New Jersey: Upper Raritan Basin, Hunterdon County, Tewksbury Township, Oldwick, aerial view of countryside at sunrise from hot-air balloon,
USA: New Jersey, Upper Raritan River Basin, Upper Raritan Watershed Association (URWA) BioBlitz on May 21, 2011, sign for rain garden
USA: New Jersey, Upper Raritan River Basin, Mt. Olive Township, Budd Lake (town), Sandshore Road views of Budd Lake at sunset, (Budd Lake is headwaters of South Branch of the Raritan River), kayaker silhouette with dock in foreground
New Jersey: Upper Raritan Basin, Hunterdon County, Tewksbury Township, Califon, River Road, South Branch of Raritan River, man fly fishing in river for heritage trout among fallen fall foliage,
New Jersey: Upper Raritan Basin, Hunterdon County, Tewksbury Township, Mountainville, sunflower (‘Helianthus annus’) with tiger swallowtail butterfly (‘Pterourus glaucus’),
The Raritan River, a long unsung treasure of New Jersey, was high on the list of special places for No Water No Life Founder and Director, Alison Jones. She lived in this NWNL case-study watershed all through her childhood and much of her adulthood. Thanks to documentary efforts by Alison and other Raritan stewards, the Raritan has risen in the esteem of many.
I had the pleasure of working with her and the many organizations that dedicate themselves to restoring and protecting this river. My recently-published book, The Raritan River: Our Landscape, Our Legacy, contains her images and those of many others who clearly love this river and this region.
The book presents the story of key organizations and their leaders by region, so everyone can appreciate their hard work and dedication to the protection of the watershed. The beautiful banks of over 2000 miles of tributaries moved many area photographers and artists to capture its magical nature.
The book offers New Jersey people across the country to say, “Hey. This is the New Jersey we know and love. It’s more than a turnpike and heavy industry. It’s beautiful and it’s really special.”
Since I retired from Rutgers University in December as the Founding Director of the Edward J. Bloustein School’s Sustainable Raritan Initiative, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the stewardship torch pass brightly on to the many who care as much as I did. So, get out and enjoy your natural treasures and capture the wonder in photos or paintings. You’ll be glad you did!
On the banks of our rivers we raise families, grow food, do laundry, fish, swim, celebrate and relax. “Following Rivers,” a new exhibit by conservation photographer and No Water No Life Founding Director Alison M. Jones, tells a visual story of people and the critical water issues they face.
Combining the power of photography and science, NWNL, has spent 8 years documenting river basins in North America and Africa. The exhibit encourages viewers to translate images into questions. What are the impacts of our daily actions? How can we best protect our life-giving rivers and estuaries? Should we reduce resource consumption, require stronger pollution controls, minimize resource extraction, or forgo fossil fuels and material luxuries? How can we approach water as an opportunity for unity and cooperation, rather than a source of conflict?
NWNL believes the nexus of science and art, intellectual and physical resources, and local knowledge can effectively spread awareness of Nature’s unique interdependence and vulnerability of our watersheds’ glaciers, forests, wetlands, plains, estuaries, tributaries. Without raising that awareness, there will be no action.
The exhibit will be on view from March 14 through October 3, 2015. Join us for a free public reception on Saturday, March 14 from 5-7 pm with Artists talks on April 11 and July 11, 2015 at Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, Clarkson University, 199 Main Street, Beacon, NY 12508 – (845) 838-1600. Gallery Hours: Tu-Th 9-5, Fri 9-1 Sat 12-6 (second Sat until 8) Sun/Mon-Closed
*North American Nature Photography Association newsletter.
I’ve always enjoyed water. I grew up on a small rural stream with frogs, moss, trout, rocks and fog. Years later, copiloting over sub-Sahara Africa, I saw clearly that where there was no water, there was no life. Thus, No Water No Life ® (NWNL) became the title of my quest to combine the powers of photography, science and stakeholder information to raise awareness of the vulnerability of our fresh water resources.
The following are my daily mantras:
African proverb: “You think of water when the well is dry.”
Leonardo da Vinci: “Water is the driver of nature.”
The Dalai Lama: “The first medicine on this planet was water.”
Words are powerful.
