Ducking In…

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) pollinating pink pentas (Pentas species); Florida, USA.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) pollinating pink pentas (Pentas species); Florida, USA.

I have to apologize for my absence lately…I’ve been doing photographs for Brevard Zoo, where I work my full-time job.  We have a program at the Zoo where we sell buttons with images of our animals on them, and the money goes to various conservation programs, many of them pertaining to the same species we exhibit.  Below is an example, taken with my 16-year-old helper at home 🙂

16-yr-old Finn helping with Conservation Buttons. Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

16-yr-old Finn helping with Conservation Buttons; LG G3. Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

We only had a few button designs that were used for years, so with the motivation of a new open market and the corroboration of our graphic designer, we set out to put as many of our exhibited animal species and conservation programs as possible on buttons!  It’s been a bigger project than I expected.

We rely heavily on volunteers, and one volunteer couple had been putting all the buttons together; unfortunately, one got sick, and the other was busy helping care for him, so button production came to a standstill, right as we were ready to roll out the new images.  I tracked down a button-maker, and started cranking these puppies out by hand.  The time-consuming part is the cutting!  I’ve been making buttons at home, on my own time, so my personal photo work was put on the back burner.

The buttons have been a huge hit!  Kids and adults alike love looking for new images that have appeared since their last visit; they have become a type of collectible!  They cost only $1 as a donation to the zoo, so they are very affordable for most anyone.  I don’t take a penny of the donation; it ALL goes back to the zoo and the work we do for wildlife and wild places.

Unknown insect on pink flower; Florida, USA.  Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

Unknown insect on pink flower; Florida, USA. Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

So it’s winding down for now.  We’ve hit our slow season at the zoo, and we have a small stockpile of buttons.  I can get back to doing my personal projects, but it’s so fulfilling watching people pick through a selection of images I made, trying to find the one they connect to the most, knowing every dollar goes to the greater good.  I have a few pieces of gear that I have come by in recent months, and now with the fall migration and autumn wildflowers beginning, it’s shaping up to be a very enjoyable season.  We even had cooler temperatures this morning!  So it begins again…

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