$2,268 pledged of $47,379 goal
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By Shannon Marlow du Plessis
$2,268 pledged of $47,379 goal
backers

About

What I'm Doing

Anyone traveling to all 50 states is noteworthy. To do it for a cause makes the project newsworthy, which is why I'm going to all 50 states to generate awareness about the need to protect pollinators. Pollinators=healthy food for us and for our children.

As I travel to all 50 states (+ DC), I will do what I do best; create photographs and talk. I'll be taking thousands of photos of pollinators and meeting with the people who work with them and help protect them. The project will result in a planned photo exhibition, videos, and a book about the project that will draw attention to the fact that pollinators are in trouble and so are we if we don't protect them.

I believe the buzz will build with every state I check off the list and that excitement will translate into awareness of the importance of pollinators and what we can do to protect them.

President Trump has already tweeted about 50 States of Pollinators.

Okay, not really. Trump and his administration don't care about pollinators or the planet, which is part of the problem, and what spurred me to action.

Why Pollinators and Why Me?

Pollinators are responsible for 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat.

  • $40 billion worth of products (including healthy food and coffee) are produced by bees and other pollinators every year, and that's just in the United States. 
  • 40% of invertebrate pollinator species, particularly bees and butterflies, face extinction due to habit loss and pesticide use. 

If you enjoy what pollinators help produce like coffee, tequila, almonds, apples, avocados, cashews, blueberries, grapes, peaches, peppers, strawberries, tangerines, walnuts, or watermelons, this affects you.

Did I mention coffee?

PRNewsFoto/Whole Foods Market
PRNewsFoto/Whole Foods Market

 

PRNewsFoto/Whole Foods Market
PRNewsFoto/Whole Foods Market

I already have one successful project:  The Pollinators Project. Begun in 2016, I created macro photographs of pollinators, and continue to donate 40% of the sales proceeds to help local pollination protection.

I want to draw attention to the fate of pollinators on a larger stage. 

  • I am a Certified Hays County Texas Master Naturalist 
  • I am Co-organizer of the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) Central Texas-Austin Meetup Group 
  • I live this at home; our 4.5 acres is a Certified Wildlife Habitat and a Pollinator Habitat with a Monarch WayStation 
  • I am an award-winning photographer and have photos juried into four different exhibitions right now. 
  • I'm in the Texas Photographic Society 
  • I chair the Wimberley Valley Dark Sky Committee--we are pursuing our dark sky community designation from the International Dark-Sky Association--elimination of light pollution. 

This is my calling. This is my thing. Macro photography and doing my part to help the planet are my greatest passions. This project merges these two passions to draw attention to the fact that without pollinators, life on our planet will be bleak indeed. I'm making a difference with my time on Earth.

This tiny hoverfly is no bigger than the fingernail on my pinkie--one of the reasons I love macro photography.
This tiny hoverfly is no bigger than the fingernail on my pinkie--one of the reasons I love macro photography.

 

I simply call this one Orange
I simply call this one Orange

 

A bee pollinates a Texas prickly pear cactus flower. See the full pollen basket on its leg?
A bee pollinates a Texas prickly pear cactus flower. See the full pollen basket on its leg?

 

Queen butterflies are often mistaken for Monarchs. I captured this one with its proboscis curled before it began to feed. I also got a tiny ant on the flower--a nice surprise.
Queen butterflies are often mistaken for Monarchs. I captured this one with its proboscis curled before it began to feed. I also got a tiny ant on the flower--a nice surprise.

 

I post-processed one of my Monarch butterfly photos into a globe.
I post-processed one of my Monarch butterfly photos into a globe.

 

It's not just bees and butterflies; beetles also pollinate. I call this one Face Plant.
It's not just bees and butterflies; beetles also pollinate. I call this one Face Plant.

 

Wind is a challenge. I captured this Bordered Patch butterfly on a blustery spring day.
Wind is a challenge. I captured this Bordered Patch butterfly on a blustery spring day.

The Plan

It will take me two years to visit all 50 states + DC. It's an ambitious project and I am very excited.

