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 2020 Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Photo Contest.
The contest was open to entries of photos taken on federal public lands (national parks, national forests, and 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 76 entries in four categories: Birds, Landscapes/ Plants, People Enjoying Nature, and Wildlife Other Than Birds. Photos were reviewed by a panel of judges on Sept. 15, and the Friends of the ONWR staff are pleased to announce the winners.
The 2020 Best of Show Award goes to “Shining Light” by Shelley Bennett.
Birds (Teen): 1st – “Birds of the Berry Bush” by Maya Sarikonda
Birds: 1st – “The Fight for the Tree Hole” by Michael Darmstadt; 2nd – “Mighty Bald Eagle” by Tony Everhardt; 3rd – “Sleepy Screech” by John Haley; HM – “Yellow Warbler” by Patricia Healey; HM – “The Joy of Flight” by Sherri Winegardner
Landscape/Plants: 1st – “Shining Light” by Shelley Bennett; 2nd – “Reflections” by Gloria Denos; 3rd – “Grand Prismatic Spring” by Mark Chambers HM – “Morning Reflections” by Madison Myers; HM – “Pictured Rocks Sunset” by Patricia Healey; HM – “Serenity” by Tony Everhardt
People Enjoying Nature: 1st – “Hiking the East Inlet Trail” by Mark Chambers; 2nd – “Enjoying Pictured Rocks” by Patricia Healey; 3rd – “Man on a Pier” by Michael Darmstadt
Wildlife Other Than Birds: 1st – “Alligator Family” by Daryl Roston; 2nd – “What did the dad buffalo say to his son as he was leaving for work? Bison!” by Michael Fairweather; 3rd – ” ‘Ol Mossback” by Tony Everhardt; HM – “Great Sand Dunes Bumblebee” by Madison Myers
Now the Friends of the ONWR are asking for help in deciding the 2020 People’s Choice Award winning photo. Visit https://www.friendsofottawanwr.org/photography-contest.html to view all of the photos and cast your vote for your favorite. The People’s Choice Award will be determined after voting closes on Oct. 17.
Visit Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge for your nature fix. The trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset, and the 7-mile self-guided Wildlife Drive will be open again Sept. 19-20. Restroom facilities are available near the Visitor Center and on the drive.
Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is a non-profit group established in 1997 to promote the preservation of the natural and historical resources of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, the only National Wildlife Refuge Complex in the state, located at 14000 W State Route 2, Oak Harbor.