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bethjwald

On this Dia de la Pachamama (Day of Mother Earth), I want to celebrate the enduring Andean peoples of the Americas, and all indigenous people across the world who honor, worship and strive to live in harmony with the natural world and who understand that by taking care of the earth, her bounty and blessings will sustain us. The following photos are of Andean people and their ancient traditions and architecture in the Sacred Valley and Puno regions of Peru. August 1 is the Dia de la Pachamama in many Andean communities and begins a month of celebration dedicated to honoring the life-giving power of Mother Earth. August is the coldest winter month in the southern hemisphere, and a time when rural Andean communities are at their most vulnerable…so it is a time when they honor the earth that provides for them and ask for protection of crops and livestock, in many different rituals across South America, but often involving offerings of coca leaves, sweets, alcohol and other items. We all need to honor and take better care of our one mother, this fragile, beautiful earth. For more photos of environment and culture on this month of Mother Earth, keep checking back! @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers #motherearth #diadelapachamama #honorourmother #everydayperu #pachama #Andeanculture

bethjwald

Eerie and ancient, dozens of hands reach out across millennia at the Cueva de los Manos, or Cave of Hands, in Cañadon Rio Pinturas, in the Patagonia steppe landscape of Santa Cruz province (second photo). This spectacular rock art, largely consisting of outlines of hands created by pigments blown through hollow bones, dates to 13,000 and 9,500 years ago and was made by indigenous peoples who hunted guanacos, rheas and other wildlife that still thrive in the region and who are also depicted on the cave walls. In the third photo, a mural depicting an artist’s vision of these ancient peoples and their descendants decorates an exterior wall in the nearby town of Perito Moreno. These ancient people, often referred to as “pre-Tehuelche”, were probably the ancestors of the nomadic Patagonia tribes that European explorers and setters encountered when they arrived to the region in the 19th century, and who were then slaughtered and driven off their ancestral land in military campaigns; many others died of European diseases. Cueva de los Manos is a testimony to a rich culture now lost. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Cueva de los Manos was not officially protected until recently, when, with the help of the local and provincial governments and the conservation organization Fundacion Flora y Fauna, the Cueva de los Manos Provincial Park was created. @thephotosociety @parquepatagoniaargentina @tompkinsconservation #ancientart #Riopinturas #santacruz #wildpatagonia

bethjwald

The skies of Patagonia…for me, they are one of its most defining and beautiful elements and a constant wonder, especially during the long slow sunrises and sunsets of mid-winter, as layers of clouds catch the low rays of light of the sun just over the horizon, and colors change from turquoise to fuschia to mandarin orange. These photos were taken from the Andes to the Atlantic over the last month or so… I hope they brighten your Monday! Follow me for more images over the next weeks as I explore the winter landscapes of Patagonia and conservation initiatives. @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers @tompkins_conservation #patagoniasky #bigskies

bethjwald

As northern latitudes enter the dog days of mid-summer, it is mid-winter at the tip of South America and the sun sets early along the Atlantic coast of Argentine Patagonia and nights are cold… fires must be well stoked to make it through the long nights. But marine life thrives in the productive waters of the South Atlantic, like the young elephant seals in the following photos, who bask in the winter sun on pebble beaches in Chubut Province. These massive mammals can reach up to 5 meters long, weigh up to 8,800 pounds! Males spend up to 80% of their life feeding on fish in the South Atlantic, an ocean that is pristine and largely unexplored but is also one of the world’s seas most threatened by overfishing. I have been documenting the work of CLT Argentina, the Argentine team of Tompkins Conservation, and their efforts to protect the Argentine seas. Last year they helped create the country’s first two National Marine Parks off the coast of Tierra del Fuego. CLT Argentina is also working with the provincial government and local communities in Chubut to protect land and sea along this wild coast. Follow me for more images over the next weeks as I explore the winter landscapes of Patagonia! @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers @tompkins_conservation #patagoniawild #sinazulnohayverde #marinemammals

bethjwald

Today is a day to both celebrate the best of America and the promise of its ideals and values as well as acknowledge the injustice and inequality that are at the bedrock of this country’s founding and development and which persist today. One thing to celebrate is the legacy of our public lands, like the Stikine-Le Conte Wilderness in Southeast Alaska seen in these photos: Shafts of sunlight break through clouds over the Coast Range; braided channels of the Stikine River; a black bear fishes for salmon on Anan Creek. For me, the idea that the existence of wilderness, of vast wild places where human presence is hardly felt, has intrinsic value as part of our national heritage and must be protected, is one of America’s greatest gifts to the world. Our public lands-National Parks, National forests, grasslands, seashores, our wildlife refuges, wild and scenic rivers and wilderness areas - are iconic and emblematic of America and belong to all citizens. We all need tonwork to protect them. @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers #wildindependence #wildfourth #protectpubliclands #thebestidea #alaskawild #americanwilderness

bethjwald

Although winter along the Patagonia coast in southern Argentina is harsh and inhospitable for humans, it is refuge to all kinds of birds and animals - from small terns to giant whales - who thrive on the rich marine life of the South Atlantic. In the first photos, sea lions share a rock with a rookery of cormorants and the occasional passing gull and tern, on Islas Blancas near the town of Camarones in Chubut Province; the third is of where the Patagonia steppe meets the sea near Puerto Madryn. As we approach World Environment Day on June 5, it is also important to note that the South Atlantic is also one of the world’s most threatened oceans – by overfishing, by-catch of seabirds, sharks and other species, by contamination from plastic, chemical residue and oil spills and the result is that 63% of sea species are threatened with extinction. In the Patagonian sea alone there are more than 60 endangered species. The government of Argentina, with the support of organizations like @cltargentina (Conservation Land Trust) the Argentine team of Tompkins Conservation, is making efforts to protect its seas, with the creation late last year of the country’s first two National Marine Parks off the coast of Tierra del Fuego. CLT Argentina is also working with the provincial government and local communities in Chubut to protect land and sea along this wild coast. Follow me for more images over the next weeks as I explore the winter landscapes of Patagonia! @ilcp_photographers @tompkins_conservation #worldenvironmentday #patagoniawild #marinewild #sinazulnohayverde