Before I get to the itinerary, let me talk a little about generating buzz:

Besides traveling, I will:

  • Contact the places I am visiting to let them know about 50 States of Pollinators and that they are a featured destination. I will ask them to help publicize it in their newsletters and on social media;
  • contact traditional media outlets, reporters, and issue press releases. I have a local radio interview scheduled for August and two local newspapers ready to run stories about the start of the project;
  • spend the next two years blogging about this and writing guest blog posts;
  • use Facebook (especially groups and a few targeted ads where needed) and Twitter;
  • post lots of behind the scenes photos of my trips on Instagram, which I will use almost exclusively for this project;
  • make use of the publicity resources available to me from the various organizations I am a member of; and
  • accept the help of friends and colleagues who have offered help with publicity and social media strategy.

I will live, eat, breathe, and sleep (but not much) this project for the next two years, will love doing it, and that will show.

How I Will Use the Funds

I will spend the money on travel costs (coach airfare, economy rental car, gasoline, cheap hotels, entry fees where I don't get in free (see last bullet point below), and cheap food), and the cost to frame (to conservation standards) 51-60 photographs for the exhibition.

To save money I will:

  • drive to some locations; otherwise I will fly (coach, of course) on Southwest Airlines. I get points for flying, which I can apply to future project flights to save money. Southwest doesn't fly everywhere in the US, so I will have to use other airlines for a couple of the trips. 
  • rent economy cars through Southwest, where I get 30% off and accumulate more points to help pay for future travel. 
  • combine trips where possible so that I fly to one state, rent a car, drive to other states, then fly home--saves a lot on airfare. 
  • use my Hilton Honors account to book rooms in mid-range Hampton Inns and accumulate points to reduce the cost of lodging. 
  • charge everything to the appropriate credit card to maximize points. When it's the quarter for 5% cash back on hotels, I'll use a particular card. Same goes for the quarter when gasoline is 5% cash back. I also have a credit card that gives me 1.25 points per dollar spent on travel that I can redeem to offset the airfare and rental car charges. 
  • go only to the one Hawaiian island. I've been to Hawaii twice before, and this is a business trip. 
  • use my reciprocal benefits. As a member of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, I get in free at 300+ botanical gardens across the U.S. 

How You Can Help

Please contribute to this project and help me help the pollinators and the folks who help them.

If you're not able to support 50 States of Pollinators monetarily, please, please, please spread the word about this project. Any and all promotion is helpful. Thank you!

Risks and challenges

I might be overthinking this (I do that, apparently), but here is what I came up with.

I created a spreadsheet to plan the project. I researched the costs for each trip, figured out where I could combine states into one trip, added the cost to frame the photos for the exhibition, costs to give you your rewards, and Kickstarter fees. I'm confident that my numbers are realistic. If I did miss something, I will absorb the cost.

Data loss risk is all but non-existent. In the field I will backup the RAW files to my Hyperdrive, my Macbook Air, and to cloud storage. Once home I will also put the files on my iMac, which I back up weekly. So, that's the original memory disk in my camera, plus quintuple backups, which may be overkill, but hey, that's how I roll.

Exhibition framing costs may increase if, when working with the venue(s), we decide to include more photos than I planned or increase the print size. The show must go on! I will absorb any increased cost.

Equipment failure is a risk, but it's low. I have two full frame cameras (Sony A7RII, and a Sony A7 as backup), a dedicated macro lens, and other glass if I need it. I carry insurance on my equipment so if something goes wrong, I'm covered.

I have a shot list for each state. I even want to photograph the Rusty Patched Bumblebee that's now on the endangered species list, but it will be very hard to find. Nature doesn't always cooperate. I might not get the shot I want. I have backup shots planned.

The National Butterfly Center in Texas (https://www.nationalbutterflycenter.org/) is being invaded by folks who want to take part of it for Trump's border wall. If there is a protest during the time I am there, I might participate. I promise not to use these funds for bail money--wink!

Postcard delivery failure. I can mail a postcard from all 50 states + DC, but after that, it's out of my control. I can't ensure that the post office does its job. If any backer does not end up with the complete set of 51 different postcards, I can send the one or two that might be missing, but the postmark will be from where I live.

I hate that it can be risky to be a woman traveling alone, but there it is. I will have a photography assistant (unpaid so more like an intern, which might be a family member at times) travel with me to most destinations.

