Learning with the St Lawrence

Field Guide: Stephany Hildebrand


  • Underwater photo of reeds, seaweed and fish.

    Each side of the mouth of Wood Creek, a tributary of the St. Lawrence River, is distinctly different. One side is channelized for the use of small fishing boats, the shore is hardened and often mowed all the way to the water. The other side is shallow—the shore lined by shrubs and small trees. At the surface, damselflies can be seen flying in the hundreds. The bottom is soft but not so soft that you sink too deeply. It’s not unusual to see large fish like longnose gar or carp sunbathing near the surface of the water. Pumpkin seed fish are common here, they’re curious and approach you as you float by. 


Stephany Hildebrand is an environmental technician and documentary photographer who lives and works along the St. Lawrence River. Her work reflects on the interconnectedness of organisms, anthropogenic pressures, and natural processes in aquatic habitats. Littoral is a photographic series documenting nearshore habitats in the Upper St Lawrence River. Littoral zones of lakes and rivers are the intermediate area between land and water, where sunlight penetrates the sediments triggering the growth of plants and algae. These blooms lend themselves as food and homes for other organisms—this is a birthplace, a hunting ground, a transitionary area—supporting a diversity of species.

Exploring how these systems change over time allows us to understand how human activity affects ecosystems on a large scale. Through photography and science, Stephany aims to produce images that will increase public awareness about these sensitive ecosystems.