Why I do what I do
I am passionate about animals (both domestic and wild) and have used my photography and stories to share my passion. Every day I learn more about the plight of animals as well as about their victories. I am on a mission to share what I learn with others through various artistic channels so that together we can preserve the wild world for generations to come.
I can't remember a time in my life where I wasn't drawn to animals (well...complete transparency, I didn't and still don't like bugs or spiders very much and slimy fishes... but even though I was scared of them, I still cried whenever any of the older kids pulled the legs off the daddy long legs).
In pursuit of my love for wildlife, I started to volunteer at a wild animal sanctuary close to my home. During my years of volunteer work, I discovered the real tragedies of wild animals that are held in captivity. The more I learned about the plight of captive exotic animals, the more distressed I became.
A lot of the animals at the sanctuary came from tourist destinations, and I learned that life in captivity for most wildlife is not appealing; in many cases, it is just cruel and inhumane.
Roadside zoos, petting areas at tourist destinations, elephants painting or playing basketball, pictures with a python or a parrot, the list goes on and on. I, too, had thought such practices were cute. I have even participated in petting tiger cubs and sitting with wildlife for pictures until I learned the abuse and living conditions these captive animals had to endure.
I no longer participate in any such events and will tirelessly research any place calling itself a “sanctuary” to make sure the staff truly have the animal’s best interest at heart. I've learned through many conversations with other animal lover's that they also participate and still do because they didn't KNOW the truth behind the practices. As soon as I explained, they were horrified, and so now, it is my mission to share as much information as I can so others, like me, can only participate in things that ENHANCE the lives of animals and nature instead of hurt it.
Through everything I learned about exotic animals in captivity and what I was learning about the plight of animals in the wild, I became more determined to see animals in their natural habitat - where they belong, while they still had land to roam.
I made traveling to wildlife-rich areas a priority in my life and since 2015, I've been blessed to spend about 14 months witnessing the lives of these magnificent animals. I am happiest and truly living a rich life when in nature surrounded by animals.
Through my journeys, I've collected over 144,000 images/videos on my computer. (I am still culling through them.) I have vivid memories of almost every photograph on my computer – of the experience of being with that animal and have done my best to learn the stories of each individual as well as the species.
Wildlife Travel remains a big priority in my life today. Many times you will find me with my camera in hand, just watching the animals, enjoying the moment with all my 5 senses.
Many times I’ve cried tears of laughter and other times tears of sadness while I watched the lives of these magical creatures unfold before me.
When I am not traveling, I live in Northeast Illinois. (My dogs, pictured to the right, have all passed to the rainbow bridge)
To follow me on my travels or to learn as I learn: