In the wake of the buying-out of National Geographic Societies by 21st Century Fox media outlet and the former non-profit organization’s subsequent loss of 127 jobs, never before has it been more important to create a voice for nature as it is now. As one of the largest scientific and educational institutions in the world, National Geographic set the standard for spreading information in order to preserve and protect the environment. On a similar mission, I have used art, photography and video to broadcast images of nature for nearly a decade. In a society that is alienated from nature, we forget the world’s most pristine protected resources could some day cease to exist. By capturing exclusive peaks of earth’s natural wonders, it is my hope to communicate this message and inspire the public to preserve and protect our environment for future generations.
During the summer, I noticed a monarch caterpillar among the milkweed in my garden. As it is the only species of plant that serves as a food source for the monarch, the caterpillar made this area its habitat. After consuming enough milkweed to begin its next stage of life, the monarch moved to a patch of mint where I set up my camera. The caterpillar retreated into its chrysalis until the Fourth of July when it emerged as a butterfly, my camera capturing every step of this rare event. The result is a 12 day, 18k photo time- lapse of the full monarch metamorphosis as it naturally occurred, a truly exclusive peak of this delicate creature.
Inspired by this experience, I designed a hat to spread awareness of the beauty and fragility of this animal. I have been using proceeds from sales to teach children at local grade schools about the plight of the monarch butterflies, who have suffered a 90% loss of their population in the last 20 years. My goal is to establish monarch way stations; habitats that support the sensitive life cycle of monarch butterflies.