charles_post charles_post

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Charles Post  • Husband to @rachel.pohl • Environmental Lead @sitkagear • Supported by @KEEN • Editor @modernhuntsman • Fellow @the_explorers_club

@rachel.pohl and I are married! Somehow, life blessed us with that 1 in 7.4 billion chance to meet, fall in love and take the big leap. One of our life heroes, @conrad_anker, who married us and said those fateful words "you may now kiss the bride", described marriage as one epic adventure, which it certainly is, and couldn't have happened without all the support and love from our friends and family who made our big day possible.

Marriage is one of those things that makes all the sense in the world when you meet your better 2/3rds for the first time, and out of nowhere you feel this deep sense of clarity that she's the person you have to be with forever. While marriage is just a label, it's one that honors our intention to raise a family and support one another forever. What's better than that?! It also offers this uniquely epic opportunity to be reminded of how many amazing friends and family you have, all of whom went above and beyond to make a home cooked, affordable, low - key wedding come to life better than we could have dreamed.

As I walked down the aisle, with eyes tearing up and fixed on my beautiful wife slowly riding side-saddle on @bencmasters paint mustang, Luke, I had to dodge a nice fresh pile of bear scat before arriving at our wine barrel alter where my vows waited, written with Rachel hours before. They were recorded on a piece of packaging torn off a Great Northern Brewery 12 pack. It was perfect. And her vows weren't any fancier! We had our friends dog running around with our rings clasped to it's collar on carabiners Conrad carved our initials into and hooked in place just perfectly. They made it to the alter, and on to our fingers - a moment I'll never forget.

Now, we are starting to connect the dots, and really see how each twist and turn lead us here, to this moment and these first days of the rest of our lives together. It's a crazy thing, and there's no better feeling. Now off to look for elk!

📸 @coldcollaborative + @shannonvandivier

Next week I get to marry my best friend @rachel.pohl, and start a chapter i've been working towards my whole life. I'm starting to realize that now, more so each day. Every step along the way has brought me to this place.

It wasn't all that long ago that I called a small, one person tent home back when I was a hungry, aspiring scientist studying freshwater ecosystems, living off dehydrated soup and sunlight. Back then, my dream was to be a field ecologist. I wanted to spend each day outside following my curiosity, trying to better understand the subtle rhythms that make every ecosystem unique, the characteristics that hook you, and draw you in as someone who quite frankly is addicted to asking questions, testing hypothesis, obsessed with the dynamics of the natural world.

I also remember my last day at UC Berkeley like it was yesterday. In the spring of 2015 I received my Master's degree, and walked out the Integrative Biology Department door for the last time. I had spent nearly 10 years studying and working at Berkeley from my first day as an undergraduate, a field research assistant and finally a grad student. Then, just like that it was all over. I remember feeling uneasy about the unknown, ending something that felt comfortable, like home.

Though, I knew I wanted something more, something else, but didn't know what that would be, how it would unfold.

Today, I've learned what I was looking for, and it's boils down to fulfillment. It's a moving target that shifts over space and time, but it's there, and that's where I try to direct my energy.

Since moving to Montana two years ago, it's starting to feel like home. I'm starting to make new friends, beginning to understand my new ecosystem: the birds, mammals, trees, clouds, weather, rivers, mountains and snow. I know where to catch a fish, watch mountain goats, migrating raptors, or sandhill cranes. Those places are my safety net. So long as they exist, an element of familiarity exists.

It feels good to be here. It's where we want to raise a family. And that right there is what I'm most stoked about. Everything else just supports that dream.

It’s not just us. We live in a global ecosystem where everything is connected, a dynamic, vast, linked web of life that relies on the same elements we do: clean air, clean water, food and room to roam.

Spending time in wild landscapes offers such a powerful reminder of what’s at stake, and how much there is left to fight for. If we don’t stand up for these wildlife and ecosystems, who will?

Spend a day alongside a wild animal and you’ll quickly remember how simple life can be. The drivers that shape each day are pure and intentional to the core. It’s when society gets in the way of this wild existence that we have to ask ourselves how can we do better, be better, try harder, and hold ourselves accountable? It’s that intention that sprouted every Earth changing effort recorded in environmental history be it the genesis of the National Park system, protection of Yosemite or inception of the migratory bird treaty act by a community of tireless visionaries. It’s our life’s work. And that takes time – a lifetime.

It’s this intention that keeps me going, inspires my every move and pushes me to do more so that I might leave behind a legacy my grandkids will be proud of.

Today, more than ever, we are connected, which affords a unique opportunity to share stories, messages of hope and inspiration. It’s this communication that I’ve found to be fulfilling in so many ways. After all, how can we expect someone to care about something or somewhere if they didn’t know it existed in the first place? Sharing these conservation stories and ecology inspired projects is just one way I hope to leave behind a better world.

