What We’re Reading #1

Introducing a new semi-regular blog series: What We’re Reading!  For two months this winter, our NWNL Director Alison Jones was in Kenya. Among the many interviews and trips to the Omo and Mara River Basins, Alison was also busy reading during this expedition. The goal of this new blog series is to share the books NWNL reads and give you ideas of books to read about our watersheds!

Ruaha National Park: An Intimate View

ruahanationalpark.jpgWritten by Alison’s new acquaintance Sue Stolberger, this is the first field guide to trees, flowers and small creatures found in Ruaha National Park, and surrounding Central Tanzania. While not part of one of NWNL’s watersheds, flora and fauna within Ruaha National Park are very similar to that of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park that is within the Mara River Basin.

 

 

 

 

 

Rivergods: Exploring the World’s Great Wild Riversrivergods.jpg

In this wonderfully photographed book, Richard Bangs & Christian Kallen raft down rivers across the globe. The first chapter covers the Omo River in Ethiopia, one of NWNL’s case-study watersheds, which the book calls the “River of Life.”

 

 

 

 

Ethiopia: The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom

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Nigel Pavitt, an informal advisor to NWNL on the Nile and Omo River Basins and Carol Beckwith a friend of NWNL Director Alison Jones are two of the photographers for this stunning large-format book tracing art, culture, ecclesiastical history and legend in Ethiopia’s Blue Nile River Basin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Web Design: Make Your Website a Success

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Finally, NWNL would like to make a special announcement:  we are re-designing our website!  In preparation for that,  Alison  read a helpful book by Sean McManus on easy steps to designing websites. Simultaneously, a team of experts were working with our Project Manager in our NYC office, so the process is already underway.  By the end of summer we will unveil our new website!

Water Resolutions for 2018

Happy New Year! We hope you’ll sign on to our NWNL team resolutions for 2018 to conserve water, keep our water clean, and be more eco-friendly!

Canada: British Columbia, Castlegar, trail along Columbia River

1) Use less water!  Cut shower times in half.  Turn off faucets while brushing teeth.  Use slightly dirty water for office plants.  Run dishwasher when completely full.  Use washing machine only if a full load – or customized to smaller loads.

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2) Stop slipping toxins down the drain!  Think about the effects. Stop bad habits. No cleaning products, cosmetics or medications down the drain.  (Take to pharmacy recycling).  Check cars for oil leaks.  No littering (especially those pesky, non-biodegradable cigarette butts).  Avoid pesticides and fertilizers (Compost instead.)

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3) Minimize plastics!  Use a reusable water bottle.  Get one with water filter attached.  Make 2018 the year you ditch disposable plastic water bottles.

USA California, Santa Barbara, Summer Solstice Parade, water bottles

4) Keep our water resources clean!  Join – or organize – a community clean ups at a park, river, pond or highway.  Help monitor water quality of local rivers and ponds.

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5) Spend more time by rivers, ponds and lakes!  Kayak or canoe – or learn how.  Swim, fish or camp by the water.  Photograph, paint or draw local waterscapes.

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6) Use our voices! Advocate for environmental and water-friendly policies in whatever way is comfortable (i.e., vote, write to the politicians, join a march, or talk to friends and family about why this matters).

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7) Create less waste! Use reusable sandwich bags, sustainable or reusable food wrap, and glass food-storage containers.  Recycle as much as possible.

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No Water No Life Water Resolutions

In 2018 No Water No Life is committed to seek win-win solutions that balance people’s needs with species and ecosystems’ needs – both in the short term and the long term. We’ll keep sharing thoughts on such solutions from our “Voices of the River” interviews of watershed scientists and stewards .

We will rely on images of beautiful watersheds to refresh our commitment to the critical  values of water.  To “recharge our batteries,” we’ll change the photographs hanging in our office, as we continue the work we’ve been doing for over a decade.

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All photos © Alison M. Jones.

What is a Bio Blitz? A Strategy for Stewardship

By Kevin FitzPatrick,
Conservation Photographer, iLCP Senior Fellow

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Bio Blitz: a short, intense team effort to discover as many different life forms as possible in one location; shorter-duration, smaller-scaled versions of All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventories (ATBIs) [See Glossary below article.]

