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 pollinator conservation efforts.
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 nature 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.
Support 50 States of Pollinators
It will take me a couple of 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 September 2017, and two local newspapers ready to run stories about the start of the project;
- spend the next two years blogging about this and posting video updates;
- 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 Funds
I will spend 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.
Are you a business interested in sponsorship? I have corporate sponsorship packet for companies interested in sponsoring the project. Support levels for $1,000 and up! Please contact me for more information and to receive your packet. Thank you!
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!
Follow the 50 States of Pollinators journey–almost as good as being there!
I’ll be posting updates, videos, fun photos, and blog posts throughout the project. Choose the ways you want to travel with me, each one will offer something different!
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