Our Prairie People: Chuck Duplant

Published by Aspen Huebner on

Discovering the Essence of Nature with Chuck Duplant

Photographer, insect enthusiast and highly valued NPAT volunteer, Chuck Duplant is dedicated to capturing the wild side of life – from bugs to blooms and birds. This interview takes us through Chuck’s favorite places, his connection with Deer Park Prairie, and the importance of preserving natural habitats. His experiences and ongoing efforts in restoring the prairie, building the Charlie Lundquist Memorial boardwalk, and presenting interpretive programs highlight the vital role that volunteers like him play in preserving the natural wonders that enrich our lives. (Chuck is photographed here setting up a bumblebee box at Deer Park Prairie.)

“Preserving these natural habitats is vital to the quality of life for people. Unfortunately, some don’t see it that way, so its up to us to save or restore these areas as best we can.”

Can you share a bit about your journey into wildlife and nature photography?

I have always been amazed by the photos in magazines such as National Geographic, Texas Highways and many others. As I dabbled with scenic photos on trips, I became interested in macro-photography. This gave me a chance to admire the details of plants and insects that can only be seen through the lens or magnifying glass.

What are your favorite wildlife subjects to photograph, and why?

Insects, flowers and birds are my favorite subjects. The sheer variety of species, colors and the challenges to photograph them keep it interesting. My favorite of insects are dragonflies and damselflies. Such an amazing insect. The American Rubyspot damselfly is like a living art piece. My favorite bird is the Bald Eagle. Growing up they were almost non-existent in Texas. I thought I would never see a living eagle, now they fly in my neighborhood. Still looking for that perfect shot.

How did your connection with Deer Park Prairie begin?

My first connection with Deer Park Prairie was the 2013 campaign to save it. Later I showed up for a volunteer day. I offered to maintain an insect list and to take prairie photos as part of my contribution. [Chuck is one of Deer Park Prairie’s most loyal volunteers!]

Did you grow up in Texas?

I was born and raised in Groves, Texas to a family that hunted, fished and camped. The outdoors has been a lifelong adventure for me, so no wonder I am tied to nature. I moved to Houston in 1985 to teach scuba diving at a friend’s shop. It wasn’t long before I discovered Brazos Bend State Park and became a volunteer in 1987. This opened up my love for insects and prairies, and rekindled my photography adventure. There I learned about interpretation, prairie restoration and wildlife.

Do you have a favorite place in Texas?

I have many favorite places in Texas. As a Native Texan I am very proud of the beauty throughout the state. Big Bend, The Big Thicket, Dolan Falls, Lost Maples, Gulf Coast, Palo Duro Canyon, the Rio Grande Valley, Brazos Bend, Deer Park Prairie and everything in between. Texas has so much amazing wildlife that migrate through or reside here.

Can you share a memorable or special moment you’ve experienced while at Deer Park Prairie?

There have been many over the years, but seeing the coyote near the observation deck and being able to follow it through the prairie was amazing.

Are there activities or practices outside of photography that contribute to your overall sense of fulfillment and happiness?

Volunteering has been very fulfilling for me. By volunteering at Deer Park and Brazos Bend I have been able to help restore prairies, build boardwalks, present interpretive programs, lead hikes and perform a variety of manual labor jobs. These have helped me learn and grow as a person, and spread the word about these amazing natural areas and wildlife.

Chuck Duplant was an important contributor to Della Barbato’s insect video.

Interview by Aspen Huebner

Categories: Our MembersStatewide