Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation

The Power of Photography in Conservation

William Freund Photos

Photo by fStop Foundation

The fStop Foundation

The fStop Foundation consists of a small team, mostly volunteers, who use the power of photography and videography to create impactful content surrounding conservation and wildlife. Their mission is to create a positive effect on conservation by creating awareness through photography and videography. That is precisely what the Founder and President of fStop Foundation, William Freund set out to do. Born and raised in El Salvador, Freund says he was “exposed to conservation at a very early age.” Through his experiences with conservation as a young boy in El Salvador paired with his son and their shared passion for photography, it only made sense for Freund to continue his efforts here in Florida by forming the fStop Foundation.

Founder William Freund

Since its start in 2015, the fStop Foundation has created a network of over 180 remote cameras across the state of Florida. The cameras serve multiple purposes, one of which is creating content for educational and award-winning videos and films. Another is to help scientists and experts detect wildlife in a particular area. The fStop Foundation can also help experts better understand an area’s wildlife and human usage, which in turn helps influence decisions made about the land. Freund said about his camera network, “We monitor and use them, then we coordinate with amazing conservation partners like the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation, Department of Transportation, and Fish and Wildlife.”

The powerful and impactful work of the fStop Foundation has led them to new opportunities in conservation outside the state of Florida as well. Freund and his team have been working with the Yellowstone Cougar Project in Yellowstone National Park and also in South Africa to help with black rhino and pangolin conservation efforts. Yet Freund said,

“The more we work in places like Yellowstone the more I realize that the work we’re doing in Florida is at the forefront because of the urgency and overdevelopment that’s already happened here.”

“The Need for Connectivity”

Photo by fStop Foundation

You can’t talk about the fStop Foundation without talking about their extraordinary film work. The recent fStop Foundation film “The Need for Connectivity” follows the story of Florida panther FP224. The film takes a look at how growth throughout the state and increased vehicles negatively impact the wildlife here. Freund shared that he began seeing Florida panther FP224 on his camera traps, but it wasn’t until he learned of her unfortunate past with vehicles that he knew he had to share her story. Freund worked with the Department of Transportation to set cameras up at wildlife crossings. This film plays an important role in the understanding of how humans contribute to negative impacts facing wildlife in the state. By watching the film and learning more about these impacts, we can become more aware and make better decisions knowing that what we do affects our state and our wildlife. “The Need for Connectivity” got the recognition it deserved by winning numerous awards for its excellence. Freund shared “We were so proud and honored that the film was picked up by PBS and aired in seven stations across the state and viewed by over 30,000 households in Florida.”

Camera Trapping

Photo by fStop Foundation

Freund has worked with the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation by helping get content through things such as camera trapping. His skill in this area has led to much of his work being featured in many of the Corridor’s films and even in the National Photography Exhibit in D.C. Freund says the process of camera trapping is an interesting one. At times, Freund uses trail cameras such as the ones hunters use. Other times he uses more high-tech cameras that can capture better quality video and pictures such as DSLRs and Sony 4k cameras. Another interesting part of camera trapping that he noted is the different areas where he sets them. “The patchwork that makes up the Corridor is a patchwork of different types of land ownership,” said Freund. From ranches to backyards, protected wildlife management areas, and wildlife crossings, Freund has camera traps set up in many locations. Freund also must make the decisions of where to set up the cameras, which way they should face, and how high off the ground to place them. He makes these decisions by talking to scientists and experts and looking for things like tracts and animal droppings. Freund shared that the traps are not going to work out all the time

“but when you get that one perfect shot, it’s just magical”.

Learn More

The work of people like William Freund and organizations like the fStop Foundation is incredibly important and impactful to the fight for conserving and protecting Florida’s natural lands and wildlife. If you’d like to learn more about the fStop Foundation, William Freund, or would like to check out their work, check out the link below.

Avery Joens Storytelling Intern
Avery Joens is a senior in college at the University of Central Florida studying journalism. Her passion for storytelling and environmental reporting is what led her to the Florida Wildlife Corridor. She recently won a Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists award for environmental reporting on a story she did about the Indian River Lagoon. Avery is a Florida native whose love for her state grew through spending time at the beaches, springs, and FL Keys.
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