Guardians of the Everglades®

To introduce the public to the fragile beauty of the Everglades and its unique ecosystem; to honor today’s leadership in conservation and restoration through great art and compelling human stories; and to encourage the public and policy makers to participate in the protection of the Everglades.

A Daily Joy - Our Year in the Land of Enchantment

A year ago we left Florida saying, in our year end newsletter:

“We began the Guardians of the Everglades® multi-media project with great hopes of reaching and educating a broad range of individuals in the benefits of Everglades conservation. . .” But forces of destruction were overwhelming. and clear-eyed, we had to move on.

Over the past year news on climate change has shifted from threatened species or habitats to one of international concern for the ecosystem of the entire planet. Yet Nero continues to fiddle.

Our year in the Land of Enchantment has proven to be the right move. New Mexicans understand that we share the planet with all creatures, threatened or thriving, and it is a daily joy. Share some of our beauty.

We wish you and yours and all creatures here below beauty and peace.

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo.

Nicholas and Connie

 ©Connie Bransilver

View from Sandia Crest over Albuquerque

  ©Connie Bransilver

Viga shadows on adobe

  ©Connie Bransilver

Young buck in velvet

  ©Connie Bransilver

Balloon dip in the Rio Grande

  ©Connie Bransilver

Rio Grande in summer

  ©Connie Bransilver

International Hot Air Balloon Festival - When Pigs Fly

  ©Connie Bransilver

Acoma valley

  ©Connie Bransilver

Valles Caldera National Preserve

  ©Connie Bransilver

Jemez River bosque in the fall

  ©Connie Bransilver

Buddy the Cockatoo in his favorite cottonwood

  ©Connie Bransilver

NM State Fair Rodeo grand entry

  ©Connie Bransilver

Maximilian sunflowers

  ©Connie Bransilver

Acequia looking west

  ©Connie Bransilver

Acequia east

  ©Connie Bransilver

Ladder-backed woodpecker

  ©Connie Bransilver

Our garden in snow

  ©Connie Bransilver

Fireplace in the living room

Giving Tuesday - Please Join Us

Dear Friends,

As you know, I’ve devoted my life to creating impactful images to protect the places and species I love. Through visual storytelling, I attempt to connect people to these issues and inspire action. I am a part of a global Fellowship of visual storytellers with similar missions, goals, and ethics.

I know first-hand the power of visuals. These are recent images from the western New Mexico mesa land, semi-arid yet supporting some of our most ancient American civilizations - Acoma, Laguna, Zuni, Navajo and before that, the Puebloan civilizations at Chaco Canyon just north of these spots.

 ©Connie Bransilver

Giving Tuesday is November 27th, I’m thankful to be a part of this group of passionate visual storytellers, and in fact, a Senior Founding Fellow. A donation to iLCP is an investment in conservation images to protect the pristine and diverse places on this Earth. Please consider donating here.

Any amount will go a long way and will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your support.

 ©Connie Bransilver

Wishing you a great holiday season,

Connie Bransilver, Senior Founding Fellow
https://conservationphotographers.org

iLCPlogo.jpg
 

VOTE. VOTE NOW. VOTE FOR CONSERVATION.

IT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW.

How did we switch from “Doing” to “Being?” Taking in the gorgeous fall here in New Mexico has been all about just being enchanted.

 Maximilian Sunflowers at my cousin’s house ©Connie Bransilver

Maximilian Sunflowers at my cousin’s house.


Our “doing” was taking two intensive acting classes and signing up for Background, Stand-in and minor acting roles. Connie has two on the acting resume, and Nicholas one. You may know that Netflix has been filming in NM for a number of years. “Chambers” is being filmed now, starring Uma Thurman. We are in Episode 8, and they are still filming so there may be more. The ten episode series will be out next year. Some of you may know that Netflix is buying Albuquerque Studios and pledging millions of dollars in production and local hiring, so . . . stand by! Photography strictly forbidden, so you will have to wait.

To be ready for anything, and just to have fun, Nicholas and I are horseback riding. I was once quite a cowgirl, so for me, it’s a tune up. For Nicholas, it is learning experience, sometimes quite bumpy. This photo was made when my sister, Roberta, and I went on a trail ride in the foothills around Cerrillos.

