When Joel Sartore accepted A Rocha’s invitation to be keynote speaker at May’s Barn Raiser Gala – the public launch of our Campaign for Brooksdale – neither knew it would be love at first sight!
A world-renowned wildlife photographer, Joel is twelve years (and half-way) into his master work, the Photo Ark. He is capturing the portraits of 12,000 animals: an astonishing contribution to the conservation of Earth’s species. Joel aims to document every species living in wildlife sanctuaries and reserves around the world, inspiring action – through education – to help save wildlife. Most of his ‘shoots’ are at zoos and focus on just one or two species per visit.
To his delight, with one overnight at Brooksdale his tally shot up by 38 species: an unprecedented experience. This was Joel’s first time working with naturalists who can collect everyday creatures and identify their common and scientific names. He was thrilled! Joel’s perspective is that all animals have value and deserve their moment of fame. Soberingly, it’s always at the back of his mind that the common species of 2017 may be endangered within a century.
In the beautiful setting of Brooksdale’s heritage barn – our future Conservation Learning Centre – he photographed 24 species in an eight-hour session. The next morning at Trinity Western University provided him with 14 more species. While he was excited by humble species like the European earwig (Forficula auricularia) and the Twice-stabbed stink bug (Cosmopepla lintneriana) which (strangely?) hadn’t yet been added to his database, we were delighted with gorgeous photos of critical species from the Little Campbell watershed, including the Salish sucker (Catostomus Cf. catostomus) and the Oregon forestsnail (Allogona townsendiana).
Funded in part by National Geographic and Harbers Foundation (whose kind support enabled us to invite him), Joel’s own speaking engagements help to keep the Photo Ark afloat. He is a compelling speaker, deftly moving the 300 participants of the Barn Raiser between hilarity, wonder, and sombre reflection, while showing hundreds of astounding portraits of animals he’s photographed around the world, now including our dear Salish sucker.
Although Joel is the photographic equivalent of a rock star and A Rocha is really quite a humble entity, it was a wonderful collaboration and we may just all have a twinkle in our eye for a ‘next time’!
Many thanks to the star naturalists and volunteers who joined our conservation team to bring about this photographic blitz: Alain Boisclair-Joly, Corey Bunnell, Katelyn Cannon, Anthea Farr, Ted Goshulak, Phil Hurrell, Darcy Kehler, Sherry Kippers, Steve Kroeker, Stan Olson, and Lungi Roberts.