DiscoverCarolyn Copper's Podcast
Carolyn Copper's Podcast
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Carolyn Copper's Podcast

Author: Carolyn Copper

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My website blog now available in podcast! Subscribe to these solution-and-success-oriented narrated blog stories focused on topics that are the foundation of all my photography work -- wildlife rehabilitation and protection, land conservation, faith and environmental stewardship, and great places or opportunities to photograph wildlife and nature. Hear about my latest travels, tips, insights, and inspirations.
15 Episodes
I’ve never set out to intentionally photograph butterflies, but the places I travel to intentionally photograph other species and landscapes, are often the same places I encounter amazing butterflies. Most of us learned something about butterflies during elementary school. We may even remember a bit about the astonishing lifecycle and transformation of butterflies. I remember some of what I learned about butterflies, but since I come across so many different butterflies doing all sorts of interesting behaviors – that I don’t remember learning about – I was curious to brush up on my butterfly facts. I’m glad I did.  Listen for some amazing truths you may not know about butterflies, including that they taste with their feet.
When I first started doing art shows and festivals, I remember being struck by the sense of community and friendship among the artists, entrepreneurs, crafters and creators at these shows. They’re painters, wood and metal artists, fiber artists and designers, ceramic and jewelry artists, photographers like me, and more. Every artist has a story. Some have been artists and creators their entire lives while others started as a second or third career, or just a hobby. At a recent art show my art booth was next to entrepreneur clothing designer and manufacturer Heidi Hess (and her sweet pup Henri!). Among so many things I learned about Heidi is that although she now runs an independent fashion label, she was once an On Air Radio Personality in every major market, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami.  Heidi calls this her “Life 1”. I asked Heidi to join my podcast and share her story of how she got started with Life 1, Life 2, and if there might be a Life 3.
Why Are We Still Littering with Balloons?Intentional balloon releases are often done as part of fundraisers, sporting events, weddings, graduations, other ceremonies, birthdays and to recognize the death of a loved one. Some see balloon releases as having religious or spiritual significance. There are businesses that actively promote, and sell, balloon releases. There are also well-documented harms caused by balloon debris, including death and serious injuries to wildlife and lots of unnecessary, completely preventable, litter. The reality that’s emerged from the debates and analysis on the risks of balloon releases has led to a number of state-wide, or locality-based balloon release bans, with legislation pending in other states and localities. We can avoid the dark side of balloon releases and find easy alternatives that are also safer.  The first alternative is do nothing – yes, nothing. A life with less stuff does not mean a lesser life. Balloon releases, and their alternatives, are not essential for human life.  With that said, there are alternatives to balloon releases that are less harmful to the environment we all share.
 They’re cute, entertaining, charming, and smart. People flock to see them. Once nearly extinct in North America, thanks to conservation efforts like regulated hunting, water quality and habitat improvements, and reintroduction programs, the North American River Otter is back. I was very excited to have a few wild Otter encounters in 2020 and 2021 and wanted to know more about these charming, semi-aquatic mammals.  Come listen. 
Ducks are in the spotlight today.  Ducks are under appreciated and under celebrated. If you search #ducks on Instagram you’ll see as many photos of ducks shot by hunters, duck jewelry, duck decoys, or commonly seen ducks, like mallards, rather than the amazing representation of the variety of stunning duck species out there.  Today's podcast reviews my recent blog "A New Brand of Duck Hunter", where I share news about my winter duck photography, ducks that nest in trees and ducks that are visiting us from the Artic. 
With the power of human resilience, innovation, ability to adapt and adjust our course, and apply our extraordinary problem-solving skills we stood up to the challenges of 2020. Continuing to harness that power and strength can get us to a better normal in crucial areas that can no longer wait. In the US, clothing purchases often happen because of a whim, impulse, out of boredom, the need for a "pick me up", because the sale was just too good to pass up, or because “it’s just SO cute.” Those habits have caught up with us and have created massive stress on the environment because most clothes end up in landfills. Natural resources are expended and polluted in the process of bringing us those 4 for $10 t-shirts that never get worn, or worn once and then get trashed. In the United States, we’re free to shop where we want and how much we want based on our own personal decisions. That freedom also comes with responsibility and opportunity to shop sustainably with an outlook on the well-being of our shared environment and its future.
We often choose the easiest paths through life because it’s less work, hassle, and it seems like it would free us up from a lot of the uncomfortable stuff of life. We choose to be part of the group, and adhere to the social norms and expectations of families/friends/trending culture/political affiliation/religion/work environment (“the group”), to avoid the perceived, or real problems, that can come along with doing the opposite, or taking the road less traveled. Here’s the thing, some norms -- things our groups think are a good idea – sometimes turn out to be just the opposite -- harmful and not the best path. For climate change and sustainability, the road less traveled that we must now take, is our unsustainable global population growth. An organization confronting this difficult, taboo topic, is Earth Overshoot, helping us to see that a "livable world for all people means less people." This podcast episode shares information from my detailed blog post on the conservation benefits of managing global population growth: Terry Spahr, Founder of Earth Overshoot and Executive Producer of "8 Billion Angels" joins this podcast and discusses what we need to consider if we're going to have a healthier and more sustainable world.
The true stories of wildlife trafficking are deeply disturbing and depict a corrupt, selfish world of wildlife traffickers that -- in many cases – are linked to other large-scale criminal activity. In a 2016 survey, 80% of Americans said they support wildlife conservation measures, but 80% of Americans aren't aware of the illegal wildlife trade in the U.S. Just this past August, a woman in Texas plead guilty to trafficking dead hummingbirds. It happens more often than many us know. This episode shares information from my detailed blog post on Wildlife Trafficking