 Riding in the Sandia Foothills ©Connie Bransilver

Two riders in the Sandia Foothills


I have not yet latched onto a new conservation project. I believe the right project will appear when the time is right. Agua es Vida calls, but I need to define a goal. Anyone have ideas or suggestions? Nicholas is just getting back to painting and presenting his work to galleries.

 Acequias ©Connie Bransilver

Acequias in color and light.


The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has come and gone and will return again next October. Come!

 Balloons Ascending ©Connie Bransilver

Balloons Ascending


The New Mexico State Fair with the rodeo and races was a walk through memory lane. The rodeo was spectacular. Obviously, I loved the barrel racing and roping best, but the photos were best on the bucking stock. Emily and Mary Darnell invited me to help give the trophy to the winner of the 6-1/2 Furlong Casey Darnell Futurity, and join them and friends in the Jockey Club. Was that ever a blast, and a wonderful re-entry to the NM rodeo/horse racing world. Friends and their families. For Nicholas, it was seeing the real deal up close. These are not movie cowboys!

 Not Connie Barrel Racing ©Connie Bransilver

Not Connie Barrel Racing


Come to The Land of Enchantment. Adobe, clean clean air, hot summer days, cool evenings, and now, a piñon fire in the fireplace at night. Magical light.

 View From Acoma Pueblo ©Connie Bransilver

The View From Acoma Pueblo

Ballooning Over the Rio Grande River Video

 Buddy Cockatoo enjoying one of the last warm days in his favorite cottonwood ©Connie Bransilver

Buddy Cockatoo enjoying one of the last warm days in his favorite cottonwood.

Glorious Spring in New Mexico

The Land of Enchantment IS:

We have been nesting since January in our new 50-year-old Nat Kaplan adobe house and studio and making it ours. Now it’s time to celebrate the joy of a desert spring and the warmth and friendliness of neighbors and friends. We will continue with direct sales of oil paintings and photos, but Nicholas will also be talking with galleries in Santa Fe and elsewhere to market his work. We will also be marketing the Guardians of the Everglades portraits and accompanying stories. I will find another conservation project, and what is screaming for my attention is the increasing drought and the fights over water. Agua es vida.  Simple as that.

If you are in New Mexico, it’s PARTY TIME. Join us MAY 18, 6-9 pm.  Call, text or email nicholasandconnie@gmail.com your RSVP by May 16.

 Albuquerque New Mexico Sign

 

 

  Sandhill Cranes have long since left our rural neighborhood and rattled north.

Sandhill Cranes have long since left our rural neighborhood and rattled north.

 

 Bearded iris in the garden - Mother’s fine, approving of our new digs.

Bearded iris in the garden - Mother’s fine, approving of our new digs.

 

   
  
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  Acoma Pueblo, Sky City, dates back to 1100 AD. View of Katzimo Mesa, the original pueblo site.

Acoma Pueblo, Sky City, dates back to 1100 AD. View of Katzimo Mesa, the original pueblo site.

 

 Acoma today.

Acoma today

 

 Hands of Acoma potter Gary Lous with our new horsehair pot.

Hands of Acoma potter Gary Louis with our new horsehair pot.

 

 From our balloon to another.

From our balloon to another.

 

   
  
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  Middle Rio Grande, achingly dry this year.

Middle Rio Grande, achingly dry this year.  Our house, upper middle.

 

 

 

   
  
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  Gathering of Nations PowWow - 500 US & Canadian nations.

Gathering of Nations PowWow - 500 US & Canadian nations.

From Paradise to Enchantment

An Exit and an Entrance

We began the Guardians of the Everglades® multi-media project with great hopes of reaching and educating a broad range of individuals in the benefits of Everglades conservation.  We are very grateful for the eleven Guardians who, together, stand as role models for various ways of serving conservation.

As you know, and as our web site states, the purpose was “To introduce the public to the fragile beauty of the Everglades and its unique ecosystem; to honor today’s leadership in conservation and restoration through great art and compelling human stories; and to encourage the public and policy makers to participate in the protection of the Everglades.”  GuardiansoftheEverglades.com

Sadly, our efforts to secure financial support to bring the project to the public through exhibitions, a documentary film and book, or even any of those, were insufficient.  Thus, we have had to conclude that we must abandon the project, at least for the time being, and focus our efforts elsewhere. 

