REFUGE, America's Wildest Places, Exploring the National Wildlife Refuge System (REFUGE) is slated for formal release on October 27, 2020. REFUGE photography is by renowned photographer, author, educator, and filmmaker Ian Shive. As with Ian's prior books, films, and other mediums, REFUGE is a masterpiece and serves as a portal to explore our planet's intrinsic beauty.
REFUGE is a glimpse into the magnificence and sacred nature of the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS), one of the largest protected land and water networks in the world. The NWRS encompasses land and water ecosystems coast-to-coast within the continental United States (U.S.) as well as the Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, and U.S. territories.
An impressive series of essays augment Ian's images and showcase the book's importance and far-reaching impact. Additionally, REFUGE is an excellent resource with the 560+ refuges listed with those open to the public earmarked. Additionally, a two-page-spread map of refuge locations is included.
Many of the featured refuges are difficult, if not impossible, for the public to visit due to intricate travel requirements and/or NWRS restrictions. Thus, REFUGE is one of the few, if not the only, vehicles to travel vicariously through the expansive system of connected refuges. Though most are not contiguous, many refuges are connected by migratory bird routes, other natural phenomena, or simply via intention.
To comprehend the magnitude of REFUGE it is necessary to understand the significance of the NWRS and how it relates to national parks and monuments.
National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS)
Whereas the National Park Service (NPS) was founded to protect America's national wonders for human enjoyment, the NWRS was formed as a vehicle for wildlife conservation. Per the NWRS website:
Each refuge is established to serve a statutory purpose that targets the conservation of native species dependent on its lands and waters. All activities on those acres are reviewed for compatibility with this statutory purpose.
The NWRS is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS); depending on their location and purpose, some refuges are co-managed with other U.S. government entities.
A federal bureau within the Department of Interior, the NPS manages 421 individual units covering more than 85 million acres in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Congress designates national park status.
|Merced River beneath El Capitan in
Yosemite National Park
....to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.
The NPS welcomed 327.5 million recreational visitors in 2019, which represented a 2.9% (9 million visitors) increase over 2018.
Though similar to national parks, national monuments are created by presidential proclamations. While national parks protect their scenic, inspirational, education, and recreational value, national monuments are of historical, cultural, and/or scientific interest.
Depending on their location and object of interest, national monuments are managed by one of the following: the U.S. Forest Service, FWS, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA,) the Department of Defense, and the Bureau of Land Management. Monuments are generally smaller than national parks. The NPS manages 84 of the total nearly 130 national monuments.
* Information on national monuments was derived from the May 2019 Outside article, The Difference Between National Parks and Monuments, Size has something to do with it, but it is more about why the land is being preserved.
The world's largest network of protected land and water ecosystems has humble, yet important, beginnings. Pelican Island, a 5-acre site within the Indian River Lagoon on the east coast of Florida, was officially designated as a refuge in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt. Thus, the NWRS was formed.
|Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC,) established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and supported by Congress, was instrumental in creating the infrastructure in newly acquired refuge lands. Simultaneous with the CCC formation, the federal government purchased 8 million acres of mid-American land and distributed it within 257 wildlife refuges. Via the CCC, necessary infrastructure was built for functioning refuges. **
In 1940, the Department of Interior combined the Bureau of Biological Survey and the Bureau of Fisheries to create the FWS, the eventual NWRS custodian. Notably, Silent Spring author Rachel Carson was a FWS marine biologist and lead editor of the Conservation in Action newsletter.
The 1966 National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act formally established the NWRS.
By the passing of the 1973 Endangered Species Act, the NWRS was home to over 280 endangered or threatened species. Additionally, more than 50 national wildlife refuges were established to specifically protect and nurture endangered species.
In 1980, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILC) tripled the NWRS size by adding 54 million acres in Alaska; the ANILC established nine new refuges (including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge), expanded seven existing refuges, and designated numerous wilderness areas.
