A rain-soaked grasshopper sparrow checks the horizon, shakes himself, calls out from his fence post.
Coulda sworn there was a chopper around here somewhere, Wallace. Photo by my friend @emilybolden, who IS the best photographer.
With The Last Green Thread now available (check my bio) through @rei, @grizzlycreekfilms, and @danny_schmidt, viewers can begin to see what challenges exist in the landscape for populations of highly-mobile wildlife. Emerging from the calm of the swamp, we paddle under Interstate 4 at midday, cars roaring overhead. Riprap-lined banks of Reedy Creek peek above the waterline near the bridge abutments. In the shadows beneath the bridge there was no room to maneuver other than in a boat, even in mid-April, the peak of the dry season in Central Florida. Water spends most of the year lapping at the header beams beneath this bridge, rendering the space useless as a pathway for land animals like bears or bobcats. This essentially solidifies I-4 as an animal movement barrier. There are at present no suitable wildlife crossings between Tampa and Orlando, and thus, the viability of Reedy Creek as a functioning part of the Florida Wildlife Corridor is really debatable, at best, with regard to wide ranging animal populations.
You gotta love a big big cypress tree. They are the anchor points for swamp ecosystems in the South. Aside from providing habitat to all kinds of critters (birds, amphibs, reptiles, insects, mammals), cypress forests are windfirm, meaning they can prevent or minimize disturbance from hurricane force winds. They are a stabilizing force in swamps. The swamps are thus able to provide flood control, groundwater recharge, and water treatment, all of which is beneficial and valuable to us humans. Swamps just do it for free. This tree and the good afternoon light got my attention on our 2018 expedition up a narrow Wildlife Corridor in Central Florida. I’m posting a few more behind the scenes photos from the expedition, which became the subject of The Last Green Thread, now published through @danny_schmidt @grizzlycreekfilms and @rei (see the link in my bio.) With @fl_wildcorridor.
Pickerelweed in the morning shadows near one of our campsites. I’d gone looking for the big cottonmouth we’d seen the night before, but failing to find her I decided to shoot something requiring a bit less caution. I’m posting a few more of these behind the scenes photos from the expedition which became the subject of The Last Green Thread, now published through @rei, @danny_schmidt, and @grizzlycreekfilms (see the link in my bio). Check out @fl_wildcorridor.
Posting a few more behind the scenes photos from the expedition which became the subject of The Last Green Thread, now published through @rei, @danny_schmidt and @grizzlycreekfilms (see the link in my bio). Carlton ( @carltonward) pauses as the expeditioner ahead of him disappears into the green abyss of Reedy Creek. Over the first four days of our short trek we could barely manage to travel 2 miles a day as we lurched and crawled over and through a jungle of vines and downed trees, probing for a root or a solid bit of ground with each step so as not to sink into the muck. It was tough going, but we knew it would be all along. Being resigned to the inevitability of a hard slog is pretty much a requirement on these treks. @fl_wildcorridor
I’m posting a few more behind the scenes photos from the expedition which became the subject of The Last Green Thread, now published through @rei, @danny_schmidt and @grizzlycreekfilms (see the link in my bio; no, I will not stop plugging). Mallory ( @mallorydimmitt) takes her morning tea in an idyllic swamp setting on Day 3. Every expedition is a big undertaking requiring scouting and planning and detailed logistics and strategic communication. If you’ve followed our project at all you likely know Mallory as the powerhouse who is fully in command of all that. Somewhat annoyingly she also manages to be the best camper and water-person among us. She is a badass for our time.
