Blogs

Category Archives: Conservation

The Oceanic Society

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Authored by Wayne Sentman

Established in 1969, Oceanic Society is America’s oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to ocean conservation. Throughout our history we have seen how conscientious nature travel can drive conservation and connect people to nature in meaningful ways. Our Expeditions programs have been a core component of how we pursue our mission for more than 40 years. With our Director, Rod Mast, having known Pete and Renee for over a decade now, and with Pete having worked as an expedition guide for Oceanic Society over the last few years, we are proud to be partnering with Pete Oxford Expeditions to develop truly exceptional expeditions.

As a non-profit we are mission driven, with our expeditions we hope to offer world class experiences in nature, both in the sea and on land. We also hope to inspire our travelers through the first hand experiences and education these types of immersive expeditions can deliver, but also wanting everyone along the way to simply revel in the “art” that nature’s beauty provides and nurtures us with. In that spirt we believe partnering with Pete and Renee on select expeditions will allow us all to offer our clients more passion-filled experiences, and allow both of our organizations to become stronger story-tellers so that we can inspire a larger following to create the lasting changes that are needed to improve the health of our environmental.

Declining ocean health is a worldwide problem whose causes—including overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction, and climate change—are diverse and difficult to quantify. Yet they all share a common cause: human behaviors. Simply put, people put too much in and take too much out of the seas. Fortunately, we have the power—individually and collectively—to improve ocean health by making simple changes to our daily habits. By taking action to reduce our personal plastic consumption, to make better seafood choices, to participate in beach cleanups, to reduce our carbon footprint, or to support ocean-friendly legislation, we all have the ability to improve ocean health.

Each of our expeditions is designed with the intention to positively impact the natural areas and human communities we visit while also delivering transformative nature experiences for our travelers that deepen their connections to nature and promote the adoption of ocean-friendly “blue habits.” Moreover, any profits we earn are invested directly into our ocean research and conservation programs worldwide. Here’s how it works.


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ILCP

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Authored by Susan Norton, Executive Director

Pete Oxford is a Founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). In 2015, Pete presented at iLCP’s annual conservation communications event, WildSpeak, on Yasuni National Park’s unfathomable biodiversity and valuable natural history while raising awareness for the threats of oil extraction and road development. Pete was also part of a team of iLCP Fellows on an expedition to the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) to support the health of the reef ecosystem through visual media. The trip helped educate local fishermen about the benefits of adopting digital technologies, specifically OurFish App, for improved small-scale fisheries management.

As one of the most influential wildlife photographers in the world with an outspoken passion for conservation, he was a pivotal player in the formation of iLCP’s mission in conservation photography. With his involvement in the iLCP and through his diverse and dedicated work in nature conservation, he remains a key voice and leader in the field of conservation photography.

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Quito Vivarium

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Pete Oxford, has always maintained a strong conservation vision. He has been a permanent presence in the Fundación Herpetológica Gustavo Orcés (Vivarium de Quito) since its creation. The vision of the FHGO being to contribute to the conservation of Ecuadorian amphibians and reptiles through research and education, Pete continues to donate a large number of valuable, professional images to the foundation.

Always available to collaborate and advise on projects managed by the foundation he has been on the board of directors since August 2009. In this capacity he has been active in many areas within the organization.

Maria Elena Barragán Executive Director FHGO

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Plastic Pollution Coalition

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Pete was part of an eclectic team working with Dianna Cohen, CEO of the Plastic Pollution Coalition in Indonesia. Consisting of scientists, artists, photographers, film makers, activists and conservationists the team was studying ways to address the massive marine plastic pollution problem in Asia.

The Orianne Society

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Authored by Amanda Newsom

This December, the Orianne Society is profiling Pete Oxford, an exceptional wildlife photographer that we began partnering with in 2011. We are grateful to have a wonderful friend, partner and supporter in Pete and are truly appreciative of the work he has done for our organization and for conservation across the world.

Pete originally trained as a marine biologist but now dedicates his career to full-time professional photography along with his wife, Reneé Bish. His images have been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Time, Smithsonian, Life, Nature’s Best, International Wildlife, Ranger Rick, BBC Wildlife and more. Pete is a founding fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and has been recognized by Outdoor Photographer Magazine as one the top 40 most influential nature photographers in the world.

Though Pete predominantly photographs wildlife and wilderness areas, he also enjoys focusing on indigenous cultures and their inextricable link to conservation efforts. He combines his photography expeditions and interest in conservation to write books, as well. Most of his 12 published books are about conservation and biodiversity in Ecuador, the country where this British photographer has lived for the past 29 years.

Pete is a man of many talents, and we at the Orianne Society are proud to partner with him to photograph the species and landscapes we are working to conserve. His work allows us to present our science-based projects with images that encompass the nature of amphibians, reptiles and ecosystems in a stunning and sophisticated manner. He has a talent for photographing animals that can sometimes be challenging to showcase, particularly snakes. This talent likely stems from his innate fondness for the animals—his first pet at age four was a snake—and enjoyment of working with them.

When asked about his time spent with the Orianne Society, Pete says: “Working with the Orianne Society ticks a lot of boxes for me. It is both a pleasure and an honor to work with their small, expert, highly-dedicated and efficient team. As one of the directors of a public display and outreach facility working to preserve reptile and amphibians in Ecuador, I share Orianne’s infectious passion for this group of often maligned animals. It is our hope that using photography as a tool we can reach a greater audience, endear them to the cause and eventually infect them with the same passion.”

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Forest Fund

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Reneé and Pete have known and followed Sophia since birth. She shared the Ecuadorian coast with them and, due to inadequate schooling options attended a school set up, in large part, by her mother. It is easy to remember how freely she lived in those days and what an incredibly ‘worldly’ education she received. She was always a sponge, soaking up knowledge and wisdom. Recently she graduated from Harvard University.

Sophia joined us on our 2016 Pantanal trip in Brazil and wowed us all with a talk on her Forest Fund initiative that she started. As per our Focus Expeditions policy, we donated US$100 per passenger which was more than matched by all trip participants. We feel proud to give something back to such a worthy cause.

Forest Fund is an online platform born in a Harvard dorm room that makes conservation direct, transparent, and accessible to everyone. Our conservation targets privately owned areas in the Brazilian Amazon.

So far, most conservation efforts have focused on working with indigenous communities, protected areas, and forest management. We want to work with private owners to conserve and restore private forests. To put this in perspective: there are 325 million hectares of standing forest in Brazil. 125 million ha are on public lands; 50 million ha are on conservation units; 50 million ha on indigenous lands; and 100 million are on private lands. That’s 30% of the Brazilian Amazon for which conservation efforts are falling short.

We are living in a time where what we want to do is finally possible: all rural properties in Brazil are being demarcated, georeferenced, and registered legally; satellite imaging has improved in quality and is updated regularly; and internet technologies and social media allow us to connect people across the globe in an unprecedented way. We will know who owns each hectare, its state of deforestation, and have the ability to share this information widely.

Our solutions are direct. We are here, in field, understanding local economic realities. This allows us to formulate and pioneer efficient and fair conservation strategies.

Our solutions are transparent. Everything we do is documented in close to real time.

Our solutions are accessible to everyone. We work directly with donors and landowners on our crowdfunding platform. Both stakeholders will mold every new solution we pilot. The pilots that work, we scale.

We have all played our part in driving the destruction of our planet’s forests, now it’s time to break formation.
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