Between 2006 and 2009, President George W. Bush significantly enhanced the NWRS in the Pacific Ocean by protecting over 700 million acres of fragile marine ecosystems:
2006: the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument was established as part of the Refuge System in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. The deep water at the far end of Papahānaumokuākea is home to scores of species found nowhere else on Earth. Additionally, Papahānaumokuākea is a place of spiritual and cultural significance to the Hawaiian people. Management is shared between the FWS and NOAA.
Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is part of the larger
Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
- 2007: seven U.S. remote national wildlife refuges - Kingman Reef, Palmyra Atoll, Howland Island, Baker Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll and Wake Island - were designated as part of the NWRS via the newly established Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
- 2009: the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument was established as part of the NWRS in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The new monument supports some of the most unusual marine life on Earth.
- 2009: the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument in American Samoa was established as part of the NWRS. One of the smallest atolls in the world, the Rose Atoll supports dozens of species of rare birds as well as turtles, fish, and crabs. It is the only part of the NWRS south of the equator.
|John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, Philadelphia, PA
Photo: © 2014 Axel Brunst
* Information on the NWRC Historical Timeline page was instrumental to the NWRS article section with significant direct copy utilized.
** Information in this paragraph was derived from the FWS The CCC: A Brief History document.
After almost ten years in media and publicity at Sony Pictures Entertainment working on over 60 motion pictures including the Spider-Man franchise, Ian left the corporate world in 2007; Ian's photography career was already thriving. An amazing photographer who follows his inner calling, Ian built a well-earned reputation as the “leading chronicler of America's national parks."
As quoted by Scott Kirkwood, Editor in Chief, National Parks Magazine:
Few photographers can capture portraits, wildlife, landscapes, and those perfect little detail shots, but Ian does it all. When we need someone to visit a national park and create images that illustrate iconic places in new ways, we call Ian.
Ultimately, Ian's exceptional relationship with the National Parks expanded into opportunities with other prominent organizations and publications including: Outside, National Geographic, Sunset, Travel + Leisure, the New York Times, and many other well-known media outlets.
|Ian Shive, with his cinematography camera, in the
Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge,
Photo: Tandem Stills + Motion
For Ian, a personal driver is the responsibility to give back to the Earth; humans take so much from nature and it is important to gift back from the heart. As an educator, Ian's intentions are to inspire others to take individual and collective action to protect and restore the fragile land and marine ecosystems.
As well as "clicking" the talk, Ian lobbied Congress numerous times in his role as a conservationist. Additionally, Ian presented twice to capacity crowds at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Tandem Stills + Motion
An astute businessman, Ian utilized his innate creativity and talent to develop innovative business models; Ian's businesses are designed to support and invigorate photography, film. and other interactive media. Founded in 2009 by Ian, Tandem Stills + Motion evolved into a multi-faceted operation:
- Tandem Stills + Motion - a leading visual media company that provides premium photographs, film footage, and digital-asset management for the nature, outdoor-adventure, healthy-living, and travel industries.
- Tandem Film - full-service video and post-production arm, producing content that visually engages and brings clients’ visions to life.
- Tandem Vault - a cloud-based service for clients and companies seeking to house their assets in a modern environment.
Via a pitch to the Discovery Channel, Ian and his team organized logistics, filmed (on land & underwater,) and produced the Tiburones: The Sharks of Cuba, a first-ever Cuba adventure for SHARK WEEK.
|Shark tagging efforts in Cuba
an expedition in Cuba that unites American and Cuban scientists in an attempt to answer the question: do large sharks still exist in this relatively unexplored area of the world? Filmmaker Ian Shive and a team of shark researchers headed to Havana earlier this year in an attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding El Monstruo while simultaneously conducting a massive expedition to the north and south coasts of Cuba, including areas previously unexplored. Shive and his team for the first time ever satellite tag sharks in Cuba including a rare species of shark.
El Monstruo is a 21-foot great white shark caught off the Cuba coast 70 plus years ago. Photos of the captured shark keep the legendary shark within a factual, historical account.
