The simple pleasures of photo-monitoring

By Tania Evans, Photo-Monitor since 2009

The ancient maple tree I cherish visiting each year, with my monitoring partner Bill Steere.

Each season, I can’t wait to walk Legacy protected properties. It’s fun to explore landscapes so dear to landowners. The work of a volunteer photo-monitor is to take pictures of protected land from assigned spots. My monitoring partner and I follow a prescribed route, armed with a GPS and notes from other years, putting foot-to-earth in special places.

For example, the Saline River ribbons ferociously through a farm I visit each spring. It surges to Level 2 rapids and then becomes serene again. I kneel on the bank, usually at the foot of a lone, giant-girthed maple, and just listen.

Blanding's turtle

A Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) on protected land. Photo by John Lloyd.

Every property boasts some sort of wildlife: turkey, deer, mink, pheasants, bald eagles, cranes—and some rare creatures as well. Last year we found a Blanding’s turtle beside a bog. We huddled over her for a photo. She was so wild that she eyed the camera with curiosity instead of ducking inside her shell.

Fresh eggs from Cynthia Zuccaro’s happy hens, one of the many treats I’ve received from a Legacy landowner. Almost too pretty to eat. Thanks, Cynthia, for two treats—the other being a walk on your property.

After a walk in the fall, I have been presented with a squash in return for my volunteer efforts. After a cold walk on a snowy morning, I have shared English tea in a warm kitchen. Love it! Thank you, landowners.

And thank you Tania and our other volunteers! If you are interested in becoming a photo-monitor, contact Dana Wright at or 734-302-5263.

This article first appeared in our Winter 2017 newsletter, which you can download to read in full.

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