bethjwald

Even as days lengthen and tempertures rise in the northern hemisphere, winter is on the march down here in Patagonia, where I am exploring the wild landscapes and wildly scenic routes of Santa Cruz and the new Patagonia National Park. In this photo, taken a couple days ago, one of the first snows of the winter blankest the Jeinimeni Range in white, seen from Ruta 41 which runs along the border with Chile between Paso Roballos and Los Antiguos. In the following photos, an immature black-chested buzzard eagle endures the snowstorm, and a sign near the highest point on this remote dirt road points the way forward. Patagonia Park conserves fragile steppe landscape, wetlands, canyons and wildlife from hooded grebes to pumas as well as invaluable archaeological sites. I am @onassignment for @cltargentina in this this beautiful and wild part of the world, follow me at @bethjwald for more images over the next weeks. @ilcp_photographers @tompkins_conservation @parquepatagoniaargentina #santacruz #patagoniawild #nationalparks

bethjwald

Children and parents enjoy the dusk and the fountains of the beautiful Nagsh-e Jahan Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Isfahan, Iran - the square is surrounded by a palace, covered markets and spectacular mosques, and in the evening, it thrives with life. Iranians of all ages gather to enjoy the beauty and their unique Persian heritage. I had the amazing privilege to travel through Iran last year, learning about Iranian history, art, culture, food and meeting the Iranian people who were overwhelmingly welcoming. @thephotosociety #persia #iran #oneworld

bethjwald

On Alam Kooh, in the Alborz mountains of Iran, we shared the love of mountains and the desire to climb them – some came to find hard new routes up the massive North Face, for others it is challenge enough to hike the long trail up the south side to reach the summit at 15,765 feet (4800 meters). For each, the challenge thrills, the air is thin and the summit offers incredible views. And then one has to go down. Photos are: @brittany_griffith and @katerutherford topping out on Alam Kooh after climbing a new version of a hard line on the north face with @annegilbertchase; An Iranian climber from a mountain club raises his hand in triumph as he nears the summit of Alam Kooh; Iranian climbers and hikers on the summit; Griffith, Rutherford, Gilbert and Iranain climbers navigate the complicated descent back to basecamp as the sun fades. See more photos and a story about our journey in the current Patagonia Journal/Catalog. #whatconnectsus #passionformountains #climbiran #alborzmountains @patagonia @thephotosociety

bethjwald

How can the love of wild nature and of remote, untrammeled places connect us, across politics, across borders, across history? As the rhetoric against Iran has amped up over the last weeks, I have been thinking of a trip I made to the mountains of the Arboz range and other places in Iran last year with three intrepid American climbers. We found so many people who welcomed us, especially in the mountains, and despite obvious differences between our backgrounds, we all shared the same passion for high, rocky realms, the same joy at breathing the cold, pure air and sleeping under a blanket of stars. In these photos, an Iranian climber makes his way along the summit ridge of Alam Kooh, the second highest peak in Iran; Iranian climber Sholmaz shares big wall beta with Patagonia ambassador @annegilbertchase; Iranian climbers pitch their tents in a moraine with Alam Kooh’s huge face looming above. The connections that we made with Iranian climbers and others that we met in the mountains and the cities is the reason that we travel – it is so much harder to paint a country with one ugly brush stroke when you have walked their trails, seen their mountains, eaten the food and cooked together, received the hospitality of its people, laughed and shared stories with them. We need this kind of compassion and connection more than ever now. Thanks to @patagonia for making our connection to the beautiful people and mountains of Iran possible, and to @brittany_griffith, @katerutherford and @annegilbertchase for inviting me on their great adventure! See more photos and a story about our journey in the current Patagonia Journal/Catalog. #whatconnectsus #passionformountains #iranclimbs #protectwhatyoulove #iranclimbs @thephotosociety @patagonia

bethjwald

On this Earth Day, I am thinking a lot about what it will take to move from mottos to action to actually stopping the extinction crisis that is threatening our fellow creatures that share this beautiful, troubled Earth with us. I am thinking how easy it is to despair and feel powerless, but we need individual action, pressure on local, regional and national governments, and we need new models and ideas, grand, bold and fearless vision . I have been seeing this kind of vision and on the ground results in the work that the Conservation Land Trust, the Argentine team of Tompkins Conservation, has been doing in Argentina to REVERSE extinction of species and to restore ecosystems by not just creating large scale protected areas, but by actually “re-wilding” them – returning the full complement of species to wild places. The jaguar, the green-winged macaw, pampas deer, the giant anteater pictured here – and others are all in the process of being restored to parts of Argentina where they are currently extinct or endangered. It is a model that can and should be replicated, along with our own actions. We all need to work towards the restoration of wild species and the remaining wildlands so that future generations of all species, including our own, can celebrate many more Earth days to come. #earthday #protectourspecies #natureneedshalf @cltargentina @parqueiberacorrientes @tompkins_conservation #esterosdelibera