But, if one photograph has the power of 1,000 words, then a photograph that is captioned must be worth 100,000 words.
NANPA award recipient James Balog said, “Science gave me a new lens through which to see the world… a more holistic view and appreciation of the natural environment.” I too relish having science and NWNL goals attached to my lenses, endowing my images with greater impact.
In eight years NWNL has completed 22 expeditions to six case-study watersheds in Africa (Nile, Omo and Mara river basins) and North America (Columbia, Mississippi and Raritan river basins). Resulting imagery, research and blogs are on our website (http://www.nowater-nolife.org) — and those of International Rivers, American Rivers and others. NWNL documentation is further shared via social media, lectures, exhibits, and in books and magazine articles.
We’ve focused on glaciers and tarns (in the Columbia, Mississippi and Nile basins), lakes (including Kenya’s Lake Turkana, now imperiled by Ethiopian hydro-dams on the Omo River), meadows and Texas playas, wetlands (half of these naturally-filtered nurseries are already gone), tributaries, forests (disappearing from Earth at a rate of 36 football fields per minute), riparian corridors, flyways, estuaries and delta lands (disappearing from the Mississippi Delta at the rate of one football field per hour).
NWNL has interviewed hundreds of scientists, stewards and stakeholders. These commentaries, which we call “Voices of the River,” discuss pollution, climate change, fracking, population growth in Africa, dams and levees, water usage by agriculture and industry, and tropic cascades of predators—anything impacting the health of watersheds. NWNL has recorded solutions from Canadian glaciologists, Maasai wilderness guides, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, historians, farmers and others on how to protect riverine corridors and ecosystems and ensure freshwater availability and quality.
The overall NWNL goal is to transcend boundaries, bridge divisions and differences, suggest the shape of the future, capture imagination, stir consciences and create change. At NANPA’s 2002 Jacksonville Summit, art critic Vicki Goldberg described the power of photography to meet these objectives: “A photograph is like a lobbyist who sways a legislator.” Apollo 17’s “Blue Marble,” probably the most widely distributed image in human history, is a great example of imagery awakening a global awareness of our unique watery bonds. The connection with Earth’s beauty, which that image evokes, mirrors a comment by Terry Tempest Williams at the October 2014 observance of the 50th anniversary of The Wilderness Act: “We have no choice but to stand for what we love… We the people must walk with the river.”
NWNL will be collating and publishing many more images, videos and essays in online and print media. Upcoming NWNL photoessays will assess and compare water issues in developed and developing worlds, rural and urban regions, upstream and downstream. NWNL will also continue its newly initiated “Spotlights” on critical water issues such as the devastating drought in California.
NWNL appreciates the voluntary contributions of student interns’ research and guest photographers on our expeditions. We also thank photographers working in our case-study watersheds who share their images and findings with NWNL.
NWNL fiscal support comes from individuals, family foundations, grants and generous in-kind donations. To support NWNL in raising awareness of the vulnerability of our freshwater resources, checks to No Water No Life can be sent to Alison Jones, director of No Water No Life, 330 East 79th Street, NY, NY 10075 or via PayPal offered on the NWNL website http://nowater-nolife.org/supportUs/index.html).
Alison M. Jones is a conservation photographer who has documented ecosystems and resource management for more than 25 years in Africa and the Americas. She is the director and lead photographer at NWNL.
Exactly one year ago today, NWNL documented the clean up of the Nation’s largest coal fly ash spill at Kingston Fossil Plant, TN. In 2008, over 1 billion gallons of coal ash slurry leaked into the Emory and Clinch Rivers, part of the Mississippi River basin. The recovery will continue into 2015.
• Pollution from Industrial, Agricultural and Urban Runoff.
• Protection of Migratory Birds and Watershed Biodiversity.
• Loss of Cypress, Hardwood Forests and Wetlands.
• Effectiveness of Levees, Locks and Dams, and Floodways.
• Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Resource Management.
Louisiana shrimp boat
Mississippi River barge
Why support a No Water No Life expedition?
NWNL expeditions help raise global awareness of freshwater availability, quality and usage. For eight years, NWNL has returned with interviews, still photos and video imagery from our six case-study watersheds in North America and Africa. This documentation informs and inspires actions that will help insure… fresh water, for everyone, forever.