History of the Georgia Nature Photographers Association

The Georgia Nature Photographers Association (GNPA) evolved from a simple need: to create the first nature focused photography camera club in metro Atlanta. In 2009. Atlanta offered great photography groups, but there were no clubs where our founding member’s photographic interests were placed front and center.

The idea for a Georgia nature photographers club originated with Chris Dekle.  Chris placed an ad in the Atlanta Audubon Society newsletter seeking persons interested in nature photography.  Mary Bachner spotted the ad and alerted Don Stewart.  Don contacted Chris and the Georgia Nature Photographers Association was born.  From there, others joined and the group was off to a good start. 

The original planners and organizers included Chris Dekle, Don Stewart, Mary Backner, Amy Bram, Izzy Israeli, Don Saunders, Todd Sparger, Starr Camp, Marvin Price, Don Saunders, George Bradfield, Gail Stewart, CJ Andretta, Jim Bell, Tom Zakshevsky, Brad Wilson and Terry Metcalf

The original officers were as follows:

  • Chris Dekle -President
  • Todd Sparger -Vice President
  • Treasurer – Star Camp
  • Secretary – Don Stewart

The early founders modeled the organization on the Carolina Nature Photographers Association (CNPA) thanks to Chris Dekle, who shared the great things that CNPA did so well for their then 1,000+ members. Doug Holstien, the then CNPA’s president generously shared CNPA bylaws and operating procedures and provided valuable support and encouragement.

From the beginning, the Chattahoochee Nature Center (CNC) supported us in our implementation of GNPA.  All of the planning meetings were held at CNC, as well as the monthly meetings.  Our founding members provided nature photography courses at the Center. This enabled CNC guests to photograph and take home tangible memories of all their discoveries. This enabled our club to spread the word to Atlanta’s nature photographers about CNC and GNPA. Thank you to CNC for all their support.

On the evening of January 27, 2009, Georgia Nature Photographers Association held their first meeting. Over 100 photographers came, far surpassing the new clubs expectations.  This first night paved the way for our current 700+ membership in many regions.