Images for Conservation Fund is a revolutionary and evolutionary conservation organization. We create new models for conservation of wildlife habitat.
The Pro-Tour of Nature Photography was a new concept for conservation on private land and built on the example of the Valley Land Fund’s successful Wildlife Photo Contest, but expanded to include all of Texas. The purpose of the Pro-Tour was to educate private landowners about the wildlife on their ranches and introduce the possibilities of developing photo tourism as a new income source.
The evolution continued with the Pro-Am Tour of Nature Photography. For the past three years, ICF has held Pro-Am tournaments with both adults and children. We created a judging platform that allows the best photo editors and stock agencies to participate in judging the images from their own locations.
The Pro-Am Youth tournaments opened our eyes to the potential the camera has as a teaching tool. We worked with two of the finest photographers/teachers: Ruth Hoyt and Karine Aigner. Watching them work and seeing the amazing results on the youth, created the concept of combining conservation and education.
So what happens when ICF joins with a land trust, Valley Land Fund, a wildlife education and conservation organization, Wildlife Conservation & Education Society of South Texas, and a dynamic charter school, IDEA Public Schools? The answer is simple, wildlife conservation and education unite for two common goals, protect wildlife habitat and improve education for the low income, underprivileged children of South Texas. Getting kids in nature and putting cameras in their hands (as a teaching tool) can and will increase the quality of education and test scores for these kids. These same kids will be future conservationist.
ICF has launched this model for conservation and education with the “Save Camp Lula Sams” project. (www.camplulasams.com) IDEA Public Schools will be the final owner of the 85.7 acres outdoor campus, with Valley Land Fund holding a conservation easement on 75 acres thus creating the perfect environmental campus for 25,000 (2014 numbers) K-12 children attending IDEA Public Schools. ICF and IDEA are introducing a pilot photography program for educating teachers in the use of the camera as a tool for their classes.
Why We Do It:
We do it for the wildlife.
Ultimately, if wildlife habitat is to be saved it’s up to private landowners to do it. Here are just a few reasons why:
- Of our fifty states, ten have less than 2% of their space set aside as federal lands accessible by the public and/or devoted to wildlife conservation. (Source: U.S. General Services Administration, Federal Real Property Profile, 2004)
- Of the remaining forty states, about half of our federally owned land is closed to the public (i.e. military bases and areas privately leased for drilling or mining). (Sources: U.S. Dept. of Energy, 2011; U.S. Dept. of Interior, 2011)
- Only an estimated 8-12% of federal public lands in the United States are specifically designated as wildlife habitats. (United Nations Environment Programme, 2008)
- Texas, where Images for Conservation is based, is approximately 95% privately owned. (Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 2011).
Who We Are:
Images for Conservation Fund is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization created in 2003 for the purpose of conserving wildlife habitat and generating a sustainable income stream within rural economies through the establishment and prosperity of the Private-Lands’ Nature-Photography Industry (PLNPI).
Learn more about our history.
What We Believe:
- We believe in finding solutions to help maintain biodiversity.
- We believe in promoting responsible land stewardship.
- We believe the Private-Lands’ Nature-Photography Industry (PLNPI) provides the unique ability to contribute to both of these by making it profitable to conserve habitats permanently.
- We believe this sort of sustainable use of private land is a win-win solution for wildlife and for owners who face increasing pressure to develop their lands for commercial uses.
- We believe local communities need to be engaged in their conservation efforts and strive to create our tournaments so that local economies benefit whenever possible from photo-tourism dollars generated.
- We believe in sustainable solutions, especially imaginative ones. Nature photography provides the perfect tool for such solutions.
Some of the Tools We Use to Achieve Our Goals:
Education – Images for Conservation demonstrates the advantages of private-land photography and provides educational opportunities for adults and children.
We instruct private landowners how nature photography creates economic benefits while also conserving the integrity of their land and the wildlife so that both will be there for future generations to enjoy.
We instruct the public about the flora and the fauna that live nearby, helping to create intimate connections and providing incentives to conserve local lands.
Art – Images for Conservation promotes photography as a visual voice for nature, featuring award-winning images in books and exhibitions for the public’s education and enjoyment.
Check out our Pro-Tour of Nature Photography books.
Natural History – Images for Conservation promotes the study of plants, animals and ecology through the imagery of professional and amateur nature photographers, chronicling the biodiversity of North America.