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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Eco Walks:Take Only Photos!

Ruth Tait, an avid supporter of the Kawartha Rail Trail, and professional photographer, shares great ideas about how you can help your family get excited about snapping pictures of nature, rather than plundering its bounty while on walks in the great outdoors.

Why Take Only Photos When Exploring Nature?

By Ruth Tait
You’ve probably seen the phrase “Take Nothing but Photos, Leave Nothing but Footprints” but have you really given it any thought? Just another cliché on a poster? Or is it?

Most of us have fairly easy access to a walking/hiking trail. In our area, we can use the Kawartha Trans Canada Trail. This 44km section connects to the Trans Canada Trail, allowing us to go from coast to coast to coast across our country.
We all know it’s great for our physical/mental health, but let’s consider ways those hikes might not be SO healthy for the environment.

Take Nothing … Flora

Can it really matter if you take just one wildflower?

Well, don’t forget that you’re not the only person walking on these paths. If each flower lover picks just one wildflower, it soon won’t look so pretty. Or imagine the barren space left if people start digging up plants for their gardens. If Trillium flowers & leaves are picked, it can cause the plant to not bloom again in following years.
When we hear the terms Endangered Species, or Species at Risk, we tend to think of animals or birds, but it also includes plants, mosses, and grasses. You may not even realize the rarity of the species you are damaging by trampling or taking it. Every living thing has a role to play in our ecosystem. You can affect the balance of nature just by being careless or greedy.
Even something as seemingly innocent as picking a bunch of apples off a nearby tree is really an unnecessary thing for you to do. Leave them for the deer and other animals to feed on. You can buy your apples at the local farmer’s market or grocery -they can’t.

Take Nothing … Fauna

If you find a turtle, a frog, a baby squirrel, or baby rabbit along your hike, please do not take it home. These animals belong in their natural habitat. They are not pets and they don’t need to be rescued. Unfortunately each year well intentioned people make the mistake of “helping” baby animals and actually doing more harm than good. Although it may look like the rabbit’s nest or the fawn has been abandoned, this is generally not the case. The mother has usually hidden her young and is watching from nearby or getting food.
Please teach your children that wild animals should not be “petted” and handled or even worse, teased or poked with sticks and such.

Take Everything … with your Camera!

Make photography an exciting part of your walks! Take photos of those flowers, the scenery along the trail, or wildlife if you’re lucky enough to spot some. Look for tiny blooms, patterns of leaves, bright green moss, textures on tree bark, and rocks. Get close. Now get closer! Try using the macro setting on your camera.Omemee Photo by Ruth Tait

Share Your Discoveries Online

Incorporating social media may make it more fun for your kids too. Take photos of each other enjoying the walk. Use your camera phone and take an Instagram hike. Post your photos to Instagram as you go. If you are anywhere on the Trans Canada Trail, show them your pics using #tctrail. At the same time you could use Twitter or even mobile Facebook to update your friends and promote the beauty of your area to followers. You could create a Board on Pinterest to showcase photos from your walks. Also there are many photo sharing sites such as Flickr which some people use.

Get Creative With Your Discoveries

Captured a great shot that you love? Don’t just leave it sitting on the card in your camera. There are so many options available … for the wall there’s the traditional style framed print or a canvas print. You can order a mug, mousepad, t-shirt or key-chain. Doing something with your photos will let you enjoy them so much more. And you’ll love remembering the walk, the sun on your face and the beauty of nature every time you look at it.

So, stop sitting at your computer – grab your camera, remember to always respect nature and get out there and enjoy the trails!!
River's Edge by Ruth Tait
Visit Ruth-Tait-Creations Facebook-Page Ruth Tait's love of fine art led her into photography classes to obtain better reference material for her paintings. Soon photography became more interesting to her.Ruth now focuses on creating fine art photographic images. Ruth finds inspiration in everything from rusty old vehicles, to delicate flowers, actively participating in show/sales. Ms. Tait brings her artistic vision to other aspects of her photography;and enjoys photo shoots with families, children, couples, pets or corporate work. Ruth's photographic expertise is in demand as a skilled instructor at The Technology Alliance Group for Kawartha Lakes. Learn more about Ruth's photography on her site:www.ruthtaitcreations.comAnd enjoy her photos on instagram

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