When I heard that @alaskaair pledged to remove all straws from each of their flights, I couldn’t help but feel some of that positivity we optimists feed off of. Nothing better than leading by example. Share what you’re doing to reduce your carbon footprint using #strawlesskies for a chance to win two Alaska Air flight vouchers to a destination of your choosing. #IFlyAlaska #spon

More than one-third of America's land is used for pasture - that's 632 million acres. 158 million of those acres are managed for livestock grazing by the federal government. The well-being of these pasture and public rangelands are, on a micro level, often guided by the hearts and hands of ranchers and stockmen.

Consider the weight on their shoulders; they are writing the future for a huge swath of North America by the way they steward and manage these ecosystems. The best of them pour everything they have into this. It defines them. It's not easy work. Margins are often thin, and nature is unforgiving. Rain, in many parts of the West, is more erratic than ever, and good soil can be hard to come by - and once that soil is gone it's hard or impossible to get back in a human lifetime.

The ranching families who I admire would call themselves grass and soil farmers first. Without the latter, life struggles to get by on our western rangelands. Families like the Phillips @ranchlands steward over 300,000 acres of western rangelands, and do so with a conviction that's palpable. Their DNA is woven into these lands. In their eyes, stewarding them into the future is the only way forward. And they have chosen to do so with the ecology in mind. Stewardships stems from ecosystem thinking.

Take one ride or hike across their land and you'll know what i'm talking about. @ranchlands. If you make the trip, you can see for yourself, and you might just see Madi and her pup too.

It is truly remarkable that wild ecosystems still exist, that Alaskan rivers brimming with wild salmon still arrive by the millions to march upstream to the very waters they were born - as they have for millennia. Look closely and you can find their signatures in the ferns, trees, fungi, feathers and fur of grizzly bears who rely on these fish just as I do. For me, salmon are a relict of my childhood spent watching salmon on rainy days with my dad and brother, as a young scientist studying their ecology at U.C. Berkeley, and as a fisherman bobbing around on the cold Pacific amongst the humpbacks, common murres, Caspian terns and brown pelicans spiraling seaward in wild frenzy as the season’s tide of sardines arrive with hungry salmon in tow.

To watch my fiancé, @rachel.pohl, harvest one of these fish, a wild animal born from a wild sea and ancient forests upstream, was a moment I’ll never forget. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that’s still possible. Humans have carved up our natural world nearly beyond recognition in some places yet we still have this: wild salmon, and the opportunity to witness truly epic moments in the natural world, connect with our food, and actively simplify an
increasingly complex, industrialized food system by using our hands and patience to put food on the table. This is just one way that I can reduce my impact and carbon footprint.
It’s not just us.

We live in a global ecosystem where everything is connected, a dynamic, vast linked web of life that relies on the same elements we do: clean air, clean water, food and room to roam. Spending time in wild landscapes offers such a powerful reminder of what’s at stake, and how much there is left to fight for. If we don’t stand up for these wildlife and ecosystems, who will?

@alaskaair has pledged to remove all straws from each of their flights, which is a huge dose of inspiration. Share what you’re doing to reduce your carbon footprint using
#strawlesskies for a chance to win two Alaska Air flight vouchers to a destination of your choosing. #IFlyAlaska #spon

Two nights ago @rachel.pohl and I looked at the weather forecast saw rain + a chance of snow, and logically packed up our truck with a big old four person mega cozy tent, filled the truck with all the blankets and pillows we could dig up, and headed into the mountains. It rained pretty much the entire time and maybe snowed a little. We forgot a second headlamp and rain jackets but we had our fly rods and homemade soup, so we were perfect. We sat in the tent vestibule with our single headlamp and worked on our wedding vows late into the night. We mapped out the structure of our ceremony, readings, and nominated speakers to punctuate the event. And all the while, we were pinching ourselves thinking that our big day will be officiated by one of our heroes, @conrad_anker
It's crazy how time flies. It feels like yesterday when @forestwoodward introduced me to Rachel, when @conrad_anker made the offer to marry us in the parking lot of a Salt Lake City hotel just after eating a pair of cookies he smuggled from the Delta lounge, and finally when I got on one knee and asked @rachel.pohl to marry me on top of Mount Tamalpias, the center of my world back in California. After I presented her the ring, I basically blacked out. My brother, @callmevader, who was taking photos, said it looked like I was rapidly unsheathing a sword because I pulled that ring box out of my pocked and presented it to her so quickly.

Life, since meeting Rachel, has been amazing. It's crazy how it takes all these twists and turns and settles into this amazing rhythm.

