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‘Ding’ Days photo contest accepting submissions through Sept. 15

By Staff | Aug 3, 2016

White pelican portrait by Kent Jager won first place in 2015. PHOTO PROVIDED

The annual “Ding” Darling Days Amateur Nature Photography Contest has kicked off its 29th year.

The contest is open to residents and visitors alike. There is a $25 entry fee that provides you with a membership to the society and is used to defray the cost of the contest. One fee covers two entries per person. The photos must be taken at “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge within two years of entry date.

Sarah Lathrop, associate director of community outreach and development of the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society says that they receive anywhere between 70-120 entires per year.

“We get some really amazing entries. It is an amateur photography contest but a lot of these photographers are people who have picked it up, they’re retired or just always loved photography. We get some really amazing photographs that should be professional,” Lathrop said.

DDWS will announce winners and award prizes at Conservation Art Day on Saturday, Oct. 22, during “Ding” Darling Days.

Yellow-crowned night heron portrait by Ryan MacFarlane won second place in 2015. PHOTO PROVIDED

Entries may be delivered in person to J.N. “Ding” Darling NWR or by mail to “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society (DDWS), One Wildlife Dr., Sanibel, FL 33957 (Attention: Sarah Lathrop).

The photos will be judged based upon technical excellence, orignality/creativity, interest and ability to be reproduced for publication. The judges will be comprised of a photographer, a refuge ranger and someone from the community.

Winners will receive a cash prize and the opportunity to have their photo to be displayed in the “Ding” Educational Center all year. This provides great exposure for the winners, the educational center has about 250,000 people walk through their doors each year.

“We encourage everyone to enter. We only have 15 winners but all the photos that aren’t winners we then give to our education rangers and they then use those with visitors and kids that come out to the refuge to show them different wildlife species that they’re most likely not going to see, especially not up close. That way, people can find a connection to the refuge through photography. It’s a great cause and it’s a fun contest,” Lathrop said.

For more information about the contest, go to dingdarlingsociety.org/photo-contests or contact Sarah Lathrop at sarah@dingdarlingsociety.org or (239) 472-1100 ext. 233.

Little blue heron portrait by Ellen Trevor won third place in 2015. PHOTO PROVIDED