Big garland mood here: way to go @danny_schmidt and @bendicci and @grizzlycreekfilms @trisaratops409 @3bearsmedia @implementproductions. With The Last Green Thread ready to drop at #mountainfilm later this month, we continue to take this message to audiences all over (positions soapbox, steps on up): science has shown how connecting wildlife habitat is critical to conserving biodiversity in the face of climate change, which will disrupt movement patterns and trigger range shifts in wildlife populations, plant communities, and ecological processes. These populations and processes are already under strain, diminished by habitat loss and fragmentation. Now, RIGHT NOW, we need to fight. We need legislation to provide for the protection and restoration of native species and their habitats, and to provide for the enhancement of ecological connectivity at every scale - local, regional, and continental. With this film, the Florida Wildlife Corridor team explores a “landscape cul de sac” where development has essentially enveloped what was once a thriving, connected Florida ecosystem. The film is beautiful and moving and ultimately, hopeful, even as it stares down some hard truths about what we’ve already lost and continue to lose as human development and roads slice up our last remaining wild places. I’m proud of my involvement with this project and I’m grateful to each of the people who’ve made it happen. Many thousands of scientists, activists, and every day Americans of all stripes have propelled the messages we explore here forward over the decades. As with the rest of the Fl Wildlife Corridor-based films, what we present is in a small way the fruit of their labor. This labor must continue! There’s never a better time to take action than right now. You can help by 1) watching this film, if you can; 2) volunteering or donating to your local conservation land trust, and 3) telling your representative in Congress and in your state house you support legislation to protect and enhance wildlife corridors. We need you in this fight with us. #wildlifeconservation #wildlifecorridors #floridawildlifecorridor #keepflwild Okay thank you for reading my Oscar speech 🤓
I think the dress looks nice on you.
By the time he hits the bank, he’s pale and peaked, but he’s all excited. “How do you are!” He says, lifting his hat, then points downriver. “Cuckoo!” He says. “Cuckoo yourself,” I say, hitching the gun. This little stranger has thick spectacles and wild round eyes. His black hair sticks up like a brush, and cheeks so bony that light glances off, and wet red lips and a thin mustache that runs all the way around his mouth, and pointy ears the Devil would been proud of. This time he says, kind of cranky, “Mawn-grove cuckoo!” “Don’t try nothin,” I say. - Peter Matthiessen Photo by @carltonward
big sky island hammock mood and Mac
Big cypress swamp with the homies mood #thelastgreenthread
Stay in my big swamp moods
Looking down into the Shenandoah Valley at sunset after a wild thunderstorm passed over the Blue Ridge early last week.
This was an adventure. Here are some shots from an April expedition I did with the Florida Wildlife Corridor team. We were interested in a fast-disappearing landscape connection between Florida’s two largest wetland systems - the Everglades and the Green Swamp. The small stream we explored, Reedy Creek, originates just on the east side of the Lake Wales Ridge, and meanders southeast to Lake Russell, from where it’s waters continue on into the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. Along our route we found much of the wild to rejoice in and much difficulty; the physical toil was real in this swamp. But the greater difficulty for us lay in capturing the story of the landscape around Reedy Creek and how best to put it in context with the larger Florida Wildlife Corridor. How best to include it’s history, it’s diversity, and what’s happening to it today, what does it mean, and what are the people of Florida to do about it? These questions are hard to answer, let alone the challenge of actually doing the necessary conservation work. We are all looking forward to sharing the story over the coming months. @mallorydimmitt @carltonward @danny_schmidt @bendicci @implementproductions @3bearsmedia @alexofthewild @lcross_wildyoga11 @trisaratops409 @fl_wildcorridor
SHEN mammals in b&w, from some recent camera trapping efforts, including an Allegheny woodrat (third picture). Stoked about the terrifying look of that woodrat. They are such good critters, little mountain spirits.
These past few months I've been lucky to have access to some special places in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Central Virginia, where my co-workers and I are setting up surveys for wildlife and plants. These are a few images from our walks.
Here are some photos I took at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Saturday. They shouted "Heil Trump" as they hid behind shields and armed militia, and they called me a "faggot" and "Jew boy" when I got in their faces. I didn't pretend to be impartial. I came down to participate in the counter protest. I think it's a fantasy to think that if we ignore these people they'll just go away. They feel empowered by Donald Trump's presidency, and all the evidence suggests the feeling is mutual. He purposefully sought their support in his campaign, and he continues to do so even now, today's remarks notwithstanding. We must face this movement down now and we must face him down now. If you love this country there is only one side for you.
This photo is one I'm proud of and pull up every so often. Cattle egrets, vultures, and anhingas hanging out in a cypress dome rookery under a perfect night sky in Seminole State Forest, Florida.
cleansing little fire
Found this old pic of my buddy Carlton, who just celebrated a birthday. We were slogging across a designated wilderness area swamp in Apalachicola NF on the Florida panhandle when we came across this big ol slash pine. I made a long exposure so the clarity of the dark-stained water would show through. Good memories! And that blackwater is good for the soul.
Memorable visit to the blustery New Zealand coast south of Gisborne