WHITEFIELD, Maine â€“ Thomas Mark Szelog and Lee Ann Szelog received a Restoration Leadership Award on December 7, 2011 in recognition of their Maine Woods National Park Photo-Documentation Project. Presented by the Massachusetts-based conservation group, RESTORE: The North Woods, the award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the protection and restoration of the natural world.
Since 2007 the Szelogs, a wildlife and natural landscape photography team, have been on a quest to photo-document the natural beauty, and wild denizens, of the 3.2 million acre proposed Maine Woods National Park, putting a face to Americaâ€™s next great national park. They established the Maine Woods National Park Photo-Documentation Project, which educates, inspires and motivates people through photographs and words to learn about this fragile ecosystem and support the creation of the park for the benefit of nature, wildlife, our planet, all mankind and America the beautiful.
The Project captures the splendor of the proposed Maine Woods National Park and its riches that deserve protection and is currently showcased through their website, www.mainewoodsnationalpark.com, and a multi-media presentation they conduct. They are also developing a book and traveling fine-art photography exhibit on this unique body of work.
The Szelogsâ€™ photographs and words chronicle a time and place that could easily be altered and forgotten by future generations. Nature provides the magnificence of life, which they are compelled to keep from being destroyed. They hope their work contributes to the protection of this ecosystem if only for the purpose of providing a peaceful home for their neighbors—the exquisite wildlife.
Jym St. Pierre, Director of the Maine office of RESTORE: The North Woods said the Szelogs earned the award â€śFor their quiet but profound commitment to protecting, as well as teaching us about, Maineâ€™s natural environment.â€ť
Upon accepting the award Tom said, â€śThe forest inspires us. In it we find peace. It is an honor to be recognized for sharing the beauty and denizens of the proposed Maine Woods National Park. The wildlife and landscape photographs we create provide an experience into the life and the home of a wilderness forest that we have the privilege of documenting.â€ť
Thomas Mark Szelog has been a lifelong advocate for the protection of wildlife and their habitat, observing, writing about, and photographing wildlife from the time he was a child. He has been a full-time professional photographer for 30 years, specializing in photographing wildlife, nature, and landscapes for the editorial, corporate and fine art markets. He has earned the reputation and is often described as â€śone of Maineâ€™s most renowned wildlife photographers,â€ť and is a recipient of the Philip Hyde Award, presented annually to a photographer who is working to preserve the condition of the natural environment through the art of photography. His life-long respect and admiration for wildlife guided him to his calling as a conservationist, using his gift as a photographer and visionary to help save whatâ€™s left of our natural world and its inhabitants in his own backyard of Maine. Lee Ann Szelog spent 28 years as a marketing and training executive. In 2008 she founded Simply Put, specializing in presentations and programs to help people live life rather than react to it by providing a refreshing focus on subjects including human relations, and wellness of our planet and ourselves. In 1987 Lee and Tom met when their mutual interest in lighthouses connected them. When they wed in 1989 they began their life together living in their dream home, a lighthouse on the Maine coast, which is documented in their multi-award-winning book, Our Point of View-Fourteen Years at a Maine Lighthouse, featuring Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde, Maine. Moving to their second dream home in 2002, a log cabin in the Maine woods, they created the book, By a Maine River â€“ A Year of Looking Closely, which explores the natural beauty found in their own backyard in Whitefield, Maine and inspires people to consider wildlife conservation, beginning in their own backyards. Both books are published by Down East Books.
Together, Tom and Lee Ann share the gifts of their words and photographs in narrated photography presentations and books to passionately educate and stimulate people to conserve, protect, honor and cherish wildlife.
Contact Name: Lee Szelog
Telephone Number: (207)549-5151