bethjwald

The Milky Way of the southern hemisphere arches over a hut made of marsh grass and reeds, on a small low island in the middle of the Esteros del Iberá, a vast marshlands with really dark skies in Corrientes Province of northern Argentina. Scattered across the Esteros are a few “parajes”, small clusters of families who live on these low islands, building homes of the local materials and grazing a few cattle in the marshes – the main transport in and out of the parajes is by horse and canoe. Some inhabitants of the esteros are descendants of the original Guarani people of this part of Argentina and a few speak no Spanish. It is a unique way of life that is quickly disappearing; but the Conservation Land Trust (CLT), the Argentine team of Tompkins Conservation, is working with some of these families to develop local eco-tourism options that will allow them to continue to follow their old traditions along with conserving wildlife and freshwater environments. I will be posting more photos of this remote and fascinating corner of northern Argentina this week, so check back! @cltargentina @parqueiberacorrientes @tompkins_conservation #esterosdelibera #darkskies #milkyway #guarani #wetlands @thephotosociety @ilcp_phototographers

bethjwald

The incomparable beauty of the jaguar is a symbol of power, courage, dignity, wilderness across the Americas, from Mexico to central South America; the word “jaguar” comes from the indigenous Guarani word “yaguarete.” In Corrientes Province in Argentina, where many people still speak Guarani and identify strongly with the jaguar, the yaguarete is poised to return after being hunted to extinction over 75 years ago. The young female jaguar Isis in this photo is part of a ground-breaking reintroduction program in the vast marshlands of the Esteros del Iberá, a project of the Conservation Land Trust (CLT), the Argentine team of Tompkins Conservation; she is from a rescue center in neighboring Brazil, and although she has been too long in captivity to be released into the wild, her cubs may have that chance. Already two young jaguars, Aramí and Mbaraté, cubs of another zoo-born female jaguar, are being raised isolated from human contact in at the Yaguarete Reintroduction Center in Iberá – they turn ten months old this weekend! In the second photo, wildlife biologist Natalie Mufato monitors their behavior with close-circuit cameras in their 3.5 acre enclosure. The cubs are big and healthy and already hunt their own live prey – see videos at the CLT feed: @cltargentina Once big enough, they will be moved to a 74 acre enclosure where they will get used to all the habitats and prey that they will find in the Esteros once they are finally released, see last photo. I am in northern Argentina documenting CLT and other conservation projects, check out more images on my feed @bethjwald and on CLT’s: @cltargentina @parqueiberacorrientes @tompkins_conservation #esterosdelibera #rewilding #wetlands #argentinawild #nationalparks #bigcats #thejaguarreturns #yaguarete @thephotosociety @iclp_photographers

bethjwald

I am staying on the same continent as the last several posts, but moving south, to the vast wetlands called the Esteros del Iberá in the province of Corrientes in northern Argentina. In these photos, the sun sets over the marshes, which harbors a large diversity of wildlife and bird life – here, a caiman (locally called yacaré, scientific name Caiman yacare) soaks up the last rays of sun, as does a southern screamer (know as a chaha, scientific name Chauna torquata) in the second picture, on the edge of the Esteros in Iberá National Park. Iberá, which means “brilliant waters” in the indigenous language of Guarani, is also the location of the most ambitious re-wilding program in the Americas. Conservation Land Trust (CLT) is the Argentine team of Tompkins Conservation, founded by Doug and Kristine Tompkins - CLT is working to restore the fauna that went extinct in the region, in the province, and in some cases in the country, due to many generations of hunting and habitat loss – including jaguars, giant anteater, macaws and many other species. I will be documenting CLT projects over the next months and helping them to get the word out about their incredible and visionary work not only in re-widling, but park creation (Iberá is one of Argentina’s newest parks and is its largest), and reinforcement of local culture and economies. I’ll be posting more images this week and over the next months from Iberá and other parts of Argentina where CLT is working – so please check back soon! www.proyectoibera.org #esterosdelibera #rewilding #wetlands #argentinawild @cltargentina @parqueiberacorrientes @tompkins_conservation @iclp_photographers @thephotosociety

bethjwald

A young Shuar girl pauses while playing outside of her family’s home in the Cordillera del Condor, a remote corner of southeast Ecuador, in the second photo, Shuar teens goof off in a forest stream. The next photos show construction of the Mirador copper mine in the Condor and its impact on local rivers. Mirador is Ecuador’s first large-scale, open pit metal mine and is being built in Shuar territory and close to many Shuar villages. I took these photos about five years ago, when large parts of the Condor region were still largely untrammeled – it was a paradise of astounding biodiversity, with virgin forests and clean water and air, where traditional Shuar communities were still able to depend on the bounty of nature and children there grew up well fed, healthy and connected to their environment. This ancient way of life has been eroded and is seriously threatened with the development of the large scale mining in the Condor – the Mirador mine is slated to begin production this year. For well over a decade, the Shuar have peacefully opposed the development of mining in their ancestral territory in the Condor, a position that has brought them into conflict with the government and has led to the militarization of the region – over the last years, military and police have occupied Shuar villages and forced families to flee into the forest. #indignousrights #Ecuadoramazon #everydayecuador #amazonpeoples #Cordilleradelcondor #zamorachinchipe @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers

bethjwald

A Shuar woman clears a small patch in the green rolling hills of the Cordillera del Condor to plant yucca (also known as manioc), which is a staple for her family. Other parts of her garden or aha are grown under the canopy and will contain other tubers, fruits and many native medicinal plants. The Shuar aha represents an ancient and harmonious coexistence with the forest. But the traditional ways are changing for the Shuar in this culturally and biologically diverse part of Ecuador – the second photo shows the forest being stripped for the construction of Ecuador’s first large-scale, open pit metal mine, which is slated to begin production this year in the Condor, in the Shuar’s ancestral territory. I am honored to be sharing more photos from this complex story in an Instagram takeover this week for the Global Greengrants Fund-, check out their feed : @globalgreengrants. Global Greengrants supports grass roots activists and communities with small grants that go directly to local people, the most effective environmental stewards of land, water, forests. www.greengrants.org #indigenousrights #amazon #everydayecuador #rainforest #Cordilleradelcondor @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers

bethjwald

One day is not enough to celebrate all the women of this world, so I will post a few more photos over the next days – in this photo, Dominga Antun paints the face of her niece with a red vegetable dye as they prepare for a traditional dance. Antun is an indigenous leader of the Shuar tribe whose ancestral territory encompasses the Cordillera del Condor, a beautiful, remote and biodiverse region of southeast Ecuador. It is in the Condor that the first large-scale metal mines in Ecuador’s history are being built by a Chinese corporation, and Dominga and other brave men and women have been leaders in the effort to protect the environment, the water, their livelihoods and their culture from the mines and the destruction that they will bring. Dominga and her family, especially her mother and sisters, are working to preserve traditional Shuar traditions – the language, stories and songs, the dances, the crafts and way of living. Dominga is also striving to rescue the unique Shuar knowledge of the forest, its edible and medicinal plants, and of the Shuar “aha”, or garden. Women across the Amazon are often the key to the survival of their communities and culture. They are both the most powerful and the most vulnerable. #womensday #womenoftheworld #womensvoices #everydayecuador #Amazonia #Cordilleradelcondor #indigenousrights #shuar @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers

bethjwald

So many amazing women I have met, so many stories I have heard, congratulations to them all on this International Women’s Day! I have encountered many women who are on the frontlines of the struggle to save the last wild places, to stop and reverse the ongoing extinction crisis and for the rights of indigenous peoples. The women who I have met while pursuing stories around these issues have a deep, spiritual connection with nature, who are the guardians of wild places..like this young Ecuadorean woman, who is a leader in the fight to against large-scale mining projects in the pristine and biodiverse Cordillera del Condor region of southeast Ecuador, part of the Amazon watershed. In this photo, she recharges her energy and her spirit in the rapids of a small stream pouring from the montane rainforest of the Condor. I will continue a series of posts of other women around the world, who are striving for a better world for families, communities and nature itself. #womensday #womenoftheworld #womensvoices #everydayecuador #amazonrivers #Cordilleradelcondor #amazon @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers

bethjwald

Courageous, fierce, tough, joyous, smart, spiritual, connected, compassionate – just a few words to describe some of the amazing women I have met around the world and I can’t wait until International Women’s Day tomorrow to start celebrating them! So I am looking backwards today with this photo of a Wakhi matriarch having a good laugh, in the village of Sarhad-i Broghil in the Wakhan Corridor, northeast Afghanistan. The Wakhi are the indigenous people of this high, cold region; they have a hard subsistence life of herding yaks, sheep and goats and growing meager, high altitude crops. It is a life especially hard for women, with high infant and maternal mortality rates. But it is also a beautiful and largely peaceful place, and the women were unfailingly generous and kind to me on the several trips I made to the Wakhan; they welcomed me into their homes and opened up their lives to me and my camera. I will be forever grateful. I will continue a series of posts of other women around the world, striving to create a better life for families and communities, to realize their hopes and dreams despite often immense challenges and to have their voices heard. #internationalwomensday #womenoftheworld #womenpower #afghanwomen #everydayafghanistan #badakshan #realfilm #kodachrome @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers

bethjwald

It is still cold, grey and snowy in Colorado and across the US, so I am doing a little day-dreaming of the lush Brazilian Amazon and its marvelous and diverse wildlife and am sharing here is a little selection of birds I encountered late last year in Amapá State– some colorful and strange and others rare and elusive. The first photo is a capped heron (Pilherodius pileatus) with its surprising turquoise blue face strutting across a log along the Falsino River. The capped heron is endemic to rainforests of Central and South America; in the second photo, a harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) peers from a high perch in a tree along the river – the harpy eagle is one of the largest species of eagles in the world and the largest raptor of the rainforest, preying on monkeys and sloths. They are very hard to see in the wild, so it was exciting to spot this eagle. In the third photo, a Cocoi heron (Andrea cocoi)flies overhead – this large heron occurs across South America. In the last photo, flock of scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber) decorate a tree along the edge of Lake Bononi, a large wetlands near the Atlantic coast in Amapá State #birdlife #featherfriends #eagle #Amapa #Brazil #biodiversity #birdmigration #raptor #amazonwildlife #amazon #heron @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers

bethjwald

Hearts of recycled wood and metal adorn the gate into the home and studio of acclaimed artist Nicholas Herrera, in El Rito, New Mexico. Happy Valentine’s Day to all! #recycledvalentine #folkart #newmexicoart @evokecontemporary #bigheart #Newmexicowinter @thephotosociety

bethjwald

A pair of male and female red brocket deer look up from grazing among tall grass on the island of Maracá, off the northeast coast of Brazil in the Amazonian state of Amapá.  The red brocket deer is normally shy and elusive, but this beautiful couple just watched our boat drift by without alarm – and it was a special moment to watch them and feel a connection without causing them fear or flight.  Wild beings nurture our hearts and restore our spirits. On this Valentine’s Day, I am hoping that we can extend love to all the people and to all creatures of this planet, and that we can all work together to restore our relationship with the wild world of which we are a part.  #wildlove #lovethisplanet #amazonwildlife #brocketdeer #biodiversity #amapa #brazilwildife #partofnature @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers

bethjwald

Last month, the salmon were running strong at the mouth of the Klamath river and after several lean years, Yurok Tribe members were able to return to their ancient tradition of the salmon harvest. In the first photo, a Yurok man fishing in the old school way with a net, stares down harbor seals who are also on the hunt for the silvery salmon; the following photos show other Yurok tribal members fishing with traditional drift nets. Salmon runs have been impacted heavily by dams and pollution on the Klamath, but this year brought extraordinary bounty – I was in the region documenting the work of indigenous youth who are working to restore the Klamath watershed and traditional practices, like the Gensaw brothers of the Yurok Tribe and Paul and Ashia Wilson of the Klamath Tribes. They are all involved with @ancestral_guard, an indigenous organizing network that promotes youth empowerment through traditional ecological knowledge, science and values of world renewal. Smart, committed and inspiring young people like Wilson and the Gensaws are leading the way for restoration of their people, their environment and their waterways. @riostorivers #restorativerevolution #KlamathRiver #bigfish #yurok #klamathtribes #wildrivers #undamtheklamath #savesalmon #riverprotectors #kayak #rioslibres #wildandscenicrivers #foodsovereignity #firstfoods @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers

bethjwald

Sea gulls swarm as a sea lion devours a salmon at the mouth of the Klamath River, where the salmon were running strong last month after several years of meager runs. The return of the salmon was good news for the sea lions, gulls and other wildlife, but also for members of the Yurok nation, who have depended for millennia on the Klamath salmon returning to the river. Salmon runs have been impacted heavily by a series of dams on the Klamath, barriers that impede salmon from returning to the headwaters to spawn and which contribute to toxic algae blooms that kill fish and other aquatic life, and have sickened livestock and people along the river. But starting in 2020, four of the six dams on the Klamath will be removed and work will begin to try to restore the Klamath watershed to a healthy, functioning ecosystem. Last month I had the privilege to witness the life-affirming spectacle of the salmon returning to the river and to visit native youth along the Klamath, like the Gensaws of the Yurok Nation and Paul and Aisha Wilson of the Klamath Tribes, who are leading the way for restoration of their people, their environment and their waterways. @ancestral_guard @jonlukegensaw @paulrww @riostorivers #cycleoflife, #restorativerevolution #KlamathRiver #bigfish #yurok #klamathtribes #wildrivers #undamtheklamath #savesalmon #riverprotectors #rioslibres #wildandscenicrivers #foodsovereignity #firstfoods @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers

bethjwald

Last month, the salmon were running strong at the mouth of the Klamath river and Yurok Tribe member Peter Gensaw @petergensaw (foreground) tosses a drift net with the help of a friend, Paul Wolf Wilson @paulrww of the Klamath Tribes in the headwaters of the Klamath. In the second photo Peter and his brother @jonlukegensaw clean salmon they have caught, and in the third, Sammy Genshaw cooks salmon in the traditional way - on redwood sticks roasted over the coals of a wood fire. The Gensaws and Wilson are young tribal members who are working to restore the Klamath river and watershed, along with their traditional indigenous practices – one practice they have revived is food exchange between the tribes who live at opposite ends of the Klamath watershed; Wilson brought elk steak hunted in the mountains near Crater Lake, Oregon and in exchange shared the salmon feast. Salmon runs have been impacted heavily by dams and pollution on the Klamath, and last year there was almost no run, but this year the Yurok were able to return to their ancient tradition of the salmon harvest. I had the privilege to visit the Wilsons and Gensaws in their Klamath homelands last month, and document a bit of their lives, and learn of their initiatives, such as @ancestral_guard and work with other youth of the region. I first met these young folks in Chile earlier this year during an international exchange of young river-protectors from the Klamath basin and from the Bio-Bio and Aysen regions of Chile an exchange organized by @RiostoRivers. Smart, committed and inspiring young people like Wilson and the Gensaws are leading the way for restoration of their people, their environment and their waterways. For more information, check out www.riostorivers.org. #restorativerevolution #KlamathRiver #bigfish #yurok #klamathtribes #wildrivers #undamtheklamath #savesalmon #riverprotectors #kayak #rioslibres #wildandscenicrivers #foodsovereignity #firstfoods @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers

bethjwald

Last month, the salmon were running strong at the mouth of the Klamath river and Yurok Tribe members, including @jonlukegensaw (foreground) were out in force to harvest the big fish with traditional drift nets. Salmon runs have been impacted heavily by dams and pollution on the Klamath, and last year there was no run, but this year was a welcome exception for the Yurok, who rejoiced this year in their ability to return to their ancient tradition of the salmon harvest. I was out on the Klamath to document lives of young Yurok and Klamath Tribes members who are working to restore the river and watershed, along with their traditional indigenous practices. I met Jon Luke, his brother Peter and other Yurok youth in Chile earlier this year during an international exchange of young river-protectors from the Klamath basin and from the Bio-Bio and Aysen regions of Chile – the exchange was organized by @RiostoRivers. Last month I had the privilege to visit the Gensaw brothers in their homeland, to learn about their work with other youth of the region, an initiative they call @ancestral_guard, and to witness the life-affirming spectacle of the salmon returning to the river. Smart, committed and inspiring young people like the Gensaws are leading the way for restoration of their people, their environment and their waterways. I will post several other photos from my recent journey along the Klamath, so check back. For more information, check out www.riostorivers.org. #restorativerevolution #KlamathRiver #bigfish #yurok #wildrivers #undamtheklamath #savesalmon #riverprotectors #kayak #rioslibres #wildandscenicrivers @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers

bethjwald

Paul Wolf Wilson paddles his kayak over the turquoise headwaters of the Wood River, Oregon, part of the Klamath River watershed and located in the ancestral lands of the Klamath tribes. The crystal clear waters emerge from a large natural spring in the mountains near Crater Lake, but they are soon contaminated as they pass through numerous ranch and agricultural lands. Paul is a member of the Klamath tribes; he and his sister Aisha have been working with other youth along the Klamath to restore the Klamath River and watershed, along with traditional indigenous practices – as part of this project they have started a youth kayak club that is helping connect young people with the streams and rivers of the Upper Klamath and with their native traditions. I met Paul and Aisha in Chile earlier this year during an international exchange of young river-protectors from the Klamath basin and from the Bio-Bio and Aysen regions of Chile – the exchange was organized by Rios to Rivers. Two weeks ago I had the privilege to visit the Wilson’s in their homelands and to learn of their new initiatives – Ashia, who is 16, organized the Indigenous Klamath Youth Summit earlier this summer and Paul, a talented photographer (see @paulrww ) is starting a project to document the traditional food sources of the Klamath Tribes and their current use. These smart, committed and inspiring young people are leading the way for restoration of their people, their environment and their waterways. I will post several other photos this week from my recent journey along the Klamath, so check back. For more information, check out www.riostorivers.org. @RiostoRivers #KlamathRiver #woodriver #wildrivers #undamtheklamath #riverprotectors #kayak #wildandscenicrivers @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers @natgeocreative

bethjwald

Ashia and Paul Wolf Wilson paddle their kayaks as mist rises over the Klamath marshes at dawn, in the headwaters of the Klamath River and the ancestral lands of the Klamath tribes, in Oregon. Ashia and Paul are siblings and members of the Klamath tribes; they have been working with other youth along the Klamath to restore the Klamath River and watershed, along with their traditional indigenous practices. I met Ashia and Paul in Chile earlier this year during an international exchange of young river-protectors from the Klamath basin and from the Bio-Bio and Aysen regions of Chile – the exchange was organized by Rios to Rivers. Last week I had the privilege to visit the Wilson’s in their home territory and learn of their new initiatives – they have started a youth kayak club that is helping connect young people with the streams and rivers of the Upper Klamath and with their native traditions. Ashia, who is 16, organized the Indigenous Klamath Youth Summit earlier this summer and Paul, a talented photographer (see @paulrww ) is starting a project to document the traditional food sources of the Klamath Tribes and their current use. These smart, committed and inspiring young people are leading the way for restoration of their people, their environment and their waterways. For more information, go to www.riostorivers.org. I will post several other photos this week from my recent journey along the Klamath, so check back! @RiostoRivers #KlamathRiver #undamtheklamath #riverprotectors #kayak #wildandscenicrivers @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers @natgeocreative

bethjwald

A huge arched gateway of the Imam Mosque frames a spectacularly tiled façade and the minarets of the entrance “iwan”, in Isfahan, Iran.  One of the masterpieces of Persian architecture, the mosque was built 400 years ago during the Safavid dynasty – it is located on one end of the beautiful Nagsh-e Jahan Square, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Site. The beauty of the mosque and its vast spaces left me breathless. I had the amazing privilege to travel through Iran this month, learning about Iranian history, art, culture, food, people - and as I was traveling with Patagonia ambassadors and climbers @brittany_griffith, @katerutherford and @annegilbertchase, we also explored some of the many wonderful climbing areas in Iran and met many passionate Iranian climbers.  It was an incredible opportunity to see Iran for ourselves and to meet people who share our love of mountains, for being in wild nature and for adventure and challenge.  But everywhere we went in Iran, from the cities to the small towns to the base camp below the beautiful Alam Kooh massif, we were welcomed over and over by the Iranians we met.  The journey was a true testimony to the power of travel and of the mountains to connect people across cultures, borders, divisive media and to transcend stereotypes and politics.  Thank you to @patagonia for supporting this project and to Mohammed Sajjadi for taking such good care of us while in Iran.  #persianculture #islamicarchitecture #isfahan #esfahan #ancientpersia #poweroftravel @patagonia_climb @thephotosociety @natgeocreative @sajjadi92

bethjwald

I am posting a couple more images from a series of photos from the Afghan Pamirs; in this photo, Kyrgyz girls in traditional red robes brave frigid temperatures and icy winds as they fill plastic jugs with water at stream near their family’s winter camp and load them on donkeys to return the half-mile to their family’s camp, about 14,000 feet in the Little Pamir, Wakhan Corridor, northeast Afghanistan. It is a cold but necessary daily outing, done mostly by girls. A small population of Kyrgyz live a nomadic life on the high plateau of the Afghan Pamirs, moving seasonally with their herds of yaks, goats, sheep, camels and horses. It is a hard life, especially in winter, when temperatures can dip to -40 Fahrenheit and the wind blows almost constantly. Despite many problems that they face - poverty, opium addiction and lack of education - the Krygyz are proud of their culture, their ability to survive and their freedom on the “Bam-i-Dunya” or Roof of the World. I am so grateful to the Kyrgyz and Wakhi families who welcomed me into their homes during the arduous journey in the Pamirs. I am also honored that this series was chosen as the winner of the 2018 Banff Mountain Photo Essay Competition, part of the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, run by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. You can see the rest of the photos essay at this link: https://www.banffcentre.ca/2018-banff-mountain-photo-essay-competition-winner If you can, check out the Banff Centre and their programs and events – they are huge and constant support of artists and story-tellers working in mountain regions and other landscapes around the world – photographers, writers, filmmakers, poets, painters, musicians. The Banff Centre awarded me a grant or two, many years ago, when I was just starting to turn my camera from adventure sports to culture and environment, and their belief in my work and direction helped me believe in myself and to continue on my creative journey. #grateful #Afghanistan #wakhancorridor #Afghanpamirs #Pamirs #mountainculture #Badakshan #centralasia #kyrgyz #everydayafghanistan @banffcentre @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers @natgeocreative