A Bio Blitz compasses all that I want to communicate to my audience about conservation and biodiversity, and it’s a wonderful way to communicate with students and adults about science. It offers young people a chance to try their hand at identifying species, photography, sketching wildlife, writing about nature or discovering the natural history of their own area. No two Bio Blitzes are the same, as each one is a reflection of the local environment. It is an opportunity for youth to enhance their appreciation of the environment through photography, art and exploration, and to engage in true “citizen science.”

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With the iNaturalist Mobile Application, the Encyclopedia of Life’s Species Collections allows participants to document species and upload observations to a collective map available freely online. Bio Blitzes connect photographers with scientists who help them find species. This experience gives photographers the ability to expand the range of species in their files.

So many of us only focus on mega-fauna and common species, forgetting the big picture (or maybe the little picture). I am talking about butterflies, beetles, insects of all sorts, frogs, salamanders, snakes and, yes, slime molds! As the BioBlitz Concept begins to takeoff around the country, there’ll be a greater need for these kinds of images. Over 100 parks and refuges around the country now promoting Bio Blitzes, so you can likely take advantage of this great opportunity in your area.

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I have shot over 115 Bio Blitzes from Maine to California with the approach of a conservation photographer. My purpose is to shoot a way that people can see the species present with all their beautiful, close-up detail and color. When this happens, perceptions change and these species take on a new life in the minds of the viewer. They are seen as an asset and part of their world! Thus, Bio Blitz is much more than just a concerted effort to identify the species that live in chosen location. It is a celebration of nature and the many wonderful forms that exist in any given place. When people of all ages and professions come together to take a closer look at their local wildlife, a tangible excitement builds.

Bio Blitzes are powerful tools for environmental education, conservation and community engagement, representing experiential learning at its best. Bio Blitzes images highlight species diversity and offer positive experiences within local ecosystems. When conservation integrates art and science, it merges different but valid ways of perceiving and experiencing the world.  Merging means of direct participation in Bio Blitzes may challenge or blur the artificial boundaries marked by our training.  But what biologist isn’t stirred by theprofound, and what artist doesn’t sense geometry in mystery?

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At our core we are humans. The head and the heart are inseparable.  And so, a compelling story about conservation interprets the intersection of human history, emergence of an ecological conscience, and biological integrity.  A Bio Blitz is an opportunity to experience that intersection directly.

I have worked with a larger-scale, longer-duration ATBI [All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory] in the Smokies since it started almost 20 years ago. We have found over 1,000 new species. While in-depth, scientific ATBI’s are now starting up all across the country, the benefit of Bio Blitzes is that they are all-inclusive. Any one gets to go and play a part. Kids, parents, and grandparents – you name it!

I have worked with scientists for years and know how most people see them. To counter those preconceptions, Bio Blitzes allows people to work hand and hand with scientists in the field while in your element! Participants see how engaging, passionate and fun they are to be with. Also many younger scientists are excited to see the general public get in involved in science. I have worked with National Geographic on Bio Blitzes at Saguaro National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Jean Lafitte National Historical & Preserve, Golden Gate National Park, and The Mall in Washington, DC. At each one, the public was totally engaged and had over1000 kids attending!

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GLOSSARY [“From ATBI to Bio Blitz”]

ATBI: an intense inventory of all taxa to the species level to the degree possible in a single site, followed by on-going further inventory as needed by specific taxa and in-depth basic and applied biodiversity research and development (Janzen and Hallwachs 1994).

Bio Blitz: part rapid biological survey and part public outreach event bringing together scientists and volunteers to compile a snapshot of biodiversity in a relatively short amount of time (Karns et al. 2006; Lundmark 2003). It is not intended to be an exhaustive inventory, but can contribute to a more comprehensive ATBI effort in the future.

Biodiversity. The variety of living organisms considered at all levels of organization, including the genetic, species, and higher taxonomic levels, and the variety of habitats and ecosystems,as well as the processes occurring therein (Meffe and Carroll 1997).

Citizen science. Citizen science refers to participation of the general public as field assistants in scientific studies (Cohn 2008; Irwin 1995). Volunteers may have no specific scientific training,and typically perform, or manage, tasks such as observation, measurement, or computation.

Inventory. Natural resource inventories are extensive point-in-time surveys to determine the location or condition of a resource, including the presence, class, distribution, and status of biological resources such as plants and animals. Inventories are designed to contribute to our knowledge of the condition of park resources and establish baseline information for subsequent monitoring activities (NPS 2008).

All photos provided by Kevin FitzPatrick.

