John, aged 11, lives on the Isle of Skye and during lockdown he decided to infuse his newfound enthusiasm for photography with his passion for nature and the beautiful wildlife around him in his hometown, and favourite place, Kylerhea. Having always had a love of animals and the environment from a young age, John found that photography was a new way for him to connect with nature. He spent hours out in his local area documenting the behaviours of different creatures in order to expand his knowledge and raise awareness of how amazing and beautiful the natural world can be. In recognition of his incredible photos, John was nominated for the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) 2020 Otter Oscar Awards which he won for Photography and Artwork. We talked to John to find out what inspired his project and to find out more about what he does to help nature.
What is important to you? Does this affect your work helping nature?
I love wildlife and nature. The preservation of wildlife and natural places is very important to me and makes me want to learn about them and share them with others.
What (or who) inspired your project?
My good friend Andy Law who taught me so much about nature and animals. My amazing Dad who encouraged me to start taking photographs over lockdown.
How does your project make you feel?
I feel very satisfied after I take a good photo. When I take a picture of a bird or an animal, I then want to identify it and learn more about it.
How did you do it and what are your top tips?
My top tip for wildlife watching is to learn about what you want to see so that you know the best time of day to see it. Also check the time of high and low tides as some wildlife are more active with different tides.
Also get to know the wildlife in your area, wildlife is everywhere, even in cities, you just have to find and learn about it.
John's photo - Seal Siesta
Outwith the award, John also joined IOSF’s Team Otter group last year. This group looks to reconnect children and young people with nature and ignite a longstanding passion for it that will stay with them for life through a variety of group projects. With this group, John has taken part in various litter picking and beach cleans in both his hometown and Broadford where the team is based.
Who do you think can save nature? What would you like to say to them?
Everyone, if we all make the effort. Do your part. Stop using palm oil and non-reusable plastics. Think about the things you buy and how far they have travelled. Raise awareness however you can and try to help the natural world.
Although John has always had a love of animals and the environment from a young age, he discovered that photography was a new way for him to connect with nature and share his passion with others. He took a new hobby and turned it into an exploration of the natural world around him in order to both learn more and raise awareness. If, like John, you have found a way of connecting to nature through a new hobby, we’d love to hear!
In loving memory of Andy Law; a good friend and inspiration to many.
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