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Behind the Camera Lens: An interview with Aaron Echols

You may have noticed Aaron’s stunning photography on our social media and website. We have a great deal of respect for his work and sat down for an interview to learn more on his background and love for the Channel Islands.

First car: 94 sentra

Favorite island: San Miguel

Person I admire: Steve Junak

If I was an animal, I’d be a: I consider humans animals and, for better or worse, we’ve dominated the planet so I’d probably continue to be human. Horrible answer; I know…

A little more about Aaron: I worked and still work for Channel Islands Restoration, a great non-profit organization that does ecological work on all 8 channel islands. I became their Anacapa technician in 2012 where I worked with the National Park to fulfill their initiative to eradicate a horribly invasive species of iceplant (Malephora crocea) by 2016. A great majority of the success of the project is owed to volunteers, individuals, school groups, and corporate groups who came to Anacapa to assist in the effort. Areas once dominated by iceplant were re-planted by volunteers with plants sowed and grown in the island nursery. I must have led over 100 volunteer days during my time on Anacapa.

I developed an interest in plants and wildlife in college which naturally lead me into the outdoors. Carrying a camera around seemed like a good way of documenting different plants that I could look up in my books afterward. I eventually started taking photos of the landscapes that that I found my plants in and the new locations I found myself in. I was actually initially attracted to the Channel Islands because of the large number rare endemic plants that they haven. I just happened to come across the CIR job opening while in search of a plant checklist. I fell in love with not only the unique natural history of the islands, but the vast recreational opportunities; unmatched kayaking, diving, and hiking.

As far as other hobbies go, I play and study chess, skateboard, read, backpack, and dabble in rock climbing. I let my passion for plants and botany drive my explorations from the Mojave desert to the Sierra Nevada to the North Coast. I rarely consider travel outside of California only because I feel like the state has so much to offer. It feels as though I’ve explored all of it and none of it simultaneously. I am currently trying to climb all the emblem peaks of the Sierra Nevada.

Check out more of Aaron’s photography here.

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