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Friends of Pando

The Pando Photographic Survey

Creating a vital record of Pando for scientists to study and the world to enjoy for generations to come.

Documenting Pando

Since 2008, when Pando’s size was verified by researchers, the world’s largest tree has been the subject of countless headlines and stories that stir wonder, advance scientific debates, and capture the imagination of tree lovers and travelers from around the world. In fact, 300,000 people a year visit the land Pando calls home, not only to experience the tree, but also to enjoy Fish Lake, the largest natural mountain freshwater lake in Utah. Despite Pando’s outsized popularity, we lack a complete photographic record of the tree, a record scientists and land managers need to understand, track and monitor the tree’s health.

 

Since the 1860’s, photography has played a critical role helping scientists, the public and policy makers understand and protect the majesty of the American landscape. Although it may be hard to believe, scientists still use photos taken in the 1800’s and compare them images taken in our time to better understand change over time; a practice known as re-photography. In an era of satellites, artificial intelligence and GPS, re-photography may seem outdated, but it plays a vital role in forest management and conservation. By creating the first photographic inventory of Pando, our work will provide a baseline image which scientist and land managers can use  monitor changes for generations to come.

In Summer of 2021, Friends of Pando gathered a group of students and citizen scientists to embark on creation of the first color image of Pando’s entire 106-acre span using cutting-edge 360-degree cameras and global information systems. Work on the photo survey is ongoing and once complete, will be made freely available for scientists to study and the world to enjoy.

Sample Image of Pando in 360

Inspiring Stewardship

Creating the first photographic survey of the Pando involves not only logistical challenges, but collaboration and coordination. Bridging the realms of art and science, Friends of Pando has brought together a diverse group of people, skills and perspectives to realize this unique document; artists, scientist, community leaders, ecologists and foresters. Employing 23 students from natural sciences, art, film and design programs across the US, students who take part, also enjoy nightly workshops on everything from art and natural history, to forest science and night hikes. By providing students the chance to explore their creativity and their reasoning skills as they make history, participants earn valuable field experience from leading scientists and artists in their domains and we believe, take an accomplishment they will be proud to list as an achievement throughout their careers.    

Bringing Pando to the World

Today, we know immersive experiences with nature play a critical role in cultivating awareness and inspiring stewarship of our shared natural heritage. Despite this, Pando’s remote location, hectic terrain and sheer size create a variety of logistical and natural barriers to many who would like to study the tree or, simply experience it for themselves. The Pando Photographic Survey will not only create the first large scale image of the tree, but it will also be used to help scientists, educators and the world enjoy the tree through two additional programs.


The Pando Photographic Survey Website
A freely available website will host the results of the photographic survey. Featuring all 8,600  360-degree images that describe the tree, the website will host location data and tools allowing scientists, educators and the public to explore and study Pando wherever they are.

Pando: The World Tree Virtual Experience

How do you help people understand a tree that spans 106-acres? That is the question Lead Photographer and Director Lance Oditt is working to answer through the creation of Pando: The World Tree, a virtual land art installation which will allow people throughout the world to experience the tree using their mobile devices. Using footage, stills and audio captured between April of 2021 through September of 2022, this work will blend 360-degree film, still images and immersive soundscapes to provide a uniquely immersive experience with the tree that unfolds across the true scale of Pando.

The Pando Photographic Survey By the Numbers

Meet the Team

This project is an all-volunteer endeavor and would not be possible without the support of our many volunteers and partners. 

Lance Oditt, Lead Photographer

Lance Oditt, Lead Photographer

Lance Oditt is a fine art and documentary photographer based in Seattle, Washington. Lance is the Lead Photographer for the Pando Photographic Survey. In addition to this work, Lance has served as the Photographer-at-Large for the Western Aspen Alliance and Executive Director of Accessibility for Quiet Parks International. His work documenting the endangered Pando Tree has appeared in Digital Photographer, Professional Photographers of America, Discover Magazine, PBS Newshour, The New York Times, Topos Magazine and Nature. His photographic works have been shown at the Richfield Visitor's Center, Microsoft (Redmond, WA), the APA San Francisco's "Something Personal" exhibit (2018) and have been commended and shown online by the National Forest Foundation.

Ryan Thalman, Scientific Advisor

Ryan Thalman, Scientific Advisor

I'm Ryan Thalman, an Associate Professor at Snow College in Richfield, Utah teaching Chemistry, Geographic Information Systems, and Natural Resources. I enjoy teaching a highly field-based curriculum which lets students get practical experiences in a variety of Natural Resource related careers as well as experience in field work in areas such as forestry, range management, recreation, and land management.

