Our newest Affiliated Artists are Rick and Jeree' Waller of Wild Destinations Photography and HeartWork Accessible Nature Photography LearnShops. Get to know the newest artists in the Alliance family in this Q&A!
Climate Science Alliance (Alliance): What originated your passions for art, and specifically, photography and watercolor?
Rick and Jeree' Waller (Wallers): Rick has been a passionate nature photographer for much of his life due to his love of wild life, plants, rocks, water and a desire to maintain beautiful and peaceful surroundings for everyone. Jeree’ loves photography for the same reasons, and started to paint after she retired as a way to express her enthusiasm for the colors, shapes, shades and movement of all that is natural.
Alliance: How has nature inspired you lately?
Wallers: Nature has inspired both of us, especially over the past two years, to start an accessible nature photography program so that all may enjoy the outdoors no matter what their age, economic situation, disability, hearing loss, emotional factors, or stamina level. HeartWork Accessible NaturePhotography LearnShops are held at National and State Parks and reserves across the United States and Canada, with our time and expertise in both disability rights and fine art photography donated in conjunction with non-profits and families.
Alliance: In what ways has climate change affected your lives, either personally or as a community?
Wallers: Climate change has affected us in several ways: We have enjoyed snorkeling for many years, and are sad to see that the number of fish and the vibrancy of the coral are diminishing. As long-time residents of the northern California foothills, we have noticed an increase in air pollution, as well as droughts leading to wild fires – the Camp Fire in November of 2018 came dangerously close to our daughter’s and her family and destroyed the homes of several friends.
Alliance: As part of your HeartWork program, you partner with non-profits and families to provide individualized, accessible outdoor photography workshops for children and adults who have disabilities and illnesses. Describe a favorite or memorable moment.
Wallers: We are honored to experience nature through the eyes of those who have different life experiences during our HeartWork Accessible NaturePhotography outings. Recently, we took a woman who had lost her home in Paradise, and two of her 1st Responders, on a photography outing to help them heal through the eye of their cameras. There were lots of tears and laughter as we shared experiences and coping mechanisms. They produced such moving and gorgeous photographs from the ashes and the blooming flowers! Another fond memory is of taking a group of youth with varied disabilities to photograph wild flowers along the Yuba River. They helped each other with mobility needs, spotted artistic photography framing and angles, and were so excited to share their photos with the group and their families. Most had not had an experience like this before.
Alliance: What advice would you give to a Climate Kid?
Wallers: Our advice to Climate Kids is to encourage their friends to include people with disabilities of all kinds, and their elderly relatives, to get out in nature with them at locations that are accessible and enjoyable. Design a photography day or a simple picnic, travel together to a National Park or preserve, or just take them for a drive to see the Fall colors.
Alliance: Anything else you would like our partners to know about you?
Wallers: Our HeartWork Program also has specific and very small group photography LearnShops for Veterans, 1st Responders, Victims of Crimes, and anyone who suffers from PTSD. If you or someone you know is interested in any aspect of our HeartWork program, please call (530) 575-4800 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in purchasing prints of our photographs or paintings, visit:
All photographs and paintings above are available as prints on the Wild Destinations Photography webpage here:
Learn more about the Affiliated Artists program here: