On a sunny morning in April, Henry Roof, a photographer who has spent the past five years documenting the effects of climate change on the wildlife he photographs, has arrived at the National Wildlife Refuge at the eastern edge of Yellowstone National Park.
It is a sunny day, and it’s early in the day.
He’s dressed in a green parkas and carrying a camera and a tripod, which he uses to capture the landscape, from a position that’s not very far from the refuge entrance.
Roof, who’s a veteran of the National Park Service, is a longtime photographer, having spent a decade working in wildlife management for the park, including in Yellowstone National Wildlife Preserve, where he spent several years as an employee.
He and his colleagues have been documenting the impacts of climate on wildlife in a series of reports that they call The Weather Forecast.
The Weather Reports are the work of three photographers who, in the words of one of them, “are just like me, we love animals, and we love the outdoors.”
Roof is one of the few people who have spent time at Yellowstone, and has been documenting its wildlife since 2009.
He is also a self-described “environmentalist.”
Roof’s work focuses on the impact of climate-related changes on wildlife, and how the species he is photographing is responding to changing conditions.
As part of his work, Roof has worked with wildlife managers to change their approaches to managing and managing the wildlife.
For example, in late 2015, he was involved in a collaboration with a federal wildlife conservation officer to help the agency establish a “climate change awareness” program.
Roof said the officer, who was stationed in the Grand Tetons, helped Roof understand the importance of climate management and how he can help his clients understand what’s happening to their wildlife.
“He just had an incredible vision of what climate change could do to our environment and our wildlife,” Roof said.
“I could tell he really believed in the impact it could have on our environment.
He was a little bit intimidated, but he was able to make me feel at ease.
I learned a lot.”
After working for several years with wildlife management, Roof began to realize that climate change has changed the lives of many of his clients.
“It’s changing how I view the world, the way I interact with people,” Roof explained.
“People are seeing things differently, they are not necessarily living in a ‘truce and peace’ mindset anymore.
They are looking at the world in a different way.
People are having to change the way they approach conservation.”
Roof, whose work is published in the journal Nature, said his work has helped him understand how climate change affects wildlife, but it’s also changed how he approaches conservation.
“We’ve changed the way we think about conservation, and that’s because we’ve been changing how we treat the wildlife,” he said.
As a result, he’s had to rethink how he conducts his work and how it relates to his career.
“Now, we’re all going to see that we have to change how we look at the environment, we have no choice,” he explained.
And it’s not just the animals.
He said the impact has also been felt in the communities where he works.
“When you go to a community and see that there are no parks left, you’re not going to feel any compassion for them,” he added.
“You’re going to say, ‘We’re not interested in that animal, we just don’t care about that animal.’
And I’m not even sure that they’re even aware of it, because they don’t really care about the animals.”
And that’s what drives him to continue to take a stand for the animals, to continue working with wildlife, to do more conservation work.
“All of us in the profession are trying to make a difference, but when we don’t do it, it’s like we’re a liability, like we have some kind of agenda that’s against the conservation community,” he noted.
“And it’s just not fair.
It’s not fair for wildlife, it doesn’t make any sense.”
This is a condensed version of an interview that aired on National Geographic’s Frontline.
The weather forecast is the work a team of National Geographic photographers, and a National Wildlife Reserve wildlife officer, are undertaking to understand how changing climate will impact the health of wildlife.
Follow the author: @gordonmacdonald