Sherman, John “Verm”

Sherman, John “Verm”

The Story of Verm

In the mid-70s, fabled Finnish anthropologist Iso Effstop spied an unusual primate wandering the African savannah. The creature’s white skin was scarred and filthy and he wore nothing but a porcupine skin loincloth and a Nikkormat. Effstop set a trap baited with pretzels and hefeweizen and captured “The Rodent Boy.”

Back at Effstop’s camp, the cook Nigel was given the task to clean the specimen. “Boy, you’re covered in vermin,” declared Nigel.

“Me. Vermin,” said the boy, displaying a rudimentary command of English.

Effstop’s command of English was not much better, but he proceeded to interview the boy and the following story came out (originally published in Weakly Whirled News as “Verm the Rodent Boy saves Elvis from Alien Attack”).

Vermin was born to a privileged couple that invested their fortune pursuing careers as professional nature photographers. Soon they were nearly broke and completely forgotten. In a last ditch effort to gain recognition, they moved the family to Africa to shoot the noble beasts of the Dark Continent.

Things went poorly in Africa, with Verm’s dad losing his wife, the Nikkor 400mm, and half his shutter finger betting on high stakes mumbletypeg. Left with only a 135mm lens, Verm’s dad chose to bait animals in close enough to shoot. To do this he would cut Verm’s palm with a pocketknife, then stake the youngster down to the ground. This went on for quite some time and Verm became comfortable in close proximity to animals. Then one day, Verm’s father tied him to a tree to lure in gorillas. Tragically, Verm’s dad forgot he had a Baby Ruth in the pocket of his photo vest.

Weeks later Verm had lost so much weight he slipped out of the ropes holding him to the tree. He dug through the bones, recovered the Nikkormat and the pocketknife and trekked out into the wild. When not foraging for food, Verm would open the back of the Nikkormat, hold thin leaves against the focal plane and watch the images dance on the leaves. He took the knife and would etch the patterns in the leaves, which he then traded to the animals for favors. He learned to speak to the animals, and whether it was reptile, bird, mammal, fish or amphibian he could say, “The camera loves you Baby. Give me sexy!”

Fast forward four decades and the Verm has valiantly struggled to fit in to “civilization.” While his social skills are still unpolished, he took quickly to both film and digital image capture. And though Silverback is his adopted native language, he has worked hard on his English skills, scored in the 98th percentile on his GREs, then, rather than wasting those skills writing The Great American Novel, he has instead blessed the world with his blog. For obvious reasons, he chooses not to bait or call in his photo subjects.

Verm currently lives in a van with his girlfriend who is half monkey.

Read More

Lawrence, Tom

Avid naturalist and photographer Tom Lawrence has been a resident of Mount Desert Island for 30 years. A biologist, geologist and outdoor educator, Tom is an enthusiastic instructor with the ability to tie together the beauty and science of Acadia. The carriage roads of Acadia have always been a special interest of Tom’s since his first visit. Prior to the roads restoration in the early 1990s Tom volunteered to help identify erosional issues and bolster support for the cause with public presentations on the history of this natural resource. He also published a series of maps for cyclist and hikers to navigate the road system.

Read More

Lawrence, Vincent

Vincent Lawrence is a nature, landscape, travel, and adventure photographer based in Maine. Vincent grew up with strong ties to the natural world and his photography stems from a desire to encourage others to get outside and experience nature first-hand. After much travel here and abroad, he returned home to Maine and now teaches photography workshops in the Bar Harbor/Acadia Nat’l Park area (where he met the 2013 Summiteers). This will be Vincent’s first Summit, and he is really excited to contribute his knowledge and energy to the community.”

Read More

Fielder, John

John Fielder – is a nationally renowned photographer, publisher, teacher, and preservationist. John has 40 Years of Promoting and Protecting Colorado and Rocky Mountain National Park: John presents photographs from around the state, as well as images from his project photographing every lake in the park! There will be background music galore and stories of life in the backcountry. His photography has influenced people and legislation earning him recognition including the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award in 1993, and in 2011 the Aldo Leopold Foundation’s first Achievement Award given to an individual. Many of John’s Colorado books and calendars will be available for sale and signing.

Read More

Cisar, Ron

Ron Cisar – Earth Music – Ron is one of our faculty this year as well as performing his popular “Earth Music” for us. All of his hobbies revolve around nature from song writing, photography, reading, writing prose, poems and essays, hiking, kayaking, gardening etc. Ron has released two CDs of his original musical compositions, Earth Music and The Spell of Yellowstone. He has a very sincere enthusiasm about what he does and enjoys working with people of all ages. Be prepared to be entertained and delighted!Ron Cisar is no stranger to Conservation Summits. He has worked over 20 National Wildlife Conservation Summits from 1984 to 2004. Ron has served as Director of the Teen Adventure Program as well as an Earth Music instructor sharing his love of the natural world through his original songs. Ron has performed in 18 states and Canada. His programs have been scheduled and viewed by colleges, public schools, nature centers, and numerous regional, national and international conferences across the country including Project Wild, Bluebirds Across America, Missouri Department of Conservation, Girl Scouts of America, and the National Academic Decathlon Finals to name a few.

Ron has been an environmental educator his entire life. He presently teaches Environmental Science and Biology at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, IA. He has received numerous honors and awards in the area of education such as the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, Nebraska Conservation Educator of the Year and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Ron’s whole life involves the study of natural history. All of his hobbies revolve around nature from song writing, photography, reading, writing prose, poems and essays, hiking, kayaking, gardening etc. Ron has released two CDs of his original musical compositions, Earth Music and The Spell of Yellowstone. He has a very sincere enthusiasm about what he does and enjoys working with people of all ages. Ron’s personal goal is to enrich his student’s and/or participant’s life with the values of a true land ethic and to instill in everyone a passion for positive stewardship of the planet. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska with his wife Muriel. They have three sons.

Read More

Cameron Tiberion, Annie

Annie Tiberio Cameron is a fine art nature photographer with a passion for teaching, especially to beginners. She brings to this Summit (in 2016, her 34th) over 40 years of elementary school teaching, coordinating environmental education programs for Massachusetts Audubon Society, and teaching photography for many institutions across the USA. Since 2009, she has been teaching a 3-credit online photography course at UMass Amherst, (open to anyone, worldwide) and currently focuses her exhibiting efforts in venues around Central Vermont, including the Montpelier gallery that represents her work. Her photos have been exhibited in galleries and museums across the country, received awards and have been published in numerous calendars, magazines, newspapers, and other publications, including two editions of a top-selling Sierra Club book entitled: Mother Earth — Through the Eyes of Women Photographers and Writers, as well as its accompanying postcard book. Annie also tours three slide programs, seen at Summits and available for your communities: Death Valley, Okefinokee and Beyond,  Come With Me to Tanzania, and Touring Kenya are for upper elementary students through adults. See her online gallery at:

Read More