The April 2020 Supermoon -- the largest of the full Moons in 2020 – inspired me to turn my lens on it; and now, I’m a bit "moonstruck." The full moon has a long aura of mystery and magic about it. Some say it triggers “wanderlust" -- a desire to travel, wander, or roam. Travel and new experiences offer empowerment, education, and opportunity, so I’m all-in for the Moon and its wanderlust charm. But our Moon is so much more. It plays a critical role in producing the environment required for life to thrive on Earth. If the Moon suddenly disappeared, the consequences for many forms of life would be devastating.
If you love birds, you have to love dead trees. I photograph raptors and other birds, a lot. I often notice one thing in common across my many bird shots, in the many different locations I’ve photographed them, and that is the birds are in a dead tree or on dead wood.  Sounds bad, but it’s not. In fact, it’s a good thing because dead trees are do-gooders.
Washington, DC has a young red-shouldered hawk family living in a busy and dense part of the city. By all appearances, this hawk family has successfully acclimated and adapted to city life. I've been sharing first images and progress of the red-shouldered hawk parents, their three young, and information about this species including the risks it faces in a human-dominated world. This podcast accompanies and enhances the images and video available on my website blog and social media, providing information on the characteristics that enable red-shouldered hawks to survive and adapt in our environment and let us witness their miracle. 
Earth day is April 22. It’s inspired a blog and podcast about a couple of things happening around my home, and to share resources on Earth Day and actions we can all take that support good stewardship of our planet. In this episode I talk about a great flower for pollinators that also turns into a striking dried flower you can have in your house for years, how we can better protect pollinators, what I do with old t-shirts and why, and resources that help us all with environmental stewardship. 
My latest blog post at covers the not always agreed upon topic of the conditions in which photographers – both professionals and hobbyist – photograph wildlife.  Photographers are not all like-minded; some are opposed to photographing captive wildlife and actively work to devalue this type of wildlife photography.  Other photographers are unopposed and keep ethics in the forefront when photographing captive wildlife. Captive wildlife aren't domesticated. Domestication takes thousands of years and special circumstances.My latest blog post, and this podcast covers important facts about this sometimes thorny topic.
We all know there’s something special about bald eagles – the United States’ national symbol. They represent strength and determination; they’re strong and independent; they’re incredible survivors; they’re majestic, bold, and faithful; and they’re unique to North America. This year (2019) I encountered bald eagles on a few of my photography travels. See what you know - and maybe don't know -- about these majestic birds, including the deadly risk they face from lead poisoning.
In this inaugural podcast you'll learn about me and one of my recent trips to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton PA where I participated in a 4-day raptor trapping and banding course. Bird banding is an important tool in wildlife research and conservation. 
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