Facebook and nature: an unlikely duo

I try to set some goals for my photography each year. It may be to make images of a certain type of subject such as still life objects or macro images. It may be to try out some new techniques such as fill-in flash or “dragging the shutter” to create a sense of motion in a photo. It could be to visit new locations to discover what possibilities it would hold for new and interesting subjects.

This year my goal was to visit new nature areas and local parks. It all started with seeing a newspaper article about two Grand Rapids, Michigan, area women who decided to share their love of wildflowers, walking, and local parks. Barb Beck and Judy Bergma created a Facebook page called Michigan Wildflowers. They published a small booklet showing a variety of spring wildflowers and which parks we were likely to find them in. The booklet and the Facebook page were the venue for a “Spring Wildflower Scavenger Hunt.” They encouraged readers to post photos of their findings on their Facebook page and tell us what park they were found it. In many cases readers called on Barb and Judy to help identify a wildflower they had photographed and posted.

In my estimation their venture was wildly successful. While on the prowl for wildflowers, I saw many families walking through the parks, booklets in hand, trying to find and identify the 30 spring flowers in the scavenger hunt booklet. Kids were excited to go on a treasure hunt, and parents were thrilled to see their kids interested in the outdoors. As a photographer, there was another huge benefit. I was able to get daily feedback on what flowers were blooming in a particular park on a given day or week. Many times I changed my weekend plans to visit a particular park based on what other flower hunters reported on the Facebook page.

There is a lot that can be said about how social networking can bring us together as fellow humans. In this example, social media was the impetus towards getting hundreds of people to venture out into nature–perhaps the antithesis of being behind a computer.

Following are some photos from various new parks I had not visited before this year–and a couple places I visit regularly. There are some from Spring, Summer and Fall.  Enjoy!

Dutchmans Breeches, Hudsonville Nature Center, Hudsonville.Pink lady slippers, Riley Trails, Holland.Trillium, Aman Park, Tallmadge charter Township.Bleeding hearts, Frederick Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids.Yellow trout lily, Hudsonville Nature Center, Hudsonville.Hepatica, Aman Park, Tallmadge charter Township.Arrow plant, Ludington State Park, Ludington.Pitcher plant (carnivorous), Albany Creek Preserve, Cedarville.Unidentified(carnivorous), Albany Creek Preserve, Cedarville.Plaster Creek, Ken-O-Sha Park, Kentwood.Mushrooms, Pickerel Lake Park, Cannonsburg.Columbine, Calvin Ecosystem Preserve, Grand Rapids.Hepatica, Aman Park, Tallmadge charter Township.Indian pipe mushroom, South Island Nature Preserve, Long Lake, Traverse City.

4 Comments

  1. Diana Granados March 23, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Nature photos? This is admittedly the least I’d expect to find in Facebook, and I’m pleasantly surprised. Even better, the page actually encourages submissions from their followers – more locations, more photos, more variety. Thanks for giving me another reason to check my FB account – I’m definitely following this.

  2. Kasi February 10, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    Your photos capture a side of nature we wish we could capture more often, and sometimes overlook! Thank you for sharing. I would love to see what your eyes and camera could find here in one of our parks/trails in Newaygo County.
    Ever been?

  3. Ann Kroeker December 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    Love that your goal is so tangible and takes you out into God’s creation.

    Your eye…wow. You really know how to move in close and closer still, to see the intricacies and patterns and beauty in details others would so easily overlook.

    Thanks for giving us eyes to see.

  4. Barb Beck December 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Bill, thank you for your interest in our book. Your eye for patterns and colors is amazing! Your photos are beautiful!
    Barb

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