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In my latest podcast, I’m talking with Dan Rauch. Dan is a Fisheries and Wildlife Biologist at Washington, DC’s Department of Energy and Environment. If you love, or even like wildlife, then you should love a wildlife biologist too. Dan does a lot of interesting and important work on behalf of the citizens of the District of Columbia – which I’m one – but also on behalf of the diverse wildlife that make Washington, DC their home. Many in the DC area -- and beyond -- first learn about Dan because he’s often in the news. Whether he’s helping bald eagles, snowy owls, turkeys, or helping DC residents coexist with wildlife, Dan loves what he does. In a city of over 700,000 residents, hundreds of thousands of workers, thousands of wild animals, and highly developed land, Dan has a big  job.  Visit my website blog for more on Dan and links to the discussion topics.
Today, I’m talking with Donna Cole. Donna is an award-winning multimedia and investigative journalist; bird of prey rescuer; mom, breast cancer survivor, and a U.S. Navy veteran. In the spring and summer of 2018, Donna broke the story about carbofuran, a federally banned pesticide,  illegally used and resulting in the death of 13 bald eagles in the state of Maryland. Donna's reporting led to national and global news coverage. I'm talking with Donna about her investigative work, and other things, including how birds of prey came to her rescue. Visit my blog for more, and Donna's news website Annapolis Creative.
Today, I’m talking with Isaac James Baker, who I got to know through Instagram. The more he posted, the more I wanted to know. Isaac has worked as a newspaper reporter, freelance writer, and editor. He has a Master’s Degree in fiction writing, he reviews wines for an award-winning wine blog, and is an author for The Good Men Project.  Among things we’ll talk about – Isaac -- in his own words, is a “newb” and “constant learner” wildlife photographer and posts his wildlife shots and sightings on Instagram, which include great birds, Coyotes and other species.  Love, enjoyment, and respect for the outdoors were instilled in him young, and he’s living a life that celebrates, in many ways, what nature provides us. Isaac is conscious about passing the generational respect for nature on to his daughter, who likes to go out with her Dad on "trash picker-upper days."  As a young boy, Isaac also spent several years in Ukraine. That experience helped him develop an appreciation for wildlife. The ability to be active in the outdoors actually helped Isaac overcome some pretty dark times in his personal life, and Isaac is going to share some things from a darker and difficult time in his life.  We're talking about a lot on this episode!
I’ve lived in Washington DC for 30 years, but I’m from Sandusky, Ohio and I know a lot about that area. Sandusky is located along the Lake Erie coast, in Erie County Ohio, making it home to many migrating birds in spring and fall. For me, that means good bird photography. In fact, there’s a few areas in Sandusky that are considered by the experts as birding Hot Spots. There's even a bird festival in the region during spring migration because the birding is that amazing. So before a recent trip to the area, I was researching birding areas in Erie County and surrounding locations. My research unexpectedly brought me across Martyn Drabik-Hamshare; who is a Naturalist for Erie MetroParks.  I like to say Martyn arrived in Ohio via England and South Africa -- he was born and raised in England and studied in both the UK and South Africa. Not all of us know what a Naturalist is – in a few words -- Naturalists observe nature and communicate the importance of our natural resources using various programs and activities. Martyn does his work with the Erie MetroParks, which encompass 12 public parks, 30 miles of trails, and more than 300 free public programs each year. I’m excited to have Martyn on the podcast and hear about his global experience and insights on all kinds of nature. 
I first heard the phrase “talons crossed”, on an Instagram post from Nancy McDonald -- a raptor rescuer located in Maryland – who is sometimes called the “Osprey Lady.”  Talons crossed – is a take on the expression “fingers crossed” -- something said when praying in our own way for a good outcome.  But raptors – hawks – owls – eagles – and ospreys have talons, not fingers, so “talons crossed”, hits the mark. Nancy – an Army Veteran, and a former federal Aviation Security Investigator among those who helped shut down United States air space during the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. -- has probably said a lot of “talons crossed” over the years she’s been rescuing hawks, owls, eagles, and ospreys. In 2021 alone, she rescued 125 raptors, and that’s double the number she rescued in 2020. She’s rescued them after they’ve been found hit by cars, hanging from trees caught in discarded fishing line, laying injured on the ground after their nests were destroyed, and even after they’ve been shot. Yes, shot.   It takes courage, strength, skill, a calm mind and a big heart to save wildlife from suffering.  I’m excited to interview Nancy in my newest podcast and hear about her courageous and compassionate work to help save the lives of injured and orphaned raptors.  Follow Nancy on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rescuingraptors/Podcast photo credit: Mary Hollinger
It seems birds have always delighted people all over the world. They’re beautiful, powerful, engaging and make a lot of us very curious. Bird-watching or birding – the observing of birds either for fun, science applications, or other professional purposes - is an incredibly popular activity and it’s one of the fastest growing outdoor activities. It’s fair to say that dedicated wildlife photographers that include birds in their craft are also birders – me included. I’ve learned a lot from birders! In my newest podcast I’m excited to talk with Jay Sheppard who had a career as an ornithologist with the United States Fish & Wildlife Service; is a fellow in the American Ornithological Society; has birded in all 50 states; and more recently has been leading tours to observe short-eared owls on a Maryland property slated for commercial development.  That’s how I came to know Jay. Listen now for birding tips and much more.
Spread Ideas That Work

Spread Ideas That Work

2021-11-0121:31

 I was delighted to be thinking about my career at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during my latest podcast where I speak with Katie Butler. While I was there, Katie wore a number of hats at the EPA’s Office of Inspector General, and was a skilled and effective leader. Post-EPA, Katie recently launched a new business -- The GeoLiteracy Project LLC. The GeoLiteracy Project’s mission is: “We help environmental leaders optimize their programs and maximize their results. We advise on the best science, strategy, and management techniques to help you save the Earth faster." If you’re managing or leading any business or organization that’s expected, or required, to show environmental results, listen in.  
It Takes All of Us

It Takes All of Us

2021-10-2623:10

For me, one of the most difficult things about wildlife photography is probably not what you think. It’s not the technical skill, research required, strength, discipline, travel to many and varied places, or exhibiting and selling work that’s hardest. Of course, those things have challenges, and don’t come easy; but what I find most challenging is witnessing other photographers – professionals, amateurs, hobbyists -- and other outdoor enthusiasts -- engaging in what’s come to be understood as unethical wildlife photography.  This doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen, it's happened to me; and even things that occur in small amounts can do serious harm. In today's podcast I share my experiences, and a science-based technique that provides tools to respectfully communicate the impact that unethical photographers, or anyone we might encounter outdoors, may be having on wildlife.  
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: https://www.copperrangellc.com/blog/2020/10/conservation-the-new-normal-is-take-the-road-less-traveled. 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 https://www.copperrangellc.com/blog/2020/9/speaking-up-for-wildlife-let-s-talk-about-wildlife-trafficking
Moonstruck

Moonstruck

2020-07-2912:31

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. 
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