bethjwald

I am posting another image from a series of photos of winter in the Afghan Pamirs; in this image, Kyrgyz women prepare a meal of yak meat and bones in a mud hut at their family’s winter camp. For cooking and heat, they rely completely on the dried dung of their animals, as there are no trees in the high valleys of the Pamirs. I am honored that this series was chosen as the winner of the 2018 Banff Mountain Photo Essay Competition, part of the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, run by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. You can see the rest of the photos essay at this link: https://www.banffcentre.ca/2018-banff-mountain-photo-essay-competition-winner I am so grateful to the Kyrgyz and Wakhi families who welcomed me into their homes during the arduous journey in the Pamirs; and thanks so much to the jury for this competition- I am thrilled that they were moved by the images of this remote region and the people who eke out a sparse but proud living on the roof of the world. If you can, check out the Banff Centre and their programs and events – they are huge and constant support of artists and story-tellers working in mountain regions and other landscapes around the world – photographers, writers, filmmakers, poets, painters, musicians. The Banff Centre awarded me a grant or two, many years ago, when I was just starting to turn my camera from adventure sports to culture and environment, and their belief in my work and direction helped me believe in myself and to continue on my creative journey. #grateful #Afghanistan #wakhancorridor #Afghanpamirs #Pamirs #mountainculture #Badakshan #roofoftheworld #centralasia #kyrgyz #everydayafghanistan @banffcentre @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers @natgeocreative

bethjwald

I am looking at this photo of frigid winter travel in the Afghan Pamirs longingly as the temperatures here in Colorado soar near 100 today – but I am making this incongruous post not because of heat stroke, but because I am extremely honored that my series of photos of winter in the Afghan Pamirs was chosen as the winner of the 2018 Banff Mountain Photo Essay Competition, part of the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, run by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. In this photo, a Wakhi man sprinkles sand on a frozen river so that he and his yak won’t slip on the ice, during a journey up the Wakhan River into the higher regions of the Little Pamir to trade with Kyrgyz nomads, in the far end of the Wakhan Corridor, Badakshan Province, Afghanistan. You can see the rest of the photos essay at this link: https://www.banffcentre.ca/2018-banff-mountain-photo-essay-competition-winner Thanks so much to the jury, and I am thrilled that they were moved by the images of this remote region and the people who eke out a sparse but proud living on the roof of the world. And am grateful to the Banff Centre for their constant support of artists and story-tellers working in mountain regions and other landscapes around the world – photographers, writers, filmmakers, poets, painters, musicians. The Banff Centre awarded me a grant or two, many years ago, when I was just starting to turn my camera from adventure sports to culture and environment, and their belief in my work and direction helped me believe in myself and to continue on my creative journey. #grateful #Afghanistan #wakhancorridor #Afghanpamirs #Pamirs #Wakhi #winterjourney #mountainculture #Badakshan #roofoftheworld #centralasia #winterlandscape @banffcentre @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers @natgeocreative

bethjwald

We had welcome relief yesterday from the incessantly hot and dry weather here on the Front Range, and I was reminded of how miraculously rain can transform a landscape - like in this photo taken of hills and a small village in rural Herat Province after spring rains have turned brown hills green with grass, a boon for the villagers and Kuchi nomads who use the grasslands for spring grazing of flocks of sheep, goats and camels. This region of Afghanistan is famous for its grasslands and used to support not only herders and farmers but large flocks of gazelles, wild ass and other wildlife – war, changes in land use and drought have diminished both numbers of wildlife and domestic herds. Here in Colorado, the rain yesterday was not yet enough to end the severe drought and crippling heat plaguing much of the mountain west, but hopefully it is the beginning of the monsoon season and more will come. Across the world, people worry about whether needed rains will arrive in time, and if they will be sufficient; or if they will come too late, and be too strong. Climate change has thrown a wrench into the weather systems that so much of the world’s population, especially in poor, rural regions like this part of northwest Afghanistan - depend on. #everydayafghanistan #moonsoonrains #letitrain #herat #greengrass @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers

bethjwald

On this day of the World Cup finals, I want to celebrate football (or soccer, as it is called in the USA!) as a global passion that unites fans across the world, even as we all cheer for our favorite team. One of the things I love about working in other countries is watching and photographing local football matches, whether they are played in the jungles of Costa Rica, in high Andean villages of Peru or here on a dusty field in a tiny village in Herat Province, Afghanistan. Congrats to France for winning the 2018 World Cup, with a young, talented and explosive team that reflects the rich diversity of France’s population. And kudos to Croatia, such an inspiring run to the finals! #worldcup #worldcup2018 #footballeverywhere #everdayafghanistan #afghanistan #herat @thephotosociety

bethjwald

A young boy is dressed up as a wounded commando, in the second photo, another boy goosesteps in an eery imitation of grown-ups, during a the militia-led parade in a small village on the edge of the Carabaya Range in Peru. The photos were taken in 2000 at a point when the conflict between the Maoist Sendero Luminoso or “Shining Path” and the government and local militias was waning, but the impact on rural communities throughout Peru was devastating and long-reaching, with nearly 70,000 people killed or disappeared between 1980 and 2000, a tragic period for Peru. Although the situation in Peru has much improved, millions of children around the world are innocent victims of political strife, gang violence and armed conflicts – they deserve a safe haven when they and their families are forced to flee home and country. I have been editing old archives this week and I am posting some random images that speak to me, some of them resonating with current issues. Check back this weekend for a few more and thanks for following. #peru #carabaya #thechildrensuffer #wherearethechildren #weareallimmigrants #kodachrome #realfilmphoto @thephotosociety

bethjwald

While going through older archives last week, I came across this photo and it has just stuck with me…even though it was taken many years ago and not on the border, there is something in the little girl’s eyes that has haunted me, as stories of children separated from their parents continue to be revealed. Like this girl, who is of the Raramuri nation in the Sierra Madre of northern Mexico, many children who are with parents fleeing violence, persecution and racism, are indigenous and do not speak much or any Spanish, to say nothing of English, making them even more vulnerable. Except for the First Nations of the Americas, all Americans are descended from immigrants and it is heartbreaking and appalling what is happening now on our borders. My heart goes out to the children and the parents and as the news cycle moves on to other crisis, I hope that people will continue to pay attention and to speak out, not only for re-unification of families but for the end to detention of families, the criminalization of asylum seekers and immigrants. #keepfamiliestogether #freethechildren #weareallimmigrants #eyesontheborder #kodachrome #realfilmphoto @thephotosociety

