Sara Matasick

Florida Unseen

When most people think of Florida they think of beaches and Disney World, but there is so much more. While living in Central Florida, I have taken advantage of the access to diverse wildlife and landscapes that many overlook. These unique flora and fauna face the same troubles from habitat loss and invasive species that many species around the world face, and are directly tied to the fabric of Florida's landscape and history. It's time to see Florida unseen.

Kennedy Space Center

Florida likes to name its coasts: the Gulf Coast can also be known as Florida’s Nature Coast, and the Atlantic Coast is also called the Space Coast. The Kennedy Space Center, located on Merritt Island amidst a beautiful coastal wildlife refuge, has a long history of rocket launches. Aside from the extensive museum, visitors can also witness these rocket launches in person. Some of the following photos can be seen at the visitor’s launch complex, and represent a variety of rockets, missions, and collaborations between NASA, United Launch Alliance, and SpaceX.

Corvid Community

During my time as part of a research team studying Steller's jays in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California, I made sure to document the important stages of the research process. Many times wildlife research is out of the public view, and therefore people can't learn about it enough to care. 

The Redwood forests of California host unique and diverse flora and fauna. However, the way these species use their habitat can change when humans introduce new factors, such as food. This study, conducted by PhD candidate Elena West of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will hopefully shed light on the territory and foraging ecology of Steller's jays. With this information, researchers will be closer to knowing how humans have changed the way these birds use the forest, and if this change will ultimately affect other species, such as the endangered Marbled murrelet.

Hiba

Hiba is a young Danish woman living in Copenhagen, who recently became a dentist. Although she was born and raised in Denmark and considers herself Danish, the mostly homogenous society sees her as an immigrant. Her family is originally from Syria, and people often discriminate against her because they think she is too different - olive skinned, Muslim, wearing a head-scarf... Hiba has not allowed prejudices to hold her back, however, and makes it her personal mission to balance her two cultures by keeping an open mind and showing people what being Muslim really means. As part of a photojournalism course, I got to know Hiba and endeavored to capture Hiba's warm personality, intelligence and passions, showing that she is not so different at heart. We always have something in common.