Visiting 50 states + DC is a two-year project (September 2017-September 2019). I'm excited and bet I won't have any issues with project burnout. To hedge that bet, I have a scheduled four-month travel break September 2018-December 2018. I'll be working on the project during that time, just not traveling.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Fame, Follow, and Shout Out

    I will put your name on the Hall of Fame page I will setup on my photographer website, follow you on Twitter, and give you a shout out on Twitter.

    Includes:
    • Name on Hall of Fame
    • Twitter follow and shout out
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Hi-Res Images

    I will send you a set of 10 Hi-Res pollinator images created exclusively as a Kickstarter reward from photos taken during the trips I have scheduled for 2017.

    You won't see these images anywhere else and I will never use them for prints. Enjoy the art on your screens and devices.

    Includes:
    • Hi-Res Image Set (10 images)
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    Early Bird!! First 36 Hours

    Be one of the first to support this project and receive two happy surprises in the mail:

    1) a signed 8" x 10" Monarch Globe print

    2) a handwritten note on one of my custom photo postcards to thank you for being an early supporter.

    Includes:
    • Custom Photo Postcard
    • 8" x 10" Signed Monarch Globe Print
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Tour Diary, Print + Postcard

    At some point during 2018, you'll receive a happy surprise in your mailbox in the form of a handwritten note on one of my custom photo postcards sent from somewhere along the road--just to let you know I'm thinking of you and appreciate your support.

    plus

    After the tour is finished, I will email you a PDF of the Tour Diary, a complete detailed itinerary. You'll see exactly where I went in each state with notes about each location. These notes will inform the book I will write about the project.

    plus

    I will send you an 8" x 10" print (your choice) of an exhibition photo, once the photos are selected in late 2019.

    Includes:
    • Custom Photo Postcard
    • 8" x 10" Print
    • Tour Diary-PDF
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Advance Photo Access

    Beginning in October 2017, I'll give you access to the private Flickr galleries I will create (one for each state). You will see the photos as I post-process them.

    You can vote for your favorite photo from each state so you will have a direct say in which photos make it to the list of finalists for the exhibition.

    You do not have to join Flickr to see the photos.

    Includes:
    • Advance Access to Project Images beginning October 2017
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Photo Access, Tour Diary + Signed Print

    Beginning in October 2017, I'll give you access to the private Flickr galleries I will create (one for each state). You will see the photos as I post-process them.

    You can vote for your favorite photo from each state so you will have a direct say in which photos make it to the list of finalists for the exhibition.

    You do not have to join Flickr to see the photos.

    plus

    I will send you a signed 11" x 14" archival quality pigment ink print of one of the exhibition photos (your choice), once the photos are selected in late 2019.

    I will create your print using archival pigment inks and fine photographic art paper. All prints come with a certificate of authenticity.

    plus

    You will also receive a PDF of the Tour Diary, a complete detailed itinerary, after the tour ends. You'll see exactly where I went in each state with notes about each location. These notes will inform the book I will write about the project.

    Includes:
    • Advance Access to Project Images beginning October 2017
    • 11" x 14" Signed Print
    • Tour Diary-PDF
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 350 or more About $350

    Complete Insider's Package

    You'll be a project insider with realtime access to the Trip Diary, beginning November 2017. You won't have to wait--read it as I write it. You'll get a notice each time I update it after each trip

    plus

    beginning in October 2017, I'll give you access to the private Flickr galleries I will create (one for each state). You will see the photos as I post-process them.

    You can vote for your favorite photo from each state so you will have a direct say in which photos make it to the list of finalists for the exhibition.

    You do not have to join Flickr to see the photos.

    plus

    exclusive access to behind the scenes videos

    plus

    I will send you a signed 11" x 14" archival quality pigment ink print of one of the exhibition photos (your choice), once the photos are selected in late 2019.

    I will create your print using archival pigment inks and fine photographic art paper. All prints come with a certificate of authenticity.

    plus

    You will also receive a PDF of the completed Tour Diary, a complete detailed itinerary, after the tour ends. You'll see exactly where I went in each state with notes about each location. These notes will inform the book I will write about the project.

    Includes:
    • 11" x 14" Signed Print
    • Advance Access to Project Images beginning October 2017
    • Exclusive Behind the Scenes Videos
    • Realtime access to the Tour Diary beginning November 2017
    • Tour Diary-PDF
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Photo Access, Tour Diary + 51 Postcards!

    I will mail you one of my custom photo postcards from every state I visit + DC. You will receive 51 different postcards, which is getting 51 different images from the project.

    Imagine having a set of postcards postmarked from every state in the US!

    I'll mail your first postcard (from Texas) in Sept 2017 and your 51st postcard (from Alaska) in September 2019.

    plus

    Beginning in October 2017, I'll give you access to the private Flickr galleries I will create (one for each state). You will see the photos as I post-process them.

    You can vote for your favorite photo from each state so you will have a direct say in which photos make it to the list of finalists for the exhibition.

    You do not have to join Flickr to see the photos.

    plus

    a PDF of the Tour Diary, a complete detailed itinerary, after the tour ends. You'll see exactly where I went in each state with notes about each location. These notes will inform the book I will write about the project.

    Includes:
    • Advance Access to Project Images beginning October 2017
    • Custom Photo Postcard Sent from Every State + DC
    • Tour Diary-PDF
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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 0 backers
    $
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Art Lover's Package

    You'll receive a complete set of 8" x 10" prints of all of the exhibition images.

    That's a minimum of 51 prints--one image from each state + DC.

    plus

    an invitation to the exhibition

    plus

    an exhibition catalogue

    plus

    I will send you a set of 10 Hi-Res pollinator images created exclusively as a Kickstarter reward from photos taken during the trips I have scheduled for 2017--delivery in November 2017.

    You won't see these images anywhere else and I will never use them for prints. Enjoy the art on your screens and devices.

    Includes:
    • Complete Set of Exhibition Prints - 8" x 10"
    • Exhibition Invitation
    • Exhibition Catalogue
    • Hi-Res Image Set (10 images)
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    Ships to Only United States
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About $1,000

    Mega Backer Package

    You get access, art, happiness in your mailbox, and more with this package.

    I will mail you one of my custom photo postcards from every state I visit + DC. You will receive 51 different postcards, which is getting 51 different images from the project.

    Imagine having a set of postcards postmarked from every state in the US!

    I'll mail your first postcard (from Texas) in Sept 2017 and your 51st postcard (from Alaska) in September 2019.

    plus

    realtime access to the Trip Diary, beginning November 2017--read it as I write it and see it before anyone else. You'll get a notice each time I update it after each trip

    plus

    beginning in October 2017, I'll give you access to the private Flickr galleries I will create (one for each state). You will see the photos as I post-process them.

    You can vote for your favorite photo from each state so you will have a direct say in which photos make it to the list of finalists for the exhibition.

    You do not have to join Flickr to see the photos.

    plus

    exclusive access to behind the scenes videos

    plus

    an autographed hard copy of the Tour Diary in addition to the PDF version of the Tour Diary

    plus

    your name listed in the "Special Thanks" section of all promotional materials unless you would rather not be listed

    plus

    an invitation to the exhibition

    plus

    an exhibition catalogue

    plus

    one signed, limited edition print of one of the images selected for the exhibition (you let me know your first and second choice). The edition print size has not been set, but the print will be no smaller than 11" x 14", matted to 16" x 20."

    The edition number of your print will be the lowest number possible (after 1/20) since you will get the exclusive right to select your print before prints are made available for sale to the public.

    If more than one backer selects the same print, edition is assigned in pledge date order with the backer(s) pledging earliest getting the lower editions.

    In the unlikely event that the number of backers wanting a particular print exceeds the editions available, pledge date order determines the backers who receive their first choice, with the remaining backers receiving a print of their second choice.

    I will create your print using archival pigment inks and fine photographic art paper. All prints come with a certificate of authenticity.

    Note: The exhibition date isn't finalized and may be held in 2020 to coincide with spring, so your invitation and exhibition catalogue may not arrive until early 2020. I promise to keep you updated.

    Includes:
    • Signed, Limited Edition Exhibition Photo Print
    • Advance Access to Project Images beginning October 2017
    • Custom Photo Postcard Sent from Every State + DC
    • Exclusive Behind the Scenes Videos
    • Realtime access to the Tour Diary beginning November 2017
    • Tour Diary-Autographed Hard Copy
    • Tour Diary-PDF
    • Special Thanks on promotional materials
    • Exhibition Invitation
    • Exhibition Catalogue
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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Funding period

- (28 days)