J Brunner, Senior Photographer

J Brunner, Senior Photographer

I'm J Brunner. I was born in Hunter, Utah but I'm from lots of different places. I'm a photographer/print maker (photography is a process for me, not necessarily an avocation.) I currently reside in Seaview Washington, near Cape Disappointment. My hobbies are travel and the outdoors.

The entire scope of Pando excites me, both the science and the spirit of it. Responsible and pragmatic conservation is part of my career ethos. Interesting things about me.. My right eye is permanently focused at 12 inches... without glasses I see the world two dimensionally, like a painting or photograph, which may be why I chose the career I did.

In the fall of 2020 I decided to create a print collection focused on Pando, I was led by my research to contact Paul Rogers at the Western Aspen Alliance who was very helpful and put me in touch with Lance Odit, the WAA photographer at large. Lance was kind, candid, helpful, and extremely forthcoming with information on the geography, history, and challenges of making images of the clone. The collection would not be what it is without Lance's gracious help. I had the pleasure of meeting Lance when we were both in Salt Lake City, and he was kind enough to invite me to participate in the photographic survey, and I'm very excited to be a part of this project.

Janis Connell, Senior Photographer

Janis Connell, Senior Photographer

I'm Janis Connell and JanisCArtistry is my venue for sharing my fine art in photography and glass mosaics and fusing. After retiring from Corporate America in 2014, I have been remaking myself into an artist, photographer, and traveler. My husband and I bought an RV and have been seeing the US for over six years now. I cherish our US National Parks (and all our public lands) and I have a goal to visit all 62 of them and I'm over halfway there having visited 33 (our dog has been to 22 parks!). I love to experience nature via hiking, biking, and especially from my portable hammock!

I have learned over time that I can do things I never thought would be possible. Through determination and persistence, I've become a photographer, ridden my bike across Iowa (RAGBRAI), hiked the Grand Canyon several times, and summited Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. If you'd told me 20 years ago that these things were going to happen, I would have had a good belly laugh over it. But, they did happen and I'm here to tell you about these adventures through stories and photographs.

My current adventure is happening in Durango, CO, our new hometown. We arrived via RV here in April of 2020 in the midst of the pandemic and we are still here... We bought 36 acres just outside of town and we are building our dream home. I have been having a blast exploring SW Colorado and all the Four Corners area has to offer. I'm lucky to be living my dream. I can't wait to see what's next.

Hope Smith, Hospitality Coordinator

Hope Smith, Hospitality Coordinator

I’m Hope Smith and I'm volunteering for the Pando Photographic Survey helping with logistics and hospitality. I have a background in non-profit and worked for 13 years as an Executive Director at two health-related non-profits. I loved that my work made a difference in people’s lives and learned so much about how to bring people together and get things done. These days, I work in HR for a software engineering firm whose mission is a clean-powered planet.

I love the outdoors and was captivated by the idea preserving this snapshot of the entirety of the Pando for scientific research and future generations, as well as the idea of being part of something that has never been done before. I'm really looking forward to meeting all the amazing people who are volunteering and being part of creating a legacy that will help us better understand this amazing tree.

Michael Dalton, Production Assistant

Michael Dalton, Production Assistant

Hi! I am Michael Dalton and I am a student at the University of North Texas. I will be a sophomore in the fall and I'm from Dallas Texas which means the Pando Project will be a new experience in a new environment for me! I am currently studying marketing and in my free time I enjoy running, skating and spending time with my dogs. I love to explore and see new places, especially with other people, and I find adventure to be the most exciting thing in my life. I cannot wait to explore Fishlake National Forest and seeing the effects of our work for the Pando Tree.

Lindy Madden

Lindy Madden

Hello! My name is Lindy, and I’m thrilled to be a part of this project. I grew up in Venice, Utah, not far from this beautiful tree. I was raised by a father who was a surveyor, photographer, biologist, and nature enthusiast. He instilled in me a great love for all things natural and scientific. Since his passing in 2019, I’ve found great comfort doing the things he loved so much. Participating in this endeavor feels like the perfect way to pay homage to his memory.

I am a single mother to six incredible (and somewhat feral) children, both adopted and biological, an old dog, and a funny looking cat. We like to spend our time cooking together, finding lovely rocks and strange bugs, playing games, and snuggling to Netflix.

In an effort to better myself, and show my kids it’s never too late to find what you’re passionate about, I recently headed back to school. I’ll be starting my second year as a full time student at Snow College in the fall, ready and excited for all the opportunities that will afford me.

Andrew Russon

Andrew Russon

I'm Andrew Russon from Northern Utah. I'm currently enroll at Snow College studying natural resources. Also working for Snow College at natural resource technician for the summer of 2022. I'm also avid outdoorsman and enjoy exploring Utah and other states. I'm interested in the Pando Photographic project because pando is a unique living organism. Also the data/photography collected during this project will have great impact for research and historic for future generations. I'll give me a lot of expert for pursuing a future career in natural resources.

Corban Gibson

Corban Gibson

Hi, I’m Corban Gibson and I’m from Coalville, UT. I attended school at Snow College last year and have goal to eventually major in Natural Resources. I’m currently working for the school as a Natural Resource Technician. I enjoy being outdoors and participating in any outdoor activities especially, hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking. In my spare time I also enjoy participating in sports and other physically challenging activities. I’m looking forward to working on the Pando Project because of what can be learned and the experiences I’ll have.

Wilson Thorpe, Photographer

Wilson Thorpe, Photographer

Hi there, I’m Wilson! I am a 21 year old graphic design student entering my senior year at SUNY Fredonia in upstate New York.

Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved finding new ways to express myself through my art. I love to spend my free time creating new art projects and taking photographs of nature and my friends. My hometown is Cold Spring, New York, a beautiful small town right on the Hudson River. The photography opportunities are endless in a beautiful place like the Hudson Valley, and I try to take pictures of the changing scenery as often as I can.

I am really looking forward to becoming a part of the Pando Photographic Survey team and can’t wait to experience the beauty of the forest firsthand.

Lena Lindsay, Photographer

Lena Lindsay, Photographer

I am Lena Lindsay and I am from Sandy, Utah. I am currently working as a swim teacher and English tutor, and I am a sophomore at Brigham Young University studying Education. In my spare time I enjoy all sports, spending time with good people in the great outdoors, photography, floral design, and learning new things. I’m looking forward to participating in the Pando Photographic Survey and I am excited to experience something new with new people who have a lot of common interests with me. I love photography and documenting the world around us, I adore nature and camping and the planet that we live on, and I love learning new things.

Ngawang Salaka, Photographer

Ngawang Salaka, Photographer

Hey! I'm Ngawang Salaka, currently a B.A. Visual Arts & New Media/psychology at SUNY Fredonia as well as an aspiring interaction designer. The thing that gets me excited about the Pando Photographic Survey is being able to contribute to a project that revolves around the world's heaviest known organism. Even as I'm typing this, the thought of that fact alone quite blows my mind. I'm excited to contribute this summer through more than just design thinking and hopefully make history by helping with this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Kaci Anderton, Photographer

Kaci Anderton, Photographer

My name is Kaci Anderton and I am from Monroe, Utah. I am currently working as a parks maintenance worker at Monroe City but I am also a Certified Nurses Aid. I am just starting my sophomore year at Snow College and plan to major in nursing.

In my spare time I love to go camping, fishing, and dirt bike riding. Any chance I get, I spend time outdoors. I love Fishlake and all it has to offer and I love to travel!
The thing that gets me excited about the Pando Photographic Survey is the chance to work in the mountains all week and be part of making history with my family who are also volunteering!

Tiesha Smith, Photographer

Tiesha Smith, Photographer

My name is Tiesha Smith and I’m very outgoing, loud and proud. I am employed by Hyrum Smith's Wood, where we harvest trees for firewood. In my spare time, I like to spend time with my friends and family riding four wheelers or sitting by the campfire exchanging stories. I also love working with cattle. I’ve lived in Sigurd, Utah my whole life. I may be a small-town girl, but that has never stopped me. I started my education at Snow College, Richfield last fall.

The Pando Photographic Survey caught my eye, because it seemed like a good way to learn and experience different things.

Kaylee Carlson, Photographer

Kaylee Carlson, Photographer

I am Kaylee A Carlson from Salina, Utah. I currently work at Petal Lane in Richfield, Utah, where we do picture framing and laser images. I go to Richfield high where I will be a senior next year and plan on graduating
early. For my career, I am looking into going into something in the medical field. I have passed the EMT class and plan on taking the national exam to become certified. I am also interested in doing floriculture and photography. In my spare time I go fishing, play with my dog, and hang out with friends and family. I play soccer in school and out of school whenever I can!