The prior year (2014,) Tandem Stills + Motion produced a Nature Conservancy three-minute plus film Conserving Cuba's Coral Reefs that set the stage for Ian's pitch to the Discovery Channel
Later in 2015, the Sierra Club contracted with Tandem Film to produce The Land We Defend: A story of seven military veterans, strangers before connecting in the wilderness, an eight-minute plus film.
In 2016, Tandem Stills + Motion segued into cinema films with four-minute plus Rob Krar: Chasing the Distance, which explored the lives of husband and wife ultra-running team Rob Krar and Christina Bauer. Ian's stunning drone photography, along with stellar time-lapse sky clips, augmented the story as well as showcased the Grand Canyon landscape.
Battle of Midway: 75th Anniversary Commemoration Film
The 2017 Battle of Midway: 75th Anniversary Commemoration Film (Battle of Midway) produced by Tandem Stills + Motion in cooperation with the FWS honors the two fierce World War II (WWII) battles on the atoll. The second battle marked the turning point in the war, eventually leading to Japan's defeat. The film's release timed with the first battle's 75th anniversary.
|A Laysan albatross tending to her chick
serves as the Midway promo image.
Additionally, Ian and his team used superb editing skills to intertwine historic-film footage with current film clips, whether from the military-base ruins or the restoration of the atoll's wildlife refuge.
Inspired, Ian used the extensive motion clips and stills captured during the two-week Midway Atoll visit to create the 40-minute film Midway: Edge of Tomorrow (Midway.) Though the World War II significance is prominent, the film's prime focus is on the regeneration of the atoll's ecosystem; the Laysan albatross are stars of the film!
Midway photos are prominent in REFUGE and showcase the importance of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument's protected status.
Produced by Tandem Stills + Motion and directed by Ian, Hidden Pacific was distributed by Giant Screen Films in 44 cities in late 2019 | early 2020. Designed for IMAX theatres, Hidden Pacific is a cinema masterpiece especially when viewed on the big screen.
|Aerial view of Rose Atoll
As with Midway, the Palmyra Atoll has WWII history with remnants of the wartime occupation. Currently, Palmyra is home to 12 temporary residents, including volunteers on several-month tours, conducting research.
On the Rose Atoll, Ian and his team are the first photographers (and probably the only ever) permitted to make the extensive travels necessary to visit the pristine atoll, devoid of direct human activity. Thus, the stills and film captured are literally a global treasure.
In her The Making of a Refuge essay near the REFUGE closure, author Kate Siber emphasizes the physical stamina and intricate travel required to remote national monuments such as the Rose Atoll. Additionally, it is an arduous process to gain approval to access these areas:
Many of the refuges are so ecologically sensitive that they are closed to the public, or they are simply inaccessible by virtue of their isolation. To mitigate the risk of a medical emergency in these distant locales, Shive had to prove he was in good physical condition. He undertook a physical checkup, mental-health check, and tests for colorblindness, lung capacity, dive expertise, and lifeguard skills. He also took a course on aviation safety and secured certifications as an emergency first responder, CPR practitioner, and commercial-drone pilot. Before setting foot on one remote atoll in the Pacific Ocean, he had to decontaminate, freeze, and quarantine his clothing.
|Convict tang and bluefin trevally in a vibrant coral reef
at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge
Then in mid-film promotion the COVID-19 pandemic engulfed the globe; Hidden Pacific screenings were cancelled as theatres closed their doors and the film promotion went dormant.
Yet Hidden Pacific's storyline is timeless. Its imperative narrative will gain exceptional traction once the global community emerges from the pandemic cocoon; human figurative wings are in formation within the chrysalis; the wings are designed to regenerate the Earth and will carry Hidden Pacific's intentions and messages into a newfound reality. Thus, the timing is impeccable!
Nature in Focus
In January 2019 Ian's evolution continued at Discovery Channel's Nature in Focus where he moved from behind the camera to the front. As the Nature in Focus host, on-air talent, and executive producer, Ian transports viewers around the globe for short photography and education adventures within natural paradigms.
