Melissa Groo is a wildlife photographer, writer, conservationist, and ethicist with a passion for educating people about the marvels of the natural world. She believes that photography can be both fine art and a powerful vehicle for storytelling, and considers herself a “wildlife biographer” as much as a wildlife photographer. It is her mission to raise awareness and change minds about not only the extrinsic beauty of animals, but also their intrinsic worth.
Melissa writes a bimonthly column on wildlife photography for Outdoor Photographer magazine, and is a contributing editor to Audubon magazine. She is an Associate Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers.
Melissa is passionate about ethics in wildlife photography. She advises the National Audubon Society on photography content and ethics, and created their Guide to Ethical Bird Photography with Kenn Kaufman. She has also advised National Wildlife Magazine and NANPA (North American Nature Photography) on guidelines for ethical wildlife photography. She is Chair of NANPA’s Ethics Committee. You can read more about her thoughts on ethics in this Outdoor Photographer article here.
In 2017, Melissa was awarded the Katie O'Brien Lifetime Achievement Award by Audubon Connecticut, for demonstrating exceptional leadership and commitment to the conservation of birds, other wildlife, and their habitats. She also received the NANPA 2017 Vision Award, given to a photographer every two years in recognition of early career excellence, vision and inspiration to others in nature photography, conservation and education.
Melissa worked for years at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, on elephant communication in the Bioacoustics Research Program. She was a research assistant for scientist Katy Payne on The Elephant Listening Project, and spent field seasons in the rainforest of central Africa studying forest elephants in the wild, where she learned to listen deeply and watch closely.
Her photographs and articles have been published in Smithsonian, Audubon, Outdoor Photographer, Birdwatching, National Wildlife, Living Bird, Natural History, Montana Outdoors, and New York State Conservationist. A recent magazine assignment for Audubon on American flamingos took her to Great Inagua in the Bahamas (forthcoming). She has traveled several times on assignment for Smithsonian magazine to photograph endangered Rothschild's Giraffes in Uganda, Spirit Bears in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest, and the spring migration of Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska.
Melissa has received awards and honorable mentions in national and international photography competitions, including Audubon (Grand Prize winner 2015), Nature’s Best, NANPA (North American Nature Photography Association), and Birds as Art. She shows regularly and her fine art prints are in personal and corporate collections. Her photographs have been exhibited in numerous private galleries and a number of public venues, including the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Contact Melissa at email@example.com for speaking engagements, photography and/or writing assignments, and licensing and sales of her images. She is also available as a consultant on ethics in wildlife photography. She has extensive experience as a teacher, speaker, and writer, and a Master’s degree in Education from Stanford University.