Tangible Nature

Visitors observing oyster frames
Participants in the "I Love My Park Day, May 2019"  observing frames of growing oysters from the "Billion Oyster Project" started by the New York Harbor School.

Dean Moses

Dean Moses - Tangible Nature

Dean Moses is an author, award-winning photographer, and freelance journalist. His photography has appeared in numerous New York - based newspapers, including AM New York, the New York Amsterdam News, Spring Creek Sun, Ridgewood Times, Lefrak City Courier, Queens Courier, and Canarsie Courier. He received a photography award from Sing Tao Daily, and in 2019, his photos were featured in the Stonecoast Review from the University of Maine. In addition to his photography work, he has had a variety of fiction published, including his novella, "A Stalled Ox". Despite being born in the United Kingdom, he now considers himself a proud New Yorker where he resides with his wife and four cats.

Tangible Nature

Many of us have a special relationship with nature and the National Park Service (NPS). We champion their existence from a keyboard and screen, yet many have never experienced their trails, shores, or historic structures. This exhibit explores the relationship and rapport humans can have with nature. More than a walk on the trail or a rest beside the water; nature is tangible, we can not only touch it, but we in turn can be touched by it.

During I Love My Park Day in May of 2019, hosted by Jamaica Bay - Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC) and Assemblywoman Jaime Williams, volunteers scoured the beach at the Canarsie Pier on Jamaica Bay, gathering all kinds of debris. Male and female, young and old, all participated in the cleanup to fill jumbo-sized garbage bags despite the steady rain. Some knelt removing trash with gloved hands shown in an image of Assemblywoman Jaime Williams displaying a glove now frayed and covered with dirt and grime—nature touched and saved.

Clean shores provide fun, free and many recreational and educational events. At the Jamaica Bay Festival, part of the City of Water Day, a group learned how to kayak and sail, providing a new tangible experience of nature. The Jamaica Bay Festival was sponsored by JBRPC, American Littoral Society, NY/NJ Hudson -& Estuary Program, Hudson River Foundation and Waterfront Alliance.

The Sebago Canoe Club presented a learning experience: Participants changed into waders and long-sleeved rubber gloves to wade into the Jamaica Bay shallows to retrieve oyster breeding cages. These underwater frames, called cultches, hold beautiful, growing oysters. Another image shows a diverse group of individuals coming together to learn about other aquatic lifeforms.

In addition to the scheduled programs for water activity offered, there is plenty to be found while exploring alone. Enjoy the mystery of tangible nature in these places by discovering little moments that are special. For example, bones just washed ashore, the sighting of a handmade offering and shrine, and footprints on the sand, provide a haunting essence.

It is our hope that these images can serve as inspiration to accomplish more than just advocating for the park’s nature from our keyboards, perhaps we can do it with soiled, grimy gloved hands, or maybe through a camera lens. Nature is tangible, we can not only touch it, but we in turn can be touched by it. --Dean Moses, April, 2020

And here is a link to Dean's video describing his work.



Several exhibits that were shown at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center are now on our photo gallery page.

Last updated: May 20, 2020

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