I’m excited to be participating in the Pando Photographic Survey and am looking forward to learning more about photography and about the amazing trees we will be photographing. Thank you for the chance of being part of this great experience!

Carson Utley, Photographer

Carson Utley, Photographer

Hi, I am Carson Utley from Richfield, Utah. I am currently working a part-time job at Papa Murphy's where my boss says I am one of his most reliable employees. I help out as a cashier, as well as cleaning the store and preparing pizzas and other food. In my spare time, I enjoy physical activities such as running and have been on the Richfield High Cross-Country team for the past three years. Running on a team has taught me a lot about teamwork.

I am currently a Senior at Richfield High School and I’m also taking concurrent enrollment classes through Snow College, including a Natural Resources class taught by Ryan Thalman, who told me about the Pando Photographic Survey. It sounded interesting, so I decided to take part. The thing that gets me most excited about the Survey is the opportunity to be a part of a historic project and learn more about different occupations in the field.

Kyden Saner, Photographer

Kyden Saner, Photographer

My name is Kyden Saner, I'm from Nephi Utah. I'm going to school at Snow college and will be majoring in Natural Resources. During the summer I'm working under the college as a natural resource field technician. In my spare time I love fishing, watching movies, and hanging out with friends. I'm excited about the Pando Photographic Survey because I think it will turn out great and I can't wait to see the finished product!

Brady Gordon, Photographer

Brady Gordon, Photographer

My name is Brady and I am becoming a certified EMT and I am already a certified EMR. I am from Richfield and really enjoy the Fishlake National Forest. I will be attending Snow College and getting my Associates in Natural Resources. I'm really excited to be taking part in the survey and look forward to learning more about the Pando.

Nathan Lindsay, Technology Integrator

Nathan Lindsay, Technology Integrator

I am Nathan Lindsay from Sandy, Utah. I'm a Digital Cinema major at Utah Valley University (UVU) finishing up my last semester for my bachelors. I enjoy video editing and all things digital video. In my spare time I enjoy watching movies and building computers. I am excited to help with the Pando Photographic survey because I am interested in learning about 360-degree cameras, and the digital systems that will be included to edit and house the photos in post.

John Shattuck, Photographer

John Shattuck, Photographer

John Shattuck grew up in San Francisco and has lived for many years in Tucson, Arizona. Since black-and-white darkroom days, he has been a landscape and travel photographer who loves getting out in nature. Whether in the high sierras or and a tropical island, his insatiable curiosity made him a natural for the Pando Survey. For years he developed and ran a supportive housing facility in Phoenix and as travel begins to reopen, he conducts National Park and other tours in the southwest and California.

April Anderton, Photographer

April Anderton, Photographer

I have been a registered nurse for 25 years. I am currently an Assistant Professor at Snow College for the nursing program! I love being outdoors and I love the Fishlake area. The Pando amazes me. I also love photography. I am so excited to volunteer for the Pando project.

JD Anderton, Photography Assistant

JD Anderton, Photography Assistant

I am a 13 year old eighth grader at South Sevier Middle School. I love everything outdoors. Hunting camping fishing and mostly riding my dirt bike. I am excited to volunteer for the Pando project with my Mom. I love Fishlake.

Made Possible via the Support of

Snow College’s Resources Program  is a field-based program that works closely with local  companies to give students real world experience through projects, trainings, and certification in the different types of natural resources. Snow College is the formal fiscal sponsor for the Pando Photographic Survey and community education partner to Friends of Pando. Working with Snow, Friends of Pando provides natural science students with research and field experience on one-of- kind projects. 

Lensrental is the largest online rental provider for photography, videography, lighting equipment and accessories in the United States shipping gear to all 50 states providing in-person pick ups and deliveries where professional work.

As a a Friends of Pando partner, Lensrentals provides deep discounts on hard to find shooting rigs, logictical and planning support for Friends of Pando work documenting the Pando tree. 

 

EJF Philanthropies provides support to nonprofit organizations working to solve important challenges, by addressing underlying systemic causes and allocating resources to have a multiplier effect. EJF Philanthropies provides generous grants to hire citizen scientists, fund programming and assist Friends of Pando as we develop our capacity to educate the public, support research and inspire stewardship.

© 2022  | Design : Hope Smith  &  Lance Oditt