The International League of Conservation Writers is a forum to bring writers together from around the world who are writing to promote wilderness, nature, conservation, or using other means to protect and restore the natural areas, habitats, animals, and plants of our planet. ILCW will present periodic writing awards to authors who excel in this field.

International League of Conservation Writers

Writing to inspire the love of nature and a passion for its protection.



Now — October 3, 2015

“Following Rivers” Photography Exhibit

By conservation photographer Alison M. Jones, director of No Water No Life® at the Beacon Institute Gallery, 199 Main Street, Beacon, NY 12508 USA.
More information.

September 10-17, 2015

Birding Trip to Portugal,
hosted by ILCW member and Urban Birder David Lindo (UK). David and João Jara, one of Portugal’s premier birders, will explore the Lisbon area, drift around the Alentejo Region and end up in the Algarve. Watch birds as diverse as Greater Flamingo to Red-necked Nightjar, Iberian Imperial Eagle to Azure-winged Magpies.
More information

September 21— 26, 2015

On the River of Discovery with Women
of Influence

Featuring guest Dr. Cheryl Crazy Bull.

On the Green River through Utah’s majestic canyons. All the comforts are included, and the women guides are fun, talented, professional and inspiring. And did we say they do all the cooking!

More information

October 818, 2015

View Pandas in China with
Pandas International

To learn more about and to view pandas around China, travel with Pandas International board member Kim Sheremeta.
More information

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Boyd Norton Named 2015 Recipient of
Ansel Adams Award

ILCW member Boyd Norton has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Sierra Club’s prestigious Ansel Adams Award. This award honors an individual who has made superlative use of still photography to further conservation causes over a lifetime.

Norton is the photographer and author of 16 books, ranging in topics from African elephants to mountain gorillas, and from Siberia’s Lake Baikal to the Serengeti ecosystem.

His most recent book, Serengeti: The Eternal Beginning, won high praise from Jane Goodall and NBC News correspondent Richard Engel, among many others. The book was a finalist in the 2012 annual Colorado Book Awards.

His newest book, Conservation Photography Handbook: The Art of Saving Our Planet One Photograph at a Time is due for publication in early 2016. He is at work on three more titles.

Norton’s photographs and articles have appeared in most major magazines, including Time, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Natural History, Outside, The New York Times, Audubon, and many others in North America and Europe.

Throughout his 50 years of photography, writing and environmental activism, he has played a key role in the establishment of several wilderness areas in the Rocky Mountain region, new national parks in Alaska, and in the designation of Siberia’s Lake Baikal as a World Heritage Site. He has testified before numerous U.S. Senate and House hearings on wilderness and national park legislation. In 1991 he met with Russia’s Foreign Minister in the Kremlin to lobby for the protection of Lake Baikal.

He is currently leading the battle to save the Serengeti ecosystem from proposed damaging developments. He has been documenting Serengeti for over 30 years, leading photo safaris and on book and magazine assignments.

Norton received an award in 1980 from the Environmental Protection Agency, presented by Robert Redford, for his "important, exciting environmental photography and writing."

He is a Charter Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, and a founder and Fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers. Norton has served on the Board of Trustees of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

In 2010 he was named “One of the 40 most influential nature photographers from around the globe” by Outdoor Photography Magazine in Great Britain.

Norton has lived in Colorado for 46 years. Prior to that he resided in Idaho where he was a nuclear physicist studying nuclear reactor safety for the Atomic Energy Commission. He once blew up a nuclear reactor – deliberately – the subject of one of his new books underway.

While in Idaho Norton led the battle to save Hells Canyon (deepest gorge in America) from a massive dam and preserved it as Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and Wilderness. He led the successful battle to stop a proposed open pit mine in the White Cloud Mountains. He drew boundaries and suggested legislation that led to the establishment of the Jedediah Smith Wilderness Area adjacent to Grand Teton National Park. He worked with other conservationists to establish the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area, one of the largest in the lower 48 states.

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ILCW member Stephen Leahy’s new book "YOUR WATER FOOTPRINT just won the Green Book Festival award in NYC for best science book.