It snowed for the first time yesterday, which means September is just around the corner. We get married on the 15th, and elk season opens on the first, and back home in California the coho salmon are getting ready to migrate, and out here in Montana our raptors, waterfowl and songbirds are headed south overhead. It's my favorite time of the year, and it'll make for an amazing season to celebrate our anniversary down the road.

Love you, @rachel.pohl




@keen #keenambassador

The other day I was wrapping up an interview with a career big game biologist for Nevada while shooting an upcoming documentary film on the state of wild horses and public lands with the dream team @bencmasters and @implementproductions . The final words of the interview harped on these simple truths: Don't be afraid to stick your neck out. Don't be afraid of people hating you for doing what's right. Don't be afraid to push the needle and be bold about it.

Instagram definitely has a dark side. I feel lucky that my community (you all!) and this thread has become a place of conversation, mutual respect and learning rather than a platform to bash and talk shit. I realize that putting yourself, ideas and content into the world by default exposes you to whatever the public wants to throw your way. But, I also realize that there are people on both sides of the phone.

I try to hold humanity in high regard and assume that folks are doing there best, trying to be constructive and add to the conversation rather than turning them into a cesspool of negativity. That doesn't get anybody anywhere.

I would like to acknowledge two people who I really admire for sticking their neck out, doing their best and truly trying to make the world a better place: @carolinegleigh @brodyleven. (@rachel.pohl is one of these people too, which is why I'm marrying her in about two weeks!!)

I admire Caroline and Brody for being consistent, tireless advocates, taking on topics that push the needle with a sound moral compass, and for dealing with those individuals who just want to talk shit with grace and ethics. Even though we are separated by miles and phone screens, the comments do have an impact for good or bad. If you all want to check out two humans who are doing great work, please do. @carolinegleich and @brodyleven are awesome humans and incredible friends. 📸 1) @crossroadstudios

I may look like a bit of a contradiction: I'm a U.C. Berkeley trained ecologist, passionate about telling stories of conservation and stewardship, I hunt and fish, call the outdoors my church and playground, and have spent years eating mostly veggies and others with a more omnivorous diet.

I grew up hunting with my dad and brother but it wasn't until I was in graduate school that I began exploring how hunting could help our planet. While there are examples of hunting / hunters that deviate from that reverence for the animals and natural environment, I knew there were plenty of people and examples rooted to best practices and scientifically backed conservation.

I was drawn to the idea that hunting could help rebalance ecosystems that swung out of stability thanks to us. Predators don't control grazer populations throughout much of North America like they used to. We have highways and fences and towns and subdivisions so animals can't migrate like they used to. We have a global economy that allows us to eat food grown and harvested thousands of miles away so it can be processed, wrapped up and delivered to our kitchens. Our clothes have polyester or cotton, both of which have an environmental impact. Our non-meat foods come from landscapes that sustain wildlife: a wheat field is in no way a perennial grassland or sea of sagebrush but that's the transformation we are driving. Our cars fuel a warming climate, which affects ecosystems across the globe.

We are all connected. There's a need for dialogue across the aisle so that we may find inspiration, common ground and places to work together. Using my own two feet, intuition and curiosity to put food on the table is one way I reduce my carbon footprint.

@Alaskaair has pledged to remove all straws from each of their flights, which is a huge dose of inspiration. Share what you’re doing to reduce your carbon footprint using #strawlesskies for a chance to win two Alaska Air flight vouchers to a destination of your choosing. #IFlyAlaska #spon
📸 @fossman8

It's easy to focus on the island of comfort; to talk to people who think like you do, value what you value, interpret the world and life the way you do. It feels safe and familiar. It's easy to fall into this trap. Comfort is part of human nature but building bridges between these islands is key; it's how we build compassion, awareness and mutual understanding.

As September inches closer, I start thinking about wildlife, the shift towards fall, and another hunting season on the horizon.

It's a bit of an emotionally confusing time: I eat a lot of plants, some meat (mostly that I've harvested) and organic as often as possible. I also remember the passing of the year mostly by the wildlife encounters and observations (and moments with @rachel.pohl, of course). The gap between these islands of thought is what I'm interested in.

Food becomes a big deal when we start to think about the sheer mass required to sustain us over a year. That food takes an incredible toll on the planet be it by way of agriculture - a leading cause of extinction on Earth- or the environmental cost of shipping, packaging and preparing that food. The net sum is tremendous whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, a meat eater or somewhere in the flexible middle ground. Of course, all exist on a spectrum of best and could be better.

I went hunting the other day. We didn't fire a single arrow but I had one of the coolest wildlife observations to date: a single coyote trying to pluck a young pronghorn from the herd. The does balled up protecting the fawns in the middle, while the buck and some of the larger does took turns chasing the coyote off.