Keep It Flowin’

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Supporting Wetlands, Watersheds and NWNL

Since Jan 6, Alison has been immersed in intense editing of expedition interviews already transcribed, which will shortly entail paying webmaster expenses. The first series of 10 interviews will be about The Mau Forest, Kenya’s largest water tower and the source of the Mara River Basin.

Soon we’ll be needing to pay transcribers to prepare more interviews for our 9-year collection of what we’re calling “Voices of the River.” This feature is proving to be just as valuable to all interested in watershed analysis and solutions as NWNL’s extensive photo archive.

Please Keep Donations Flowing

  • NWNL donor numbers and donation amounts are increasing!
  • We’ve already received $15,000 in donations and $2,500 in grant dollars!
  • We raised 1/2 of our 2015 total in Jan. Let’s raise the other 1/2 in Feb!
  • We’re rapidly putting out new interviews, stories and products. Please match our pace!

NEWS: The Philip Hyde Environmental Grant from NANPA!

Alison M. Jones, Founding Director of NWNL, has just received the 2016 Philip Hyde Environmental Grant from the Foundation Board of Trustees of the North American Nature Photography Association [NANPA]. Philip Hyde trained under Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, and other definers of the medium of environmental photography.  The significance of this award is captured in an inspiring 2-minute Philip Hyde video showing why he is considered the “Father of Environmentalism.”

Alison has been a member of NANPA since its 2nd year and served on its Board of Directors.  For fifteen years NANPA Summits provided Alison with valuable photographic knowledge and visual inspiration shared by many of North America’s greatest nature photographers.  Thus she is especially honored by this award that comes from her “photographic family.”  Indeed, much of the structure of NWNL evolved from the NANPA Mission:

  • NANPA promotes the art and science of nature photography as a medium of communication, nature appreciation and environmental protection.
  • NANPA provides information, education, inspiration and opportunity for all persons interested in nature photography.
  • NANPA fosters excellence and ethical conduct in all aspects of our endeavors and especially encourages responsible photography in the wild.

NWNL will use this grant to help fund the costs of transcribing and posting nine interviews of scientists, stakeholder and stewards in our six North American case-study watersheds:  the Columbia, Mississippi and Raritan Basins.   A few interviews from the Columbia River Basin are already posted on our site:

Alison thanks NANPA for this support and is now editing more interviews in Kenya, where she does look up from her computer now and then to see warthogs charging across her patio and birds, including variable and bronze sunbirds, speckled mousebirds, and hopefully a turaco soon!  NWNL will send notices of batches of interviews as they are posted.

Article by Alison M. Jones

 

💦 A Flow of Holiday Thoughts…

We wish you the Magic of water, the Rhythm of rivers and the Joy of friends and family on our riverbanks!

Giraffe and Maasai cross Amboseli Lake in a mirage.
Giraffe and Maasai cross Amboseli Lake in a mirage.

“THE RIVER SPEAKS”  – Poem by Gene Lindberg

Down from the mountains of eternal snow
The streams come tumbling, joining as they flow
To send a river winding toward the sea.
I listen, and the river speaks to me.
It tells of meadows on a thirsty plain;
Of gardens blooming where there is no rain;
Of mighty cities built upon its banks;
Of living things that owe the river thanks.
The waters speak to me, and hurry on,
Eager to come and eager to be gone.
Almost it seems as if the river knew,
How many things there are for it to do.
Sometimes it pauses,
to lay up a store of liquid wealth in lake and reservoir,
Then leaps a dam and hastens on again,
Turning a wheel to light the homes of men.
The river speaks, and deserts cease to be;
Wide fields grow green, and ships go down to the sea,
I hear the water singing as it goes:
“Let life go on, because the river flows.”

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NEW GIFTS FROM OUR STORE! NWNL creations
for anyone on your list who appreciates water!

US: Oregon, Columbia River Basin, Columbia River Gorge, bottom of Multnomah Falls, ferns and moss covered rocks in foreground

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! See our list
of important days to celebrate through the New Year!

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DONATE NOW! NWNL has much more to do!
Donate what you can to help protect our freshwater resources.

East Africa, Kenya, Nairobi, Langata, Hog Ranch, cracked, dry earth MR

“The fate of animals is…indissolubly connected with
the fate of men.”
– Émile Zola

Posted by Jasmine Graf, Associate Director of No Water No Life.

Caring

NWNL-suds

#GivingTuesday

Can’t do is like “Don’t Care.” -Maya Angelou

We all care about having clean fresh water!
So please fill our online NWNL Paypal Account today!

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