by Beth Dimond, NRCM Public Affairs Coordinator
One of my favorite website features is our “My Maine This Week.” I like it both for the beautiful pictures that people who love Maine submit week after week, and because I really get to know some of our “regulars” who submit their photos several times a year. We decided to feature the work of some of these members by creating slideshows on our website of the photos they have sent in over the years.
The most recent of these slideshows is from a new member, Pam Wells of Old Town. Pam sent in a photo of a mink, and when I responded, she said she had lots of other wildlife photos that she would be happy to share with NRCM. Now, if you scroll down you can see Pam’s slideshow of amazing Maine wildlife. I spoke with Pam recently about her photography, her love of Maine, and why she and her husband chose to join NRCM this year. Here is part of our interview.
Beth: You recently joined NRCM as a member. What was it that made you decide that now was the time to join?
Pam: I am very concerned how Maine State government seems to be going with respect to preserving the environment. Our current administration “appears” to be lacking important information about how global climate change, the consequences of unregulated development and degradation of our natural resources, and what will happen if we lose sight of the long term health of the planet.
We currently own 1,100 acres of undeveloped, forested property, which is under development pressure. The preservation of forest resources is important to us. While we tried to maintain a middle-of-the-road attitude, with the current administration, it has been more difficult not become polarized. NRCM seems to be a good lobbying organization, and for this time and place, we believe strong lobbying is what is needed.
Beth: Tell us about your first experience as a photographer, would you?
Pam: Believe it or not, my first camera was a Polaroid Instamatic that my grandfather bought for me. I must have been about 10 years old, and the first picture I remember taking was of a snow sculpture I built of Snoopy on his dog house.
Beth: I’m a big fan of Snoopy! What got you interested in wildlife photography?
Pam: I have always been a person who has loved the outdoors. As a little kid, I would collect spiders and lay in fields staring at the sky. I was fortunate enough to have grandparents who also loved the Maine forest. I spent many hours fishing, picking wildflowers, and collecting lightening bugs with them. I also wanted to show others the amazing things that I observed in the wild: that unique moment that might never happen again. A camera seemed like a perfect solution.
Beth: It sure is, and you use it well. Do you have favorite Maine places you visit to find some of the wildlife you photograph?
Pam: I have gone to Monhegan several times during migration season (an incredible experience). The scenery of Maine can be breathtaking in itself, but the majority of my pictures take place not too far from my house in Old Town. My husband and I own a large tract of land in the Milford that abuts Sunkhaze Meadows, National Wildlife Refuge. I get a lot of my pictures in that area, but I also get them in my garden, in the little pond up the street, along my house foundation. That is the magic of wildlife. It’s everywhere if you look close enough.
Beth: Well, you’ve got a very special eye for it. Is there a species of Maine wildlife that you haven’t yet photographed that you would like to?
Pam: I would love to get a picture of a black bear and a bobcat. Together would be awesome. Separately will do just fine. I did get some photos of baby bears during a state bear den study, but I would rather get them wandering around the forest.
Beth: What are some ways you stay connected to NRCM’s work other than your new wildlife slideshow on our website?
Pam: My husband and I attended a “meet and greet session” in Orono where Lisa Pohlmann was introduced.
Beth: Thank you for attending. Member events are very important to us. What do you feel are some of the most important issues of concern related to Maine’s environment today?
Pam: Loss of habitat, unregulated manufacturing that creates dangerous chemical waste, lack of incentive for “big” small landowners like us.
Beth: Thank you for sharing with us, Pam!
Additional Information from Pam:
The most important thing about my photography is that it gives others an opportunity to appreciate the wild things that are around them; if they stop long enough to take a look. If I can take that picture that stops a person long enough to think about what they might do to save a butterfly or listen to the amazing song of a Winter Wren, then I have succeeded in being a great photographer. Lately, I have had several youth asking me to help them learn how to take pictures. What a gift! A chance to pass on my love of the wild.