Preserving animal and plant species ensures the existence of native habitats and allows future generations to enjoy nature and its resources for years to come.
Dustin Angell, Archbold Biological Station environmental educator and conservation photographer, will display 20 large-format photos that highlight conservationists who are working to protect the wildlife and ecosystems of Florida, including biologists, land managers, artists and others during his “Florida Stewards” exhibit.
The free exhibit is at the Rinker Environmental Learning Center’s gallery at 230 E. Michigan Ave., DeLand. The building is adjacent to the Gillespie Museum on Stetson University’s campus.
The Archbold Biological Station is a biological research institute in Venus.
Guests will have a chance to learn more about the exhibit during a free opening-night reception and gallery talk by Mr. Angell at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16. The display runs through Friday, March 13.
"My goal is to put these photos to work and for viewers to feel inspired by the stewards in the photos as well as become more engaged in conservation themselves,” said Angell. “I also want viewers to seek first-hand knowledge of the environment, not just from scientific articles and lectures, but through experiences with the land.”
Angell, who has a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Alfred University, builds community relationships and interprets ecological research for audiences of all ages in his environmental educator role at the Archbold station, which is near the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area.
He began taking his camera to work to document educational outreach and ecological research after he moved to Venus from Syracuse, N.Y., seven years ago. Conservation photography became his passion and life purpose, which led to him participating in photography shows and creating a photo essay on Florida grasshopper sparrows that was published in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's spring 2017 issue of Living Bird Magazine.
He presented slides on his conservation photography during a successful Science Café at the Gillespie Museum in spring 2019 and has been invited back to exhibit his inspirational photographs.
Mr. Angell’s educational work has garnered him recognition and provided him with leadership roles, including serving as the past president of the League of Environmental Educators in Florida and is currently on the steering committee for the Lake Wales Ridge Ecosystem Working Group. He also was the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Educator Award from the Florida Chapter of the Wildlife Society.