50 States of Pollinators
50 States of Pollinators
Travel to 50 states +DC, advocating for pollinators while creating macro photos for an exhibition to promote their protection
Travel to 50 states +DC, advocating for pollinators while creating macro photos for an exhibition to promote their protection Read more
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?
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.
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)