we desire to photograph. Yet public lands encompass not only federal parks and refuges, but US Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. There are also state, regional, county, and local parks and regional open space areas that are available for our use and enjoyment. These lands are often the setting for our most prized or best-selling images.

As “consumers”, we might consider an “exchange”. What are you doing to give back to help maintain the natural beauty and health of the lands you love to photograph? National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer event for public lands. Established in 1994 by the National Environmental Education Foundation, National Public Lands Day is held each year on the fourth Saturday in September. This celebration is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer event for public lands and brings out thousands of volunteers to help maintain, restore, and improve public lands around the country. It is also a Fee-Free-Day when entrance fees are waived at national parks and other public lands.

Photographers are often maligned as being intrusive on the landscape. Volunteering on September 24 for a National Public Lands Day event at your favorite park or refuge is an opportunity to demonstrate that photographers care about the lands that are our subjects. You might even become the photographer for the volunteer event as a way to give back to the agency. As you participate in events on National Public Lands Day, let it be known that you are a photographer and NANPA member.

Sandhill cranes, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico. Join other NANPA members in a popular Regional Event there in December. © Beth Huning

NANPA Showcase

The Showcase contest is underway and submissions are being uploaded by the minute. The Showcase is more than a contest. It is an opportunity for NANPA members to market or display your work to new audiences. Many members gained notoriety and launched their careers as a result of entering Showcase. So start a submission now!

If you tried to start an entry and had difficulties with the website and gave up, try again. We apologize for the issues. Our website is relatively new, and we are still discovering glitches as we bring new sections on line for the first time. The problems with the site are now fixed, and it is operating as designed.

The NANPA website contains a wealth of information about photo contexts. For example, there is a section on tips from the judges including 7 most common mistakes. Showcase is open for submissions through 8 p.m. EDT on September 15 at

2023 NANPA Summit May 3-7, Tucson, Arizona

Plan to join us in person at the Nature Photography Summit May 3-7, 2023 in Tucson, Arizona. The conference and trade show run from May 4 – 6, but there are optional super sessions and field trips on May 3 and 7 that you won’t want to miss. This will be our first Summit in 5 years and an inspirational opportunity to reconnect with old friends, make new ones, and photograph with some of the best nature photographers and local leaders.

The Summit team has been creating an experience that will inspire and immerse you in the beauty of the Sonoran Desert, from the hotel grounds, to our plenary and break-out sessions, to more than 20 field trip offerings. Keynote speakers include:

  • Daniel J. Cox, Finding Purpose: A Photographic Journey
  • Michael Frye, The Art of Nature Photography
  • Greg Johnson, I Am Just a Tornado Hunter
  • Gabby Salazar, Finding Creativity in Collaboration
  • Adam Schallau, From Rim to Rim: A Photographic Exploration of the Grand Canyon
  • Wendy Shattil, What Happens Along the Way
  • Dave Showalter, Living River: The Promise of the Mighty Colorado

Registration will open in early October; so watch for details in NANPA News or visit the NANPA website. Register early to get the best rate.

NANPA’s College Program

Thanks to the NANPA Foundation, the Summit College Photography Scholarship Program will be returning this year in conjunction with the Summit  in Tucson. If you attended past Summits, you were likely inspired by the quality of the work photographed and produced in a matter of days by the college students. The college program is not just a learning experience for the students. The program is held in partnership with a local conservation site, so the production becomes an outreach tool for the site. The video that the students produced for the Clark County Wetlands Park when we were at the Summit in Las Vegas is still shown as the orientation in the visitor center. The college program has wide-reaching impact, and you are invited to contribute by visiting


Philip Hyde and Jamie Moore Green Grants

Part of NANPA’s mission is to photograph what’s beautiful, threatened, and unique in the natural world and use our photographs to help conserve these resources. NANPA and the NANPA Foundation offer grants to help members using their photography for conservation purpose.

Are you engaged in an ongoing conservation project and are seeking funds to complete an aspect of the project such as an exhibit, book, or other educational outreach or using your photography in other ways toward conservation of a target landscape or species?  The Philip Hyde Grant was established just for that purpose.

The Janie Moore Greene Scholarship Grant is a terrific opportunity for a college student who will be specializing in the study of photography. This grant is a $2,000 award given biennially, through the generosity of Janie Moore Green and the NANPA Foundation.

As a prior Philip Hyde Grant recipient, I can testify to the value and prestige that these grants can leverage in other funds and support for your conservation project or, if you are a college student, to further your education. Several NANPA photographers launched their careers thanks to the Jamie Moore Green Grant,

Applications for both grants opened later in September. Look for an announcement soon.

NANPA Board Meeting September 11-12 and the NANPA Strategic Plan

In last month’s blog I laid out my vision for the year now that we are emerging from the pandemic. For the first time in 3 years, the NANPA board met in person. It was a valuable opportunity to get to know each other in person rather than virtually and build real working relationships accomplish  business on your behalf. We reviewed NANPA’s strategic plan and reaffirmed the vision and goals we established 2 years ago and celebrated having reached several of our goals. We prioritized several actions and programs and adopted a budget that included them. We are now putting together the structure that will move NANPA into the future and deliver the goals of our strategic plan. If you are interested in where NANPA sees itself in several years, you can find our strategic plan on the NANPA website, on the Members’ Home Page, on the right, under NANPA business.

In the meantime, our in-person and field programs are gaining traction. We have a record number of Regional Events open for registration or in the planning phases, and they are filling fast. And, as a reminder, the Summit in Tucson in May will be our next large gathering. I hope to see you in the field, at a Regional Event and at the Summit. Act now to get involved with National Public Lands Day events, and happy photographing!

Cullinan Ranch 1800-acre wetland restoration 6 days after levee breach, San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. © Beth Huning