Monthly Archives: May 2011

Seeing Beauty in a Historic Swamp

For 20 years, photographer-author Waverley Traylor has chronicled the sights, sounds, and stories of the Great Dismal Swamp, a historic wilderness covering large parts of Virginia and North Carolina.

A floating island on Lake Drummond (Island of the Swamp Fairies), in the center of the Great Dismal Swamp/ Waverley Traylor

The swamp’s human occupation timeline goes back thousands of years to about 12,000 B.C.E. with Native peoples. In the 1700s, famous visitors like William Byrd  and George Washington came there.

Enslaved African-Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries sought freedom within its waterways and shadowed interiors. This May 12-14, the swamp’s history, natural wonders, and especially the hundreds of bird species seen there will be celebrated at the Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival.

Born in Chesterfield County on a farm worked by his family from the mid-17th century until 1985, Traylor began taking photographs as a boy. He continued shooting pictures through high school, military service, and since 1990, his transition to professional photography.

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