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Poetry in Nature

The Rocky Mountain Land Library’s latest newsletter talks about two books that not only celebrate words and nature, but show examples of poetry inserted into nature. One The Language of Conservation sprang from a project conceived by the Poets House of New York City. In select cities across the country poetry installations were discreetly added to local zoos— all in the hopes of raising people’s awareness of the natural world. The other book is about a kindred project in England’s Pennine Mountains, where poet Simon Armitage was commissioned by the Ilkley Literary Festival to write six poems based on his Pennine walks. Simon didn’t realize it at the time, but that was the start of what would become the Stanza Stones Poetry Trail. Please click here to read the Rocky Mountain Land Library newsletter.

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Work to Start on Renovations for
Rocky Mountain Land Library

Jeff Lee, ILCW member and co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Land Library, has been building the collection with his wife Ann Martin for more than twenty years. Please see The New York Times story about their land library collection and soon to be realized planned research institution with artists’ studios, dormitories and dining hall: MORE

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Members Send Your News

If you have news, writings, video links, items that would be of interest to other ILCW members, send it to us for posting. Send to:



Nature’s Fortune:
How business and society thrive by investing
in nature

By ILCW Member Jonathan Adams

And Mark Tercek

2013, Basic Books
Hardcover and Paperback

Mark Tercek had some horribly awkward moments when he left Goldman Sachs to run the US environmental charity, The Nature Conservancy.

At one of his first big staff meetings, he committed a total eco no-no by drinking from a plastic water bottle. When he got to work the next day, his new colleagues had left him a batch of reusable Klean Kanteen bottles.

At about the same time, he went to a big event packed with luminaries in the environmental field and found himself face to face with Russell Train, founding director of the World Wildlife Fund in the US.

“Who are you?” Train asked. Tercek explained.

Train, clearly un­­impressed, fired back: “How did you get from Wall Street to become the head of TNC?” Tercek, already feeling well out of his league, fumbled for an answer.

To his credit, the former Goldman managing director tells both stories in this very readable book – co-authored with science writer Jonathan Adams – that in many ways is a long answer to the question of why anyone on Wall Street would be interested in green policy.

Tercek came to TNC because it embodies the idea that traditional hostilities between environmentalists and business can be overcome in a way that benefits both nature and annual profits.

This may sound unlikely. But he shows that a growing number of companies claim to recognize that protecting nature is good for their bottom lines in a world with worrying levels of resource scarcity.

Heavily water-dependent Coca-Cola, for instance, has vowed that by 2020 , it will return to communities as much water as it uses to make its beverages. Pepsi says it will put back more water than it uses.

Both had reason to act after events such the water shortages in the early 2000s in the Indian state of Kerala, where a Coke subsidiary had opened a bottling plant that local authorities eventually shut down.

“Kerala was heard around the world, a turning point in the effort of these companies to understand how much water they use, who else will be using the same supply, and how reliable that supply is,” Tercek writes.

There are other, more positive, examples. Staten Island, for instance, has saved tens of millions of dollars by preserving wetlands and creating waterways to manage its stormwater, rather than building expensive new “grey infrastructure” of pipes and drains.

Tercek admits there are limits to this kind of thinking. Global problems such as climate change clearly require government action, not just friendly corporations. And he concedes that the idea of business co-operating with green groups is not uniformly popular. Indeed, TNC itself is not always popular among other green bodies. Tremendously wealthy and generally conservative, its members are a far cry from the average Greenpeace eco-warrior.

In 2009, Greenpeace wrote a highly critical report on a TNC forestry protection project in Bolivia, backed by several big energy companies, that said benefits promised to locals had failed to materialize.

Tercek writes that this was good because it made people think about how to improve. But ultimately he wants environmental groups to work with rather than against companies. Once businesses see evidence of a “bottom-line pay-off” from investing in natural assets, they will change their practices to favour nature, he says.

It is so far unproven, despite the hundreds of sustainability reports issued by the world’s leading companies each year. But if accounting for natural capital ever does become conventional corporate wisdom, Tercek has a point; and in the meantime, his arguments are very much worth reading.

̶ Financial Times

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Environment vs Corporate Profits:
Sierra Club Releases Animated Short Video about Trans-Pacific Partnership


The Sierra Club has released an animated video that in 97 seconds explains what the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is and how it is favoring corporate profits over environmental health. TPP is a proposed trade deal with the US and 11 other Pacific Rim nations. It would allow multinational corporations to sue the US government in private trade courts over domestic laws, and would require the US Department of Energy to automatically approve all exports of natural gas to countries in the pact, which would dramatically increase fracking efforts across the US.