While we didn't harvest anything, I did eat an organic almond butter sandwich, some jerky, an organic apple from Washington, and some water from our well. Point being, hunting doesn't always mean killing, and food is food but it just comes with different baggage depending on your approach and willingness to do the research. Focusing on the fact that many are doing their best, and what makes sense for their body and reality is key. With this in mind, we'll find we have more in common than the echo chambers of our islands would lead us to believe.

Wildfires weren't on anyone’s mind back when I was a kid. Sure, fires happened here but these massive fires scorching 300,000 acres in just under two weeks were completely off the radar. I can’t remember a single day when smoke hung in the air and my lungs wheezed. That has been my reality for the last week. These days you can't take clean summer air for granted let alone the opportunity to visit Yosemite or Glacier National Park.

With this summer shaping out to be one of the hottest and most destructive fire seasons on record it's easy to get hung up in the headlines and miss what's happening on the fire fronts where thousands of men and women are putting their lives on the line. It's incredible. These heroes are dedicating everything they have to protect others, our public lands and wellbeing. Selfless might even be an understatement when you consider what wildland firefighting actually entails.

I've had the opportunity to work with hot shots, smokejumpers and land managers over the past few years. Their dedication is infectious and eye opening. Can you imagine spending your career fighting increasingly erratic and unpredictable fires in hundred degree temps for days on end? Spend a day working alongside these heroes and you'll find the mental and physical grit is next to unbelievable.

Their bravery and dedication deserves far more praise and support. Their good deeds are directly shaping the future of our public lands, communities and wellbeing. There's nothing more honorable than that.

I'm excited to be partnering with @joshcellars to support the National Volunteer Fire Council and Operation Gratitude. I'm choosing firefighters as my heroes to toast. Post a public #ToastToHeroes image to Instagram before August 31, 2018, paying tribute to a hero in your own life. For each #ToastToHeroes post, Josh Cellars will donate $1 to the National Volunteer Fire Council and Operation Gratitude collectively (up to $25,000 for each charity). This is just one small thing we can do to support our firefighters and first responders. Also, if you see a fire truck or firefighters, give them a wave. I'm sure they'll appreciate it. #sponsored

Consider dedicating your life to the preservation of another species.

When I think about what that truly means I cant help but feel optimistic about the future of wildlife and wild landscapes across the globe. While the news, reports, and signs of environmental decay abound I try and remind myself of all the good people out there dedicating their lives to those ecosystems and species who have no voice, no voting or spending power.

If you have a biologist, ecologist, public lands manager, conservationist, or steward on @instagram that you look up to, tag them in this post and share a bit about why they inspire you.

@rachel.pohl and I will be picking a winner out of those you nominate who will the recipient of a #rachelpohlart print, free pair of @keen shoes, a signed copy of @modernhuntsman issue 1, and a @sitkagear hat to honor their contribution.

Nothing better than giving credit where credits due. The @hawkwatch folks pictured come to mind - true heroes. This is a moment from @max.lowe + @forestwoodward + my film #SkyMigrations which profiles @hawkwatch’s raptor conservation efforts across North America. Link in profile.

I've read climate change becomes relevant when you or somebody you know is directly affected. At this point, that must be everyone. Right?

The past year has been peppered with moments undeniably shaped by climate change.

Yesterday @rachel.pohl and I were headed up to Banff for a camping trip we planned months ago. It's been smoky here in Montana but as we climbed higher into the Canadian Rockies the smoke and ash from 100 fires raging across British Columbia became unbearable so we turned back.

A few weeks ago @bencmasters @implementproductions and I were shooting a film on wild horses and the state of our public lands in Nevada. At the time, the largest fire in America was burning, a 400,000 acre fire that swept across Elko County and forced us to shuffle plans.

In two weeks I head West to photograph another wild horse project but this time it will focus on the feral herds living in remote public lands across northeastern California. As you'd expect record temps and air thick with smoke are on my mind. The biggest fire in California history is burning with few signs of slowing down.
Some may say these incidents are isolated, unrelated, a function of human error, fire suppression, stochastic weather events, etc. It's true, the triggers may be isolated incidents like mechanical failure or illegal campfires but the key lies in the long term trend: the decades of data indicating global mean temps are increasing, fire season is starting earlier and lasting longer, a warming ocean is cooking up bigger more intense storms...the list goes on.
What can we do? Talk about it. Make it relevant. Make lifestyle decisions with our environment in mind. Support our firefighters, first responders and public land managers. Support brands and companies leading by example - those willing to put their money where their mouth is for more than a season or marketing campaign. Use your dollars tactfully. Remember, our voices, votes and dollars can create the world we wish to live in.
I shot these photos last year for @filson1897 while working on a @u.s.forestservice campaign that celebrated their heroic efforts to steward our public lands. 🙏🏼

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