bethjwald

With the hot days at their longest this week of the summer solstice, the evenings come as a cool relief, and I am reveling in the long, shifting sunsets and dusks of summer here in the northern hemisphere, as the sun skips along the horizon, its long, low rays playing with clouds, distant rain, dust, even smoke and transforming the sky into tapestries of color, and bouncing the warm light across the landscape. This photo was taken above Ojo Caliente, with the iconic silhouette of Pedernal Mesa in the distance, on a recent sojourn through northern New Mexico, a land of true enchantment and miraculous light. #summersolstice #longestdays #ontheroad #enchantedlight @thephotosociety

bethjwald

On this day honoring the struggle and sacrifice of refugees around the world, I want to share a photo taken in Kabul of women and children cooking over trash in a mud room at an informal camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in Kabul, Afghanistan. Before embarking on the hazardous journey across international borders and waters, many refugee families have spent years displaced within their own country - in this case, the family has fled from fighting near Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, arriving in Kabul with no family, contacts, or resources. There are official camps for IDP’s, but as the war expanded across Afghanistan, these were quickly filled and informal tent camps sprang up on the outskirts of the city; families at these camps are dependent on the generosity of NGO’s and religious charities; many sent their children out to beg or to gather trash. Facing such a future, it is no wonder that some families risk their lives to reach Europe or the USA , where they should be treated with compassion and understanding, not hostility and racism. #worldrefugeeday #standwithrefugees #keepfamiliestogether #Afghanistan #kabul @thephotosociety

bethjwald

Friday is for…..guanacos! Any day is a good day to celebrate these wild camelids (Lama guanicoe) – this curious group, including several chulengos (baby guanacos) was grazing on a slope among prickly Neneo plants last month in the new Patagonia National Park, in Patagonian Chile – the Park, a large, land-conservation project of Conservacion Patagonica that was recently donated to the Chilean National Park system, stretches from the Rio Baker to the border with Argentina, and from the shores of Lago Cochrane to the high peaks of the Jeinimeni Range, protecting the full spectrum of Patagonia ecosystems and wildlife. The broad Chacabuco Valley at the center of the Park had been heavily over-grazed after a century of cattle and sheep ranching, but the grasses and other plants are coming back, as well as the wildlife. Guanacos are now the emblematic symbol of the valley and the new National Park! On January 29, 2018, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet joined forces with Kristine Tompkins to create two new National Parks - Patagonia National Park and Pumalin National Park – and to add ten million acres to Chile’s National Park system. 1 million acres were donated by Tompkins Conservation to Chile, including their flagship projects Patagonia and Pumalin Parks, in the largest single act of wildlands philanthropy ever made. The steppe grasslands of the Park are particularly important –grasslands are some of the most threatened ecosystems. For more information: www.patagoniapark.org I am in between photo projects this week and next, and so will be posting images from stories that I have worked on recently…keep checking back for more from Patagonia, Brazil, and beyond! @conservacionpatagonica #photojourney #wildlife #andes #patagoniapark #nikon #aysen #chilewild #guanaco #camelid @thephotosociety @ilcp_photographers @natgeocreative

bethjwald

Celebrating National Park Week with this photo of wild bison (Bison bison) grazing on spring flowers in the meadows of Hayden Valley, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. The primeval shapes of wild bison still dot the iconic landscape of Yellowstone, the only place in United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times, and one of the few places where they have not hybridized with cattle. Throughout the western US, bison were systematically slaughtered as part of the genocide of the First Nations perpetrated by the US government & military - the tribes of the plains depended on bison for food, shelter, clothing; their entire world and spiritual life revolved around bison. By the end of the 19th century, the bison, which had numbered in the millions, were nearly extinct. A small herd remained in Yellowstone, which became the nation’s first National Park in 1872 . Wildlife was not a priority in the late 19th century and was not well protected and poachers reduced the park’s bison population to about two dozen animals by 1902. With better protection and enforcements in the early 20th century, the bison population in the park grew slowly; the re-introduction of wolves in 1995 helped restore the balance of prey and predators. But in the broader Yellowstone ecosystem, bison (and wolves) are not protected when they leave the park – ranchers believe that bison can pass diseases to their cattle, so the bison are often shot or rounded up and removed National Parks are important jewels of our country’s natural heritage, but are at risk at becoming unsustainable islands of nature as population, roads and extractive industry development press closer and closer. New and broader land protection initiatives are needed so that many more generations of Americans and visitors from around the world can have the thrill of seeing these wild, iconic creatures roam the plains as they have for millennia. @yellowstonenps #findyourpark #lovethewild #rewilding #freebison #roomtoroam #wildtribute #bison #buffalo @thephotosociety

bethjwald

April snow showers bring....a bit of much needed moisture to the Front Range of Colorado! And more May flowers, of course…I am grateful that the spring snow has helped decrease a bit the drought conditions in this part of Colorado…and I also love the back and forth of this season – a day of sun and warmth and budding trees, followed by rain turning to big, fluffy flakes…and then the next morning, back to sun, and the sound of running water everywhere as one hikes into the red rock canyons, the music of spring. I took this photo yesterday on the trail up Flagstaff Mountain above Boulder, Colorado, staying on the Earth Day theme this week, in celebration of wild earth and its life-giving cycles of seasons. @thephotosociety #celebrateopenspace #mountainparks #springsnow #iphonephoto #backyardwild