Author, wildlife enthusiast, nature photographer and videographer, Dudley Edmondson was the first to highlight the involvement of African Americans in the public lands system. Chagrined at the paucity of people who looked like him among those he encountered in his outdoor pursuits, Dudley wrote the landmark book, Black & Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places (2006) featuring luminaries in the environmental and outdoor recreation fields. He used his skills as a photographer to secure the images included, and took pains to create an accompanying volume suited to a young audience.
Dudley came to his life’s work naturally. Growing up in Columbus, Oh, he looked forward to bi-weekly family picnics that allowed him to explore his world. His fascination with nature and his artistic temperament combined to produce a wildlife enthusiast driven to recreate his sightings in the outdoors through art and photography. His photography has been featured in galleries and nearly 100 publications around the world.
Eager to share the richness of the outdoors with all Americans, and particularly Americans of African descent, Dudley has been immersed in the effort to help the conservation sector become more inclusive. He inspires with his life and is the perfect role model for the outdoors lifestyle, as he is a birder who climbs mountains as effortless as stroking his kayak through the Everglades wilderness. He is a luminary in the movement to make birding and bird conservation a more inclusive activity, and has presented at each of the annual conferences on Diversity in Birding.
His latest publication What’s That Flower? is a field guide to the common wildflowers of the Eastern U.S from DK Books. Dudley’s inspirational effect can be gathered from the fact that in 2008 The Wilderness Society honored him with a Faces in Conservation Award for his wildlife photography. In 2010 the Seattle YMCA established The Dudley Edmondson Fellowship in Youth Development and Education in his honor, offering youth of color 15 months of paid study to learn leadership and life skills,’ and in 2012 the Secretary of the Interior named him a Federal Migratory Birding Hunting and Conservation Duck Stamp Judge. This once in a lifetime honor is the only art competition sponsored by the U.S Government.