2021 Spring Newsletter

Let’s celebrate our Natural World !

Anticipation of “returning to normal” continues to weave its way into our thoughts and planning these days.  We don’t know what the new “normal” will look like, but it’s easy to imagine that nature will continue to play a larger role in people’s lives as a result of the pandemic. Some of us have always had a deep connection with nature.  But nature became a new and essential escape for many over the past year.  Nature remained open, while so many other things closed down. 
New connections to nature were established, and we believe that those connections will remain.  So, it’s quite timely to consider what impact this will have on nature. We are honored to partner with EarthDay.org to celebrate the 51st Earth Day and the 2nd anniversary of Nature First.  The theme of Earth Day 2021 is Restore Our Earth™.  As we all eagerly await our own return to normal, we invite you to join us in applying the Nature First principles so that nature, too, always has an opportunity to return to normal. 

Nature First Partners with EarthDay.org


This April, Nature First Photography is excited to announce our new partnership with EarthDay.org, celebrating both their 51st anniversary and our own second anniversary as an organization. In April 2019, after a year of organizing and planning, we chose to launch Nature First Photography on Earth Day because our mission and principles align so closely with the mission and values that were established over 50 years ago by EarthDay.org.

Having mobilized over one billion individuals and over 75 thousand partners located in 190 countries around the globe to collectively work towards driving positive action for our planet, EarthDay.org has become the world’s largest environmental movement recruiter since its establishment in 1970. With a mission to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide, EarthDay.org is an ideal partner for Nature First Photography.

Nature First is proud to be a partner with EarthDay.org for this year’s international celebration of our planet, and to continue our own efforts and mission in protecting and preserving the world’s      natural and wild places.

If you are not already a member, we invite you to join both organizations in order to amplify our collective efforts to protect earth’s treasured and threatened places.

News from Nature First

There is always a lot going on at Nature First. Because of the pandemic, much of our work has taken place behind the scenes as we build a structure with global reach that can help advance the cause of responsible nature photography well into the future. As the pandemic hopefully begins to release its grip on the world, we are eager to be more active on the ground promoting the Nature First ethos at conferences, photo- festivals, local photo clubs and wherever photographers gather. Since we aren’t quite there yet, our Regional Advocates are busy preparing their local plans for when we ‘open-up’. 

The Staff has been working to build the organisational foundations to support our global activities. As you’ll read about later in this newsletter, we are launching fund-raising initiatives to provide financial support for Nature First programs. We recently launched a Donating Member program for individuals to contribute to Nature First, and we are preparing to launch a well-thought through Corporate Sponsorship Program for organizations that want to financially support Nature First. 

Key to a fast-growing organisation is communication, and we have greatly expanded our Communications Team which is now led by Kristel Schneider. 

As part of that group, we have a growing team of writers led by Jennifer Renwick and a very active social media team led by Brynn Schmidt and our Partnership program leader, Matthew Ross. We are planning to add a video team as part of this effort as well. 

Kristel was instrumental in building our rapidly growing Advocate Program.  As she assumes this new role, we’ve begun searching for Kristel’s replacement while we continue to build an ever-stronger Advocate Program. We are excited about the structure we’re putting in place to enable continued growth and give the advocates and the local team members the support that they need to be effective in promoting the Nature First message in their regions and countries. 

There’s a lot more in the works at Nature First including efforts to collaborate with larger companies, develop a member directory and a dedicated member area of the website, develop NF regional photo guides and more. Over 40 volunteers give of their time to help advance our mission and we are grateful for their generous commitment! 

Supporting Nature First

Only a few years ago, Nature First was just an idea discussed by a few photographers who began seeing the growing negative impact that nature photography was having on the natural world. We talked about it in cafes, during holidays and out in the field, wondering if it might be possible to actually do something to turn the tide.  Today Nature First has grown to become a registered organization with over 3,700 members in 67 nations and a respected voice in the global nature photography community. Our expanding membership reflects a validation of the Nature First principles and the value of our efforts.  

Yet in many ways we feel like we are just starting.  We have done so much with so little, powered by a small but mighty team of volunteers across the globe. Now it’s time to lean in, scale our efforts and reach for the goals for which Nature First was established.  

Like any meaningful organization, there comes a time when additional staffing and financing are necessary to carry out the mission. Nature First has now reached that point.  

To date, all costs have been covered by the personal donations of the founding members and a few volunteers. As Nature First works in the coming years to expand our influence, support international messaging campaigns and fulfil our mission, the costs will become more than can be covered by just a few individuals.

How can you help?

For individuals, if you believe in our mission and want to help, we hope that you will be inspired to make a personal donation to Nature First. Even a small donation helps – if enough people give a little bit, it will make a big difference in supporting our work.  You can make a one-time or recurring donation, and learn about how your contribution will be used, on the donation page of our Nature First website.

For businesses and organizations that are interested in supporting Nature First, please contact us to discuss our Partnership and Corporate Sponsorship Programs.

First photo competition promoting Nature First principles in their Submission Requirements 

We continue to see the Nature First principles spreading through the world photo community. One example is the Natural Landscape Photography Awards, a new contest that promotes NF principles. We’d love to see more contests and organizations follow this great example. 

Big response to our requests, thanks !

In our January newsletter we asked those who love to write to join our new writing team. We had a terrific response and this team is now growing with enthusiastic writers and interviewers. We could still use a couple more volunteers so that our articles and interview flow can continue even during the holiday seasons and busy time tables around the globe. 

 Secondly, we asked you to submit your creative ideas for Nature First Slogan. Thank you all for the slogan ideas you submitted. We received 25 different suggestions from you as well as numerous suggestions from our staff and advocates. We still haven’t found the right one yet and so we are keeping our survey open. Submit your suggestions, a short, simple and memorable line that could help people remember and explain what makes our organization different, via this link . Sometime this summer, we hope to decide to whom we’ll send the gift of $200 to say thank you, or if your suggestion inspires us in forming the slogan, we’ll send you a beautiful hard cover photography book. 

Thank you all again for being part of this movement to recover the role of photographers as protectors and ambassadors for our natural world. 

Kristel Schneider, Communication Team, Nature First

Photos contributed by: Katarzyna Gubrynowicz ( Cottongras ), Katarzyna Gubrynowics (Crocuses), Renate van der Bloom (Puffins), Kristel Schneider (intimate beech landscape).

If you would like to see your image in one of our upcoming newsletters, please send one low resolution file to info@naturefirst.org with a sentence giving us permission to use this image for Nature First communications. We’ll always include credit with your photo.