Florida Conservation Photographer Receives Philip Hyde Conservation Grant

The North American Nature Photography Association Foundation (NANPA Foundation) named Mary Lundeberg of Englewood, FL, recipient of the 2020 Philip Hyde Conservation Grant. The $2,500 award will support Lundeberg’s efforts to protect beach-nesting birds such as the least tern.

The endangered least tern has declined in population significantly in 50 years. These and other beach-nesting birds are threatened by habitat loss, coastal recreation, dogs, human disturbances, plastic pollution, water pollution, climate change, overfishing, and predators that are attracted to food that humans discard on the beach.

Building on an existing relationship between the Venice Area Audubon Society and 60 teachers from 11 Sarasota schools, Lundeberg will develop and distribute learning materials, including copies of her informational storybook “A Tale of a Tern,” classroom posters, teachers’ guides, lesson plans, a traveling outdoor exhibit, and public signage. Materials will be geared toward fifth grade students and their families as well as boaters, beach visitors, and policymakers.

Photography will reveal what beach visitors can’t see clearly. “My images will create awareness of wildlife on the beach, specifically, beach-nesting birds,” explains Lundeberg. “Because the chicks of beach-nesting birds are so well camouflaged, many beachgoers don’t even notice or see them.”

Images will also help audiences understand the challenges shorebirds face. “Using environmental education, we may be able to raise a generation of people who care about the wildlife around them,” says Lundeberg.

Other partners on the project include Stump Pass Beach State Park, Barrier Island Parks Society, and the Coastal Heartlands National Estuary Program Nature Festival in Punta Gorda, FL.

“We are proud to support Mary in this endeavor that not only meets the NANPA Foundation’s goals for environmental protection but also brings nature photography into the elementary school classroom,” said Teresa Ransdell, executive director of the NANPA Foundation. “Mary’s project will be used in the science and language arts curriculum, and we believe it’s likely to inspire a new generation of nature photographers, too.”

Lundeberg has a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and certification as a Florida Master Naturalist in Coastal Systems. A former Wisconsin Teacher Educator of the Year, Mary is a long-time educator with experience training pre-service teachers for the classroom. Her photographs have placed in prestigious competitions hosted by Nature’s Best Photography, the North American Nature Photography Association, and Photographic Society of America. Her images also have been published by the National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Outdoor Photographer, and Nature Connections Press, among others.

NANPA Foundation’s grant was named for Philip J. Hyde, primary conservation photographer for the Sierra Club whose color images of Western landscapes became a weapon against environmental degradation. Photographers receiving the grant are following in his footsteps of environmental protection through photography.