A Life of its Own
Though the images selected for inclusion span an eight-year period, REFUGE is the culmination of a lifetime devoted to photography, inner Truth, and living a chosen Soul Path. Though the selected images are exclusively from the NWRS, these images are courtesy of the reputation Ian developed more than a decade ago photographing the NPS.
Photos showcased in REFUGE are from around 50 refuges with 14 located in urban settings. Though many featured refuges are accessible to the public, the focus is on the wilder, harder-to-visit (or impossible) refuges in Alaska and the series of Pacific Ocean monuments.
Ian conceptualized REFUGE in January 2020 with an anticipated spring 2021 publishing. Yet REFUGE gained a life of its own and flowed through publication during a global pandemic six months ahead of schedule.
Making an Impact
Beyond sharing stunning captures of the Earth's remote, and often not so remote, pristine vistas, Ian intentions are to inspire individuals into action to conserve and restore the planet's precious resources.
An effective strategy: once the viewer falls in love, Ian slips in human-created scenarios impacting the vitality of the wildlife and corresponding ecosystem. Viewers are then inspired to take action.
Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis)
|Laysan albatross mate for life and perform intricate
mating/courting dances. Taken on the Midway Atoll
Wisdom, the oldest know living bird in the wild at 60+ years old, resides on Midway and continues raise chicks with her long-term mate.
In the Midway film Ian draws the viewer in with the Laysan courtship then continues with images of a parent warming an egg in a nest followed by a mother with her chick; the Layson mother and chick is a Midway promo photo. Once the viewer is in love, an image of a dead Laysan on the beach with a gut filled with plastic reveals the stark reality of the current plastic-pollution scenario.
Via ocean currents, tremendous plastic pollution is deposited on Midway's once pristine beaches. As parents skim the ocean surface for food, Laysan often collect more plastic than marine food. The collected plastic is then regurgitated to the chicks who often subsequently die of starvation.
|A dead Laysan albatross on the Midway
Atoll reveals a stomach full of plastic.
Initial intentions were not to make a film on plastic pollution yet the current situation was inescapable during filming. Ian expertly balanced the spectacular scenery along with military-base ruins with an interjection of the plastic-pollution scenario.
The Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC) published a series of blog posts on what Ian calls the "The Next Battle of Midway;" posts include stills and film clips from Midway. Thus, the PPC posts are an example of Ian's work making an impact related to the preservation and conservation of the Pacific atolls.
In the Family
|The "Big Man" Clarence Clemons with
"The Boss" Bruce Springsteen during
an East Street Band concert circa 1976
Photo: James Shive
When East Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons died in 2011, James' concert photo was featured on the Rolling Stones cover story Farewell to the Big Man as well as at a later private memorial service.
Beyond Bruce Springsteen, James vast catalogue includes nearly every major rock 'n roll star from the late 70's to mid 80's. Around 550 of James' photos are housed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Library & Archives in Cleveland, Ohio.
Growing up, Ian served as James' assistant on photo shoots and in the dark room. By this time, James shifted to architectural photography. Thus, Ian missed the thrill of assisting his father at live concerts.
Like son, like father: James is a generous being who gives back to his community. In 2012, along with 12 other high-profile photographers, James donated signed iconic prints for Photographers for Sandy Relief to aid those devastated by the hurricane.
The REFUGE publishing is impeccably timed with Ei's Nature Prevails platform launch. The existing Soil Health | Regenerative Agriculture and Water Use | Toxicity platforms complement and augment Nature Prevails.
|Nature Prevails: green plants rise from the remains
of the California Lake Fire. Photo: @IanShivePhoto
- Dynamic Balance & Nutrition Systems
- Necessity of Cover & Ability to Roam
Ian's profound commitment as a conservationist and educator are destined to make a tremendous impact with his past, current, and future timeless masterpieces. Ian's evolution from stills to motion to cinema to on-air persona expands his audience, reach, and potential influence.