Inspired by the Photo Ark

I've let this blog languish with the usual excuses--too busy, too distracted, too many other priorities. But a recent 60 Minutes segment on Joel Sartore inspired me to bring Environment Discovery back to life.

Egret at Hanna Park, Jacksonville, FL
Photo by Donna Kaluzniak
Sartore is a National Geographic photographer, though I'm most familiar with him through several online photography courses I took. (He's a great instructor, too, and just a very nice guy).

He's also the founder of the Photo Ark, a 25-year project to document every species in captivity. The Photo Ark's goal is to get people to care that half of all the species in the world could vanish by the turn of the next century.

The portraits are made with clean black or white backgrounds, allowing us to look into the animals' eyes, to see their intelligence and beauty. Over 12,000 animals are in captivity, and Sartore has taken portraits of over 8,000 during the last 12 years. In the portraits, the tiniest species appear as the same size as the largest. To Sartore, every species plays an important role in our survival.

Sartore has traveled around the world working long days in extreme weather. Many of the creatures he photographs are dangerous, like the Palawan Spitting Cobra, which can blind you if it spits in your eye. In fact, the 60 Minutes cameraman was bitten by a Red Rat Snake. Fortunately, it wasn't venomous.

Sartore is a big supporter of zoos, aquariums, and wildlife rehabilitation centers and their efforts to save and breed rare or threatened animals. On his site, he lists a number of ways you can help to save species.

Want to help build the Photo Ark? Go to the Photo Ark Store, where beautiful prints, books, tee shirts, and montages are available for sale.

And thank you, Joel Sartore, for reawakening my desire to continue an environmental discovery!

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