“In under two minutes, this video tells the truth about a trade deal that the U.S. Trade Representative is hiding from the public” said Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program. “Clean air, clean water and climate activists around the world can help bring this environmental disaster into the light of day by watching and sharing this video.”

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Threatened Species

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“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what
we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”
Mahatma Gandhi

We have sad news: man has determined that due to global warming, you are a threatened species…

And we have sad news:

So are you.

International League of Conservation Writers * 4690 Table Mountain Dr., Suite 100 * Golden, Colorado, USA 80403 * Phone: 303-277-1623 *
Content copyright 2014-2015. International League of Conservation Writers. All rights reserved



Four Past Ages, A Fifth Beginning

By ILCW member Justin Fenech (Malta)

Fire and poison was the kiss of birth.

The barren cradle of this Goldie-locks rock

Was the nursery rhyme that united

The first cells into symbiotic being.

Borne together for survival

Until death does us part.

How can the poets forget to sing

Of the devastation that bestowed life,

The pummeling behind symbiogenesis?

When was the soul bequethed?

There is no question more tinged with death.

To see the nature of that paradoxical soul

One must look into the earth's

Shifting pasts and times.

For what is a being but a living memory

Of ancient traumas and recent loves?

When the first green seas swam unto

The lifeless ground, seeking to reach

The sun's angelic touch

Before their rival clans could,

Was there a you and I

Waiting in the halls of fate?

Brave conquistadors, colonies of green cells,

Still wed to the chloroplasts regiments,

Left behind the darkness of the oceans

To the sound of the jester's trumpets in the sky,

Life was merely looking to its then and now

Never the morrow. To know the name

Of the morrow is to know of names.

What civil war of life and death

Was played out when the purified poison

Began to fill the starving earth,

Exhaled by the towering giants

Like Olympian towers with verdant fingers

And bodies like elephant's snouts.

How can you think you are the destination

Of life's long history

When your lungs are filled

With the left-over bile

Of hungry leaves devouring

The sun's spectrum of chemicals?

It was in the ridges of dark, long-dead oceans,

That the first children of photosynthesis

Those fractal breathers of left-overs

Began to arise. Cambria, O Cambria,

Yours is a national anthem

Known by the blood-cells

Of every living creature.

In the flight of the dragonfly

There are the claws Sanctacaris.

In the beauty of the octopus' eyes

There is the periscope of the trilobite.

In the twirling ape loudly brachiating

There is the grace of Pikaia.

A big bang in the dark,

Where the first secrets of light

Was revealed to a lucky few.

Shales with the imprints

Of life's first wild experiments,

From which all later branches

Descended and refined.

To stand atop of the modern Shales,

In the shadow of mountains like leviathans,

Is to stand atop the crucible

Of all that is within and without.

To spill your blood over the rocks

Of the Shales is to see cellular time-travel.

But where did the experiment go so awry?

The lottery of the earth

Seemed adamant to extinguish

Every last scent of fledgling life.

The mass extinctions, etched into

The stones that house your art,

Removed trilobites and dinosaurs

From the gene pool of eternity.

Survival never was so violent.

Death never was so dynamic.

History is malleable in hindsight

And it seems as if the life

Of the survivors sped up

Like an evolutionary speedboat

Into the waves of foaming selection.

And the shrews began to tower.

The rats began to take to the sky.

Those tree-climbers began to carve.

With the echo of dinosaur chirping

Still haunting the nocturnal heirs

Into their burrows, a new dawn was stirring.

In the placental womb all over the world,

An unprecedented age was over the horizon.

Man struggled through his African genesis,

Still a robot of symbiots,

An army of parasites and feeders

Driven by the social instinct

Perfected in ice-age tree-scapes.

The same stroke of undirected fortune

That wed cells to cells

That wed chloroplasts to plants

That gave the Cambrian its spine

And gave birds reptilian wings,

Gave man his forgetful culture.

A culture that is beyond life's control.

The first outcast from life's dynasty,

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