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Great Egret in Breeding Plumage © Lynne Buchanan
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The talk I describe below was given in conjunction with my exhibition, On the Rivers of Florida: Lynne Buchanan's Photographic Meditations, which has been extended through the month...

I would like to thank Justin Bloom for joining me last night at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton for our talk: "Keeping Florida Beautiful–Pictures and Practice."  It was a wonderful opportunity for me to present beautiful images from around the state, both of our rivers and the wildlife that inhabits the banks.  I spoke of what rivers mean to us and why we should preserve them, rivers as interdependent ecosystems, and ethical wildlife photography practices.  Justin, concluded the talk with a discussion of  the Waterkeeper Alliance consisting of water and lake keepers across the country and the Suncoast Waterkeeper, an organization that he recently started and is Executive Director  of.  Contact Justin at  https://www.facebook.com/Suncoastkeeper to find out how you can help.  As the population and visitors in our state have increased and as the digital age has made photography something everyone can do, it has had an adverse affect on nature.  In the recent issue of Tampa Bay Soundings, Florida Audubon writers Ann Paul and Mark Rachal claim wildlife photographers are the greatest threat to birds in our state today.  Much of this is due to ignorance on the part of the public.  Visit http://www.nanpa.org/docs/NANPA-Ethical-Practices.pdf to download a pdf with best practices for wildlife photography from NANPA, so that you can increase your awareness of how to behave in nature.  I believe we can all coexist together, if we remember we are one being in an interdependent web of life and that we are ultimately guests on this planet.

I am very excited to have been asked to present my program to environmental science programs in some Manatee County schools next year, and would be delighted to present my talk to any other schools in the state.  Introducing these concepts to young people is the hope of the future for wildlife in this state, not to mention the planet.  After my talk concluded, I received this email which touched me deeply and made me feel all the work I put into this exhibition and talk were so worthwhile: "Your talk tonight was so beautiful.  It personally touched and reminded me of why I am an educator, for those small moments that bind you to another person, another vision of the world and that which connects us all."  This is the whole point of my work and it makes me so happy when people understand.  I am a quiet person, a photographer and writer, and was unsure how this public presentation would come off.  Before I got up to talk, I said to myself that I may not be a person who loves the spotlight and though I may be afraid of public speaking, the rivers, plants, and creatures for whom I speak have no voice except when the water dries up or the trees and wildlife show signs of stress and even die.  When I spoke from my heart, it was not difficult to tell their story.  They need me, they need us, to all work together to ensure their continued existence.