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Broad Channel naturalist opens photo exhibit at Resorts World’s Red World Art Gallery

Aug. 28, 2023 By Bill Parry

One of the borough’s foremost conservationists, Don Riepe, is currently exhibiting photos of his favorite subject at the Red Wall Art Gallery at Resorts World New York City.

The 83-year-old Broad Channel resident was the longtime manager of the National Park System’s Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and in 2003 he became the director of the Northeast Chapter of the Littoral Society where he coordinated the annual International Coastal Cleanup for the state of New York, initiated the derelict boat removal program known as Jamaica Bay Clean Sweep and spearheaded countless community-based marsh restoration efforts on his beloved Jamaica Bay.

“We do a documented cleanup every September. We’ve been doing that for 25 years and we coordinate all the beaches in New York state and then we send all the photos and information to Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C., in what is a growing movement,” Riepe told QNS. “We document the types of debris on our shorelines. Recently we contacted the folks at Resorts World and they joined us for a recent cleanup and one of the women there saw that I was a photographer and suggested that we do an exhibit to highlight our efforts.”

Resort World New York City announced his “Wildlife and Nature in New York City, 40 years of Photography by Don Riepe” exhibit is now on display at the Red Wall Art Gallery with many of the photos taken within the nearby marshlands of Jamaica Bay.

A new photo exhibit is on display at the Red Wall Art Gallery at Resorts World NYC highlighting conservation efforts at Jamaica Bay.Courtesy of RWNYC

“This awe-inspiring collection showcases a remarkable set of images that capture the hidden beauty of the city’s wildlife and natural landscapes that exist right here in our backyard,” said Michelle Stoddart, senior vice president of community development at Resorts World New York City. “We hope everyone comes to see these incredible works of art.”

A new photo exhibit is on display at the Red Wall Art Gallery at Resorts World NYC highlighting conservation efforts at Jamaica Bay.Courtesy of RWNYC

Riepe retired in 2021 and continues to hold the honorary title of Jamaica Bay Guardian on behalf of the Littoral Society due to his exceptional role in promoting the protection, conservation and understanding of the natural and cultural resources of the Jamaica Bay ecosystem. The decades-long effort by conservationists to restore Jamaica Bay to pristine condition has resulted in the return of marine life including seals, dolphins and even humpback whales that have been spotted regularly in the waters in recent years.

“Wildlife and Nature in New York City, 40 Years of Photography by Don Riepe” takes viewers on a unique journey, where they can experience the harmony between urban life and nature while viewing the remaining natural landscape of NYC. The exhibition utilizes an interactive augmented reality feature where visitors can scan a QR code and then the image, bringing the photos to life so they can immerse themselves in the breathtaking landscapes.

His photographs have been published in Scientific American, National Wildlife, Audubon, Defenders, Underwater Naturalist, Parade and The New York Times.

Broad Channel’s Don Riepe has spent decades spearheading conservation efforts along the marshlands of Jamaica Bay.Courtesy of Littoral Society

“So basically what visitors to the exhibit will see is just the beauty and joy of Jamaica Bay and some of the restoration work that’s gone on there over the years,” Riepe said. “We’ve got some of the Restoration Corps kids who do a lot of the clean ups, but mostly it’s the beauty of the bay, the wildlife, the scenery and I tried to throw in some artistic shots as well. It’s kind of an overview of the wildlife of Jamaica Bay that’s found right here in New York City.”

The exhibition will be on display until Sept. 8.

Resorts World New York City is located at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd. For more information, visit rwnewyork.com.

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