“…The ground-breaking work being carried out by a group of volunteers on the island of Crete is making a significant difference to the plight of the endemic and native orchids of this small Mediterranean island and could be emulated by like-minded individuals in other areas of the globe. At a time when government funding is at an all-time low, maybe this is the way forward for conservation in a cash depleted world…”
If you have a love of wild flowers then do read the feature below that appears on the website of the Orchid Conservation Coalition (OCC)
text by Julia Jones and Dr. Rosemary John
photos by Paul Harcourt Davies, John Fielding, Julia Jones, Olle Meurling and Thomas Sampliner
Crete, the third largest of the Mediterranean islands has an important place in my development as a naturalist-cum-photographer-cum-writer for it was here in 1974 that I realised this was the rocky path upon which I wanted to launch myself. I fell in love with the island then and that love has not dimmed with the years since.
Crete has an incredible flora – orchid species in particular – but this is threatened by unbridled development and a lack of interest on the apart of the authorities in preserving and protecting.
A Triad of Cretan Tulips
Not all is doom and gloom for the dedicated work of a small but active group of individuals is helping redress the balance.
In an article by Julia Jones and Dr Rosemary John for the Orchid Conservation Coalition the wealth of the floral heritage is described and detailed with copious photographs… a large number of them mine, donated as a way of ‘doing something’ for a place that I love.
I discovered a personal link with one of the authors, artist Julia Jones for her son Matthew was one of my charges when I was a Housemaster at Denstone College, Staffs back in the 1980’s before launching into photography full-time. It is funny how things come full circle and it is great to have the chance to aid the work of a group of dedicated people doing great things on the ground.
In May of 2013 I shall be running a course on flowers, close-up and macro photography for Flowers of Crete (http://www.flowersofcrete.info/) at The Orthodox Academy of Crete at Kolymbari a residential centre that nestles on a rocky hillside above the village with spectacular views across the bay towards Hania and the White Mountains. Information will appear on the Flowers of Crete website in due course
This is a not-for-profit association that was formed in 2006 to raise awareness of the need for conservation on the Greek island of Crete. Since its foundation it has attracted members from around the world. Its Charter of Association can be found on the website.