The Sanibel School's Nature Photography Contest concluded with an awards ceremony and reception on Tuesday, Dec. 3. This annual school event is a partner program of the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and Bank of the Islands, which provides medals, cash prizes and exhibition space for the contest. The partnership also extends to the Cypress Lake Middle School and Edison National Bank in Fort Myers.
In the weeks prior to the awards ceremony, the students visited the refuge with their photography instructor at the Sanibel School, Margaret Drennan. For the first time this year, Drennan then taught the students how to manipulate their photography using new computer software.
The awards ceremony for the contest was emceed by Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland who proclaimed the occasion "her favorite event of the year." Bank of the Islands' Sanibel and Captiva Office Managers, Rob Lisenbee and Willy Ocasio, presented award medals and $100, $75, and $50 cashier's checks to the top three student photographers as judged by their teachers. Every student photographer received a 2014 nature photography calendar from Birgie Vertesch, executive director of the Ding Darling Wildlife Society.
Pictured above, Bank of the Islands staff and Principal Barbara Von Harten recognize contest winners Stevie Gorka, Kristin Dunavant, and Julian Meyers. PHOTO PROVIDED.
The winners were:
1st Place: Stevie Gorka, 6th Grade, with a photograph taken of the wildlife preserve from the new boardwalk.
2nd Place: Kristin Dunavant, 7th Grade, with a photograph of a wolf spider.
3rd Place: Julian Meyers, 7th Grade, with photograph of a rock dove.
"I look forward to this event every year, and I think these photos are the best so far," said the Bank's Sanibel Office Manager Rob Lisenbee. "They're just great and I can't wait until they're hanging in the bank lobby."
The photo exhibit currently hangs in the Refuge Education Center. In the New Year, Bank of the Islands will then host the exhibit of all the student photography in its Sanibel office lobby at 1699 Periwinkle Way. Visitors are invited to enjoy freshly baked cookies while viewing the photo display in the bank.
Bank of the Islands, a name synonymous with island community banking since 1974, is located at the corner of Periwinkle Way and Casa Ybel Road on Sanibel. Its Captiva office is located at 14812 Captiva Drive next to the US Post Office. As the oldest locally owned and managed community bank on the islands, Bank of the Islands is proud to be the winner of 26 "Best of the Islands" awards since 1999, including being chosen the Best Island Bank for 15 years straight.