We welcome the opportunity to discuss with you what efforts we have made to raise funds through grants, auctions and individual donors. If you want to know more or offer other sources, please contact us. We will always be open to bringing the Guardians’ extraordinary stories, and our love of the Everglades to the public.

We will be moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico, January 17.  We will be living in an adobe by artist Nat Kaplan, big enough to embrace us, our cockatoo, a studio for each of us, and plenty of room for friends. If you plan to use the mails or visit us, contact us and I will send you the street address in the village of Los Ranchos, NM. Phone numbers and emails will remain the same.

Desert Rose.jpg

Desert Rose


New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment — big sky, embracing mountains, supporting earth in soft greens and tans, clear air, multiple cultures, comfortable and familiar. We chose a home near the bosque, alongside a major acequia with walking trails through our cottonwood forest.  When we first arrived at the house a covey of quail scattered through the yard, sandhill cranes rattled as they lifted off, and robins scolded from a big cottonwood. We saw a road runner, too, and each day a plethora of balloons.

The magical light is eternal. 

Balloon Capital of the World.jpg

Balloon Capital of the World
 

Land of Enchantment.jpg

Land of Enchantment


From Connie:  In NM, we embrace our varied cultures completely. When you come from a place whose history is as rich as New Mexico’s, as I do, you can’t deny it or hide from it.  Who we are in relation to this place compels us to move forward, somewhat exposed, regardless of our personal circumstances.  And that makes for some serious creative energy. New Mexico allows — encourages — eccentricity. Aldous Huxley chose New Mexico for his maybe-not-so-fictional non-conformists in ‘Brave New World’. Yea!

El Rancho, Santa Fe County.jpg

El Rancho, Santa Fe County
 

Devotion at Santuario Chimayo.jpg

Devotion at Chimayo
 

Navajo Code Talkers.jpg

Navajo Code Talkers


Nicholas “got it” first visit, years ago.  We hit the ground, visited my parents’ graves, then headed straight up the tram to Sandia Crest to have a look — 100 miles west across the valley to Mt. Taylor.  The Sandia Mountains are named for the watermelon color they wear reflecting the setting sun.  He loves the space, the freedom, the painter’s light, and the changing seasons. 

Sunset across the valley & the volcanos to Mt. Taylor.jpg

Sunset across the valley and volcanos to Mt. Taylor
 

Chile Capital of the World.jpg

Chile Capital of the World


This may seem sudden.  It is not.  For five years or more we invited friends, colleagues and strangers to visit and to help bring Guardians of the Everglades to a greater audience. We wrote dozens of grant applications, proposals, and knocked on many doors. Several stepped forward to help and we thank:  Sandy Cannon-Brown, The Mamdani Foundation;  Lighthawk;  Puffin Foundation;  Franklin Adams, Deb Jansen, Mary Barley, Lee Tiger, Ed Carlson, Nat  Reed, Clyde and Niki Butcher; local newspapers, NPR, Naples Illustrated, Gulf Shore Life, and most recently and exuberantly, éBella Magazine for its Arts Edition feature of Guardians of the Everglades. There were many, many, many others who offered support, guidance and encouragement. Thank you.

In my opinion, it matters not whether you “believe in” climate change or have drunk the Kool-Aid of denial.  For 20 years I have seen, photographed, talked about, written about and understand that the changes are well underway all over the world, with south Florida especially vulnerable. It is not a pretty picture.  We are moving from flood to drought, but we all live in the extremes. We see it coming. With great regret we leave a fractured more violent world to our children and grandchildren. 

My dear friend, Amb. Cinnamon Dornsife, has the last word:  “Keep upbeat, dear Connie - the negativity is intense, but all that you are doing is too important to let languish - or to allow circumstances and political climate to make you feel like it is too hard to succeed.The negative forces win, if you let that happen...hard as it is to keep positive, you must challenge yourselves to do so.”

We will.


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