Monday, June 9, 2014

National Nature Photography Day at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

Female Baltimore Oriole with mulberry in its mouth, about to feed its young in the nest below, at the John Heinz National Wildlife RefugeSunday, June 15th is the ninth annual National Nature Photography Day. This day was designated by the North America Nature Photographers Association to promote the enjoyment of nature photography, and explain how photographs have been used to advance the cause of conservation and protect plants, wildlife, and landscapes locally and worldwide.

Many National Wildlife Refuges across the US will be celebrating this day with family programs.

I think it's especially auspicious that National Nature Photography Day is on Father's Day in the US. This is a great opportunity for fathers and their children to enjoy a day walking in the wild and making nature photographs together. Going out into a national or state park, wildlife preserve or wildlife refuge to experience nature “in the raw” can be a wonderful family activity at any time, but on Sunday's special day, it seems like a perfect time for dads (or moms) to introduce and build their children's interests in the outdoors, wildlife, the natural world, and photography.

I was invited by the US Fish and Wildlife Service's John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge to run a special National Nature Photography Day program at the Heinz Refuge. The program is free for all to attend.

Beginning at 9am, in the education wing of the Refuge's visitor center, I'll be running a short mini-workshop entitled, "Nature Photographers' clothing and gear color really matter!" That may seem dry, but I assure you the 20 minute workshop will be engaging and interesting for everyone. In the mini-workshop, I'll be discussing avian eyesight, and how it effect nature photographers. We'll first learn about human eyesight and how humans see, then move on to avian eyesight and how it's very similar to human eyesight, but much better. We'll explore how bird eyesight helps birds detect photographers, making it difficult for them to get close to make a close-up, sharp image of them.

Following the mini-workshop, we'll immediately move outside together where I'll lead everyone for a refreshing wildlife photography walk in the Impoundment Area of the Heinz Refuge, until about noon and get a chance to use our cameras and new knowledge about birds.

The spring migration is coming to an end, but there still are plenty of warblers in the Refuge including the beautiful Yellow Warbler and Yellow Rump Warbler. The Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher and Willow Flycatcher are there as are Kingfishers. Hopefully we'll be able to see the Marsh Wrens which we'll definitely hear chattering away. Hundreds of Tree Swallows can be seen in many parts of the Refuge, and the gorgeous Baltimore Orioles, like the female one above, are nesting in their fascinating hanging nests, with young already hatched. They're usually near mulberry trees which are plentiful at Heinz.

If we're lucking we might see a Mink, Red Fox, Ground Hog, or maybe a Snapping Turtle swimming in the Impoundment Pond.

If you're in the Greater Philadelphia, PA Region this coming Sunday, I invite you to join me at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge for National Nature Photography Day. If you're a dad, or mom, or grandparent bring the kids along. Even if you have no children, join me at Heinz, and maybe bring a friend to enjoy the outdoors with you, see some lovely wildlife, make some photographs and have a good time Sunday morning.

Everyone's welcome to join me Sunday, at the Heinz Refuge in Philadelphia.

4 comments:

Louis Dallara said...

I need to check thst place out.

James - Austin said...

I wish I could be with you Ned, but I'll be with my family in Texas. Do you think you could make your next article article one about the topic you're presenting in the workshop.

Jasmine - New Orleans said...

Ned, I'm with James. Living in New Orleans I can't get up to you Sunday, but I'd sure like to know about this. Please make this your next article soon.

Ned S. Levi said...

Louis, I definitely suggest you check it out. It's one of the largest urban national wildlife refuges in the country with more than 300 species of birds seen there over the year between year-round residents, summer residents, and migrants just passing through, plus many other animals.

The JHNWR is across I95 from Philadelphia International Airport, so it's not that far for you to get there. Check out the Refuge's website for our various walks on weekends if you want. We usually have some kind of walk most of the year on both Saturdays and Sundays. In fact, look for one of the Photo walks I lead on the calendar. It would be a pleasure to meet you.

Post a Comment