OAK HARBOR — Use of natural areas including parks and wildlife refuges has skyrocketed this year as people seek to escape the pressures of COVID-19 and find some peace in the chaos. Some of those people visited with cameras and featured their best nature photos in the 2021 Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Photo Contest.
The contest was open to entries of photos taken on federal public lands (national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges like Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Ohio’s only national wildlife refuge complex). Typically the contest accepts photo prints from August through September which are then displayed in the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week (held the second week of October). This year the contest turned virtual as the Visitor Center remains closed.
Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge received over 300 entries in four categories: Birds, Landscapes/Plants, People Enjoying Nature, and Wildlife Other Than Birds. Photos were reviewed by a panel of judges and the winners are available online at: www.friendsofottawanwr.org/photography-contest
Top winners in each category are featured in the 2022 Federal Public Lands Calendar, which is available for purchase on the Friends website for $15. Proceeds will help to support Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge’s conservation efforts focused on youth development, public access projects, and land acquisition and restoration.