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Turtles and Sparrows

United States

Lauren Owens Lambert

Published May 2024


Water temperatures plummet in November in Cape Cod Bay. Kemp’s ridleys, the most endangered sea turtle in the world, wash up, cold-stunned, onto the inside edge of the hook-shaped Cape. The phenomenon is the largest recurring sea turtle stranding event in the world but such strandings are increasing due to climate change and successful conservation work in their nesting beaches in Mexico and Texas.


The saltmarsh sparrow is the only bird species that breeds exclusively in the saltmarshes of the Northeast U.S. Found nowhere else on earth, they could soon face extinction due to rising seas from climate change. More than four out of every five saltmarsh sparrows have disappeared in the last three decades, with an estimated population decline of 87 percent. Now, a 200-kilometer-long hybrid zone exists in New Hampshire and Maine between the saltmarsh sparrow and the Nelson's sparrow. Depending on what traits the saltmarsh sparrow picks up, it could help future generations adapt to climate change. The sparrow is currently under consideration for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, with a decision expected in September 2024.

Lauren Owens Lambert

Lauren Owens Lambert’s work has a creative focus on documenting the human aspect of conservation, climate change, and our relationship with the natural world during the age of the Anthropocene. In her work, she places people as part of natural cycles, a perspective that is sometimes lost in contemporary society. Her work has been published in National Geographic, Audubon Magazine, BioGraphic, Smithsonian Magazine, and National Wildlife Magazine. She freelances with news organizations such as Agence France-Presse and Reuters. She is an Associate Fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers and a contributing photographer with Everyday Extinction and Everyday Climate Change. Lauren has shown in exhibitions at Photoville and has presented work at the United Nations on the importance of visual storytelling with ocean science and data communication.

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