Projects Section Added to My Website

February 14, 2022

I have been working on two conservation photography projects this past year. Recently, I added a Projects tab to my website’s menu. For now, I have some images that are related to both projects and plan to add more images and articles or blog posts that I write about the projects. My two current projects are the Virginia Wildlife Corridors and Crossings Project and My Butterfly Restoration Project.

Virginia Wildlife Corridors and Crossings Project

In early 2021, I decided to switch my photography focus to conservation storytelling and not just being a wildlife and nature photographer. As a result, I became involved with a non-profit organization in Virginia, called Wild Virginia. I volunteer with Wild Virginia as a communication team member. Wild Virginia’s focus is protecting and connecting your favorite wild places through educating, advocating and influencing.

Through the communication team meetings, I learned about Virginia’s Wildlife Corridors Action Plan and the focus of habitat connectivity. This interested me as I have always loved wildlife. Being a wildlife photographer for over 30 plus years, I had a very deep interest to be involved with wildlife corridors and crossings here in Virginia where I live.

White-tailed Deer on Side of Gravel Road in Suffolk, Virginia
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) doe standing and looking around on a summer morning along the gravel road on the wildlife drive of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Suffolk, Virginia.

Just a few months later in 2021, I became involved with Virginia Safe Wildlife Corridors Collaborative. This collaborative was formed in 2017 with various partners including Wild Virginia. I am honored to be involved with this collaborative as our goal is protecting people and wildlife by reducing animal-vehicle conflicts and improving safe wildlife passage.

My Focus on Virginia’s Wildlife Corridors and Crossings

Once I found this passion, to be a part of protecting wildlife and humans in the community and state that I live in, I knew I wanted to contribute. Now with my focus of conservation photography and storytelling, I began to focus on photographing wildlife in Virginia and writing my first article about Virginia’s Wildlife Corridors and Crossings. I am hoping to publish this article soon. Hope you will check out my Virginia Wildlife Corridors and Crossings Project page on my website.

My goal is to continue to write stories about the corridors and crossings and to help bring awareness to this subject. I want to inform Virginian’s about the need for funding and to inspire Virginian’s to get involved in creating safe travel passages through crossings such as underpass tunnels or by connecting wildlife habitats by other methods.

Butterfly Restoration Project

This project was born from my wanting to make a difference in helping to save the declining Monarch population. I have always been a big butterfly lover. When my spouse and I moved into our recently purchased home in 2021, I new the first thing I was going to do was build a backyard butterfly garden.

In July 2021, I started with planting several milkweed plants that serve as hosts plants to Monarch caterpillars. In addition, I bought a fennel plant that is a host plant for black swallowtail caterpillars. And then I purchased three huge butterfly bushes in different colors. With just those plants so far in the garden, over the summer and fall last year, I saw over a dozen Monarch caterpillars and over two dozen black swallowtail caterpillars on the fennel and on a swamp milkweed plant.

Actually, the first visitor was a Monarch butterfly. It came and landed on one of the butterfly bushes while it was still in the container in our backyard before it got planted. To me that was a great sign that I was doing something very meaningful to help such a small and delicate creature by providing food and shelter.

My Focus on the Butterfly Restoration Project

Over the summer of 2021, I began photographing visitors to my backyard butterfly garden and wrote several blog posts about butterflies. Thus, my Butterfly Restoration Project was born. This spring of 2022, I plan to add to my my backyard butterfly garden with additional nectar plants and a few more host plants. Additionally, I had posted butterfly and caterpillar images on social media with facts about that particular butterfly species.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) resting on Honeycomb Butterfly Bush on a autumn late afternoon in a backyard butterfly garden in Hampton, Virginia.
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) resting on Honeycomb Butterfly Bush on a autumn late afternoon in a backyard butterfly garden in Hampton, Virginia.

Even one of my black swallowtail caterpillar images placed in the Top 250 in Share the View Photo Contest. My goal for this project is to continue to provide food, water and shelter to not just the Monarchs but to all butterfly species and pollinators such as bees. I plan to continue to photograph the different visitors that I see in my backyard butterfly garden. In addition, I plan to continue to write blog posts and even have a few thoughts for future articles. Last year, I was unable to capture the whole life cycle of a butterfly by not seeing any butterfly eggs or larvae. My overall goal is to document with camera and stories the life cycle of a butterfly. So, stay tuned to my projects page on the Butterfly Restoration Project as I will add to those already written blog posts and will add new material and photographs. Check out my Butterfly Restoration Project page on my website.

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar Feeding on a fennel plant during the summer in a backyard butterfly garden.
Black Swallowtail Caterpillar Feeding, Top 250 winning image of 2021 Share the View Photo Contest

I hope you will check out my Projects pages and let me know what you think.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes Blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

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