Nature First, Leave No Trace, and Conservation

Where the Angels Roam

Nature First

A group of professional photographers recently came together to develop a set of ethical principles that focuses on  Landscape and Nature Photographers.  Their organization is called Nature First: The Alliance for Responsible Nature Photography.  Erwin Buske  Photography is a Bronze Partner with Nature First and supports and promotes their principles.

(1) Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography.

(2) Educate yourself about the places you photograph.

(3) Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.

(4) Use discretion if sharing locations.

(5) Know and follow rules and regulations.

(6) Always follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them.

(7) Actively promote and educate others about these principles.

Leave No Trace

Erwin Buske Photography supports and promotes the seven principles of Leave No Trace (c).

1.  Plan Ahead and Prepare 

2.  Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

3. Dispose of Waster Properly

4. Leave What You Find

5. Minimize Campfire Impacts

6. Respect Wildlife

7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Social Media Guidance

Beautiful images of our natural landscapes can inspire others to cultivate their own appreciation of nature, but when posted on social media with specific location information these same images may lead to too many people visiting a  place.   The impact of any one individual may not be significant,  but the combined impact of all these people visiting a site may result  environmental damage.  Clearly we need to think about the consequences of posting a particular image on Social Media and Erwin Buske Photography supports and promotes the guidance of the Leave No Trace Organization for posting on Social Media. 

Think Before You Geotag– consider before tagging (or geotagging) specific locations. Depending on the specifics of the area, you may choose to tag a general location if any at all. Learning the location’s history can also inform your choice. By doing so, people viewing your photo may do some research about the area, and hopefully encounter Leave No Trace information.

Be Mindful of What Your Images Portray – give some thought to what your images may encourage others to do. Images that demonstrate good Leave No Trace practices and stewardship, as well as obeying safety regulations, increase the likelihood that others will emulate this behavior. Be mindful of the platform you have and the people you reach when posting and commenting about the outdoors.

Encourage and Inspire Leave No Trace in Social Media Posts – given the millions of social media users in the world, think of the incredible potential that social media has to educate outdoor enthusiasts, no matter what their background in the outdoors, about enjoying our wild lands responsibly. Invite people into the conversation and try not to make assumptions about their Leave No Trace Ethics.

Give Back to Places You Love – invest your time into the outdoor spaces and places you care about. Learn about volunteer stewardship opportunities and get involved in the protection of our shared lands.

Shaming Is Not the Answer — Remember that everyone’s experience in the outdoors is unique and personal. Online shaming and bullying in the name of Leave No Trace is never endorsed by the Center nor is it effective in terms of influencing choices in the outdoors. Instead, spread awareness of Leave No Trace by engaging in respectful and meaningful conversations on social media about stewardship of the outdoors.

Liberty Bell Reflecting Pond


I am an active supporter of conservation causes and work with the following organization.

1.  Nature Conservancy-- I especially like the way the Nature Conservancy uses the Free Enterprise system to purchase outright partials of threatened land.  With the purchase of the land this takes the continued protection of the land out of the political arena.  Lands protected through political actions are potentially at risk if the political environment changes.

2.  Sierra Club---The Sierra Club is the largest conservation advocacy group in the United States with a track record of effectively fighting the tough political battles to  protect wild places.  I regularly participate in Sierra Club Outings  where environmental issues are discussed and have also co-led Sierra Club Outing trips. 

3.  Washington Wild---Washington Wild specifically focuses on conservation and environmental issues within the state of Washington.  I have supported their efforts through the donation of images sold at auctions with the proceeds going back to the Washington Wild organization.

(4)  I regularly write on the subject of Conservation and have two blog articles

Landscape Photography: Inspiration, Conservation, Preservation, and the Environmental Movement

Wilderness Gone Viral

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