Nina Harfmann is passionate about the conservation of wildlife and habitat across the country, particularly in Ohio.
Harfmann is this year’s winner of the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp photography contest, which was unveiled in 2010 by the Ohio Division of Wildlife to generate funds to support wildlife diversity.
Proceeds from the sale of the Wildlife Legacy Stamp help support a range of wildlife diversity projects, including management of endangered and threatened wildlife species and their habitats, habitat restoration, land purchases and conservation easements, and development of educational products for students and wildlife enthusiasts.
At left, photographer, stamp designer
Harfmann, who is also a self-published author, will attend this year’s third annual Biggest Week in American Birding event May 4-13 at Maumee Bay Lodge and Conference Center. She will sign copies of her book, “Beside Little Pond,” on Saturday, May 12 at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) from 1-3 p.m. and at Magee Marsh from 9 a.m.-noon.
Harfmann’s wildlife stamp features a beautiful color photo of a spotted salamander she took last spring at a vernal pool – a temporary wetland that holds water in the springtime and is usually dry by mid-summer – on her 15-acre property in Pleasant Plain, Ohio, located between Columbus and Cincinnati.
“Spotted salamanders are only able to be found when they’re in migration in the spring,” Harfmann said. “I have two vernal pools on my property and they are a critical habitat for amphibian breeding. I have hundreds of these salamanders on the property, and they do tend to migrate all on one night. They migrate to a vernal pool to breed and lay eggs. They live underground and tend to be very hard to find, unless you find them when they’re up going into the pool. I found this one (salamander) last March.”
The Division of Wildlife announces the subject for its Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp in the fall.
“They give you a year to go out and try to find pictures, and they are submitted in August,” Harfmann said. “The competition is during the first week in September. Mine took first place, and I was excited and thrilled. Not so much because of the winning aspect, but because vernal pools and the animals that use them are very important to me and I knew this would make them more visible and would give people more talking points. I was happy to be a part of that process.”
Proceeds from the purchase of the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp raise money to conserve habitat. The stamp costs $15, and $14 of that goes straight into supporting the work of Ohio's Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife.
“The stamp gives those who use or appreciate these wild areas an opportunity to participate in keeping them wild for future generations,” Harfmann said. “Those of us who enjoy the same natural areas have never had a way to contribute conservation dollars. That’s how they came up with the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp. This is the third year, and it’s a stamp that is now becoming somewhat collectible.”
Kim Kaufman, executive director of the BSBO, said every birder should purchase an Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp.
“It’s a tiny investment that supports some of the world-class birding areas here in Ohio that the Division of Wildife maintains and makes accessible to birders and all wildlife enthusiasts,” Kaufman said. “Purchase your stamp and then come out and go birding with us and reap the benefits of the great things your contribution helps support.”
“Purchase of the Legacy Stamp provides opportunities for everyone who enjoys wildlife and wild places,” said Kendra Wecker, wildlife diversity coordinator for the Division of Wildlife. “A good example is proceeds from stamp sales will be used to provide habitat and wild places for birds to nest and rest during migration.”
Harfmann’s spotted salamander stamp debuted March 1 and will be available through Feb. 28, 2013. The Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp is available for purchase at the BSBO gift shop, located at the entrance to Magee Marsh, through the Observatory's website at www.bsbobird.org, and through a variety of other conservation organizations, including the ODNR website.
In its first year the Legacy Stamp portrayed a Baltimore Oriole, photographed by Russell Joseph Reynolds of Lima, Ohio. The 2011 stamp featured an Eastern Amberwing dragonfly, photographed by Sharon Cummings of Graytown.
The subject for next year's stamp is Chickadees. For more information about the contest, visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website at www.dnr.state.oh.us.
Harfmann’s book, “Beside Little Pond,” is a collection of photographs she took over the course of several years while she observed what she calls “my little pools” on her property.
“I captured what I think are the best images of a vernal pool throughout the season, so people will understand the different phases it goes through and how important it is to the animals that use it,” she said. “Even I, as a naturalist, did not recognize that Little Pond had value, and I almost had it bulldozed and filled in. That’s what happens to a lot of wetlands. People think they need to be filled or be drained. My purpose is to show people what to look for and help them realize what they have in their own yard. It’s all about wetlands conservation.”
Harfmann’s 80-page book contains 300 nature photos, and she made it available to the public in January.
“In terms of the response I’m getting, I’m getting a nice feeling from those people,” Harfmann said. “It’s showing them what I had hoped it would show them.”
The public can purchase the book online, through the BSBO or when she signs copies of the book at the Biggest Week in American Birding event in May.
Nina Harfmann’s Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp photo.
Nina Harfmann’s book, “Beside Little Pond.”