I was deeply impacted by a recent local photography group post that showed plastic confetti being used and then left at a popular natural wildlife photography location. So I just wanted to write a short article for our readership reminding us all about the responsibilities that we all share as vendors and as participants when it comes to preserving the surroundings that we use pertaining to our local wildlife areas.
So, with that said, before you plan your wedding or next photoshoot (engagement, anniversary, or otherwise) at these locations, plan ahead to be as conscientious as possible! Use common sense and follow some simple rules:
1. If you want to toss something, natural and biodegradable is best. Consider making your own. It’s as easy as taking a hole punch and leaves. DO NOT as mentioned previously use plastic confetti and then as described in the post that I saw at the nature preserve leave it for it to be consumed by the area wildlife or get embedded into the ecosystem.
2. Don’t release balloons on location. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, birds, turtles and other wildlife commonly mistake balloons for food, which can harm or kill them. Additionally, animals can get entangled in the strings. This poses a strangulation risk and/or can damage animals’ feet or hands.
3. Stay on the proverbial “beaten path.” If you choose to go to nature preserves or other wildlife areas, those locations are not there for your pleasure or use. They are there for the preservation of the nature that they hold. So stay on the paths in place and don’t trample the foliage natural or planted for that season (the sunflower fields at Bluegrass in particular are what I am thinking of).
4. If you plan to bring a pet, make sure that your animal is even permitted onsite, keep your pet on leash at all times, and always pick up any waste created.
5. Don’t litter, and always leave the site as you found it.
6. Most parks and wildlife areas DO NOT allow drones. Check with the park administration before bringing one in.
7. Find out if a permit is required by your photographer to shoot in that location (most national parks require one). If so, work out who will pay that fee.
8. Don’t do illegal activities (e.g. climb trees or make campfires, etc.) where these activities are banned as your photographs will clearly be documenting these acts. That also goes for no carving of initials in trees or graffiti of any sort!
9. Don’t interfere with nature / do no harm. That applies to plants and animals that you come across as you are on your shooting adventure. Treat everything around you with dignity, and leave nothing but footprints.
10. Lastly, geotagging is also discouraged in an effort to also keep wild places wild. Just because you and your photographer have a favorite spot doesn’t mean fifty other people have to find it, too. The more people that visit a spot can lead to erosion and damage to the location.
-Nikki Davis, Engaged River Valley Managing Editor