As you may know, Rob and I are conservation photographers and climate change activists who have been life partners and collaborators for over 35 years. Because we believe the environment, climate change action and wildflowers may be important to you, we ask, during this giving time of year, that you help us further our dream – to continue to use art and the power of storytelling to inspire hope and action.
You may be familiar with Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change, our 12-time award-winning coffee table book and traveling, educational exhibit seen by over 50,000 people to date.
But what if you are visually impaired? What if you can’t experience nature’s beauty with your eyes?
Because we are so passionate about sharing and protecting nature’s beauty we found a way to help the visually impaired connect with the natural world through the spoken word – artfully painting a picture of our exquisite, intimate wildflower portraits, vast floral landscapes and their habitats with words and sounds of Nature. Our goal is to create a unique audiobook providing the opportunity for everyone to enjoy the beauty of nature, including those who cannot physically get out into the natural world or read English.
"Your descriptions of the photographs help me see the images in my mind's eye, and keep my connection to the beauty of the natural world." ~ Rochelle, our dear friend who is legally blind and suffers from Optic Atrophy
We will verbally paint a picture of the breathtaking flowers and floral landscapes, along with the environment where the plants were found. Recordings of different habitats by renown musician and soundscape ecologist, Bernie Kraus, will be used to enhance the listener’s experience.
We’ll describe how it felt to have an intimate connection with the wildflowers’ world, and share the emotions we experienced, from exhilaration to frustration, and the challenges we faced, from biting bugs to unpredictable weather.
Rob suffered from over 200 "no-see-um" bug bites while photographing wildflowers in Capital Reef National Park in Utah. No-see-ums are tiny and get into your clothes and ears, their bites are more severe than mosquito bites and they itched for two weeks.
The audiobook, Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change, will inspire hope and action and tell the wildflowers’ story to a much greater audience, in a way that has not been done before.
We have a sense of how much you love our physical book, so we trust you understand why we are so passionate about creating an audiobook version that we can share with more people.
We look forward to speaking with you and sharing more information about our dream. We hope you’ll act soon to support this important work by becoming a patron. Please make tax deductible donations through MarinLink.org, our project's sponsor.
See online and check donation tips below.
Thank you in advance for making our dream possible.
We also express our sincere gratitude to all who now, and throughout the year, generously support non-profit organizations working to create a healthier, more sustainable and happier planet.
Peace and joy,
Nita and Rob
P.S. We won't stop there. We also dream of creating a series of children's books.
For online donations: please enter "Beauty and the Beast" as the Active Project name at the top of the form.
For checks: payable to MarinLink. Make sure to add "Beauty and the Beast" to the memo field. Mail to: MarinLink
5800 Northgate Mall, Suite 250
San Rafael, CA 94903
How it all began
On a warm and windy spring day in 1992, I witnessed what was then a rare and spectacular wildflower display in the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, a state park in the western Mojave Desert. I was awestruck by what was before me. During twenty years of photographing the West’s dramatic iconic landscapes, I had never seen the desert so alive, shimmering with such an explosion of color and life. Experiencing such intense beauty was magnetic, intoxicating, and almost overpowering.
~ Rob Badger
Excerpt from Beauty and the Beast's Introduction
More than pretty pictures
This special book, co-published with the California Native Plant Society, is a true collaboration of many hearts and minds. Leading voices in the conservation movement contributed thoughtful personal short stories. Our authors include Jose Gonzales of Latino Outdoors, Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass, and Mary Ellen Hannibal, author of Citizen Science. Peter Raven of the Missouri Botanical Garden graciously wrote our Foreword.
Please tell a friend and help us spread the word.
Thank you for support! Thank you for caring!
Nita Winter and Rob Badger