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  • Bruce Moreton

Heart Spirit - The Next Ansel Adams?

Updated: Feb 24

Last spring not long after I had sent out the spring edition of the Night Eagle News, I received a surprise email from Heart Spirit, a Night Eagle camper from 2016-18. I met Heart Spirit (Soren Goldsmith) when his parents brought him to Night Eagle for the first time in 2016. As luck would have it, he had been assigned to my tipi.

Anyway, he was writing to say, “It’s been a few years since I’ve been back at Night Eagle. It’s hard to believe how much I’ve grown from the person I was back then. I took up a passion for  wildlife photography and conservation, and I’ll be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a freshman in the fall.”

Then he told me, “Night Eagle had a profound impact on my life, and I think back on the lessons I learned there almost every day. The teachings of the Lakota still resonate with me in everything I do.”

I am humbled any time I hear from parents, former campers, and staff, and they tell me how important Night Eagle has been in their lives. That camp can have such an important role in shaping a boy’s life is gratifying beyond words. 

I’ve seen some of Heart Spirit’s photos on Instagram, and I think he has become an amazing photographer.  Apparently National Geographic thinks so too.

Last winter the magazine ran a competition called the “Slingshot Challenge,” a video contest where young people, ages 13-18, could share their solutions to environmental problems in the form of a one-minute video. 

Heart Spirit, whose mission is to protect threatened ecosystems by merging engineering skills and photographic storytelling and to help people connect with nature, decided to enter the contest and put together a video about how he was using motion-activated cameras and wildlife photography to protect a forest in his town (Lexington, MA) from being developed. He told me, “It’s all about telling the story of wild animals in a way that hopefully gets the world to stop and pay attention.”

It obviously caught National Geographic’s attention. Out of over 1,800 submissions, Heart Spirit’s video was selected as one of the five overall winners!

But it gets better, Heart Spirit was awarded a $10,000 cash prize and was flown to Washington, D.C. In addition, he also had several opportunities to appear in the news, giving him an opportunity to talk about what he is trying to do. 

Congratulations, Heart Spirit, for a job well done! I’m sure everyone at Night Eagle is proud of you and your work! And if, as Shakespeare stated, “The past is prologue,” I am extremely pleased that Night Eagle may have played some small part in your work with nature and wildlife conservation. If you listen closely, I know you will hear the two-leggeds, the four-leggeds, and the winged ones saying, "Pilamaya, Mitakue Oyasin!"

If you would like to watch Heart Spirit’s winning video, I have provided a link below. Enjoy!


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