As an adventure photographer you develop a keen sense of curiosity to a degree that it becomes almost second nature, but it is still important to keep your eyes wide open and always be thinking outside the box. In the past few years that I have been living and working from my new home base in Tucson, Arizona I've found myself working on jobs that I would have never imagined a few years ago. Subjects as diverse as exploring wild jaguar habitat, tree reforestation in Mexico, hydro projects on the Upper Amazon, tourist development in the Grand Canyon and youth programs to develop green space on the Mexico Borderlands. To me all these stories share the same thread people engaging with nature in the outdoors.
When I was contacted to do a story for NPR about an organization in Tucson enabling U.N. refugees to gather food, called gleaning, from trees growing in public places and neighborhood yards around the city of Tucson and Phoenix you can bet I was interested. I had not heard of gleaning before this shoot, but on the day of the shoot I was to learn plenty. The most shocking revelation happened when I was given a tour of my local shopping center, the El Con Mall, there I was shown 40,000 pounds of quality dates hanging from the 90 or so decorative date palms scattered in the parking lot. I had visited the place many times, but had never thought to see the palms as a source of food. If the dates are not harvested soon they will simply rot on the trees. Here is a link to the NPR article.