“Water is a global issue. Perhaps Africa personifies the issue and brings it to the fore in a more dramatic way, but (watershed degradation) is an issue everywhere.”
She is too early along in her work on the Columbia to have formed any opinions, and it isn’t her intention to sift through complex issues involved in watershed ecology and make pronouncements.
So far, she has been struck by the beauty of the Canadian segment of the river and particularly the ruggedness of the mountains and forests it flows through, sometimes painfully. Hiking up the steep, boggy slopes of the Interior’s wet belt with a full pack of photography equipment has thrown her back out.
While studying the impacts of industrialization, dam construction, and global warming on the Columbia and other waterways is the job of scientists, Jones wants to use her work to spread theirs beyond academic journals and government filing cabinets.
“Scientists do years of field work and research and produce a report, and nobody really looks at it,” said Jones, who is part of a group called the International League of Conservation Photographers.
“We are trying to use the science and use the community experience and data to broaden the debate through photography.”
With the help of two ecology professors and two graduate students at Columbia University, and various foundation grants, Jones has developed a website to publicize the project, and also spreads the message through exhibitions and lectures. Other materials under consideration, depending on funding, include classroom guides and a coffee-table book.
Photos from her Columbia trip should start being posted to the website (nowater-nolife.org) in the next few days, and Jones is already planning follow-up photo shoots to the Columbia Basin.