The Donald E. Davis Arboretum will be holding its 14th annual photo contest this summer. Submissions will be accepted until National Nature Photography Day June 15.
“It’s a way to get people interested in nature and being outside,” said Morgan Beadles the arboretum’s curator.
The contest has five different categories: Trees, People, Flora, Wildlife, and other nature related photos.
Submissions are posted on the arboretum’s Facebook page, and the picture with the most likes in each category wins.
“As long as [the photo] is something nature related to Alabama, the arboretum, the southeast,” Beadles said. “That counts.”
There were around 85 photos submitted to the contest last year. Photographers of any level are welcome to join the contest, Beadles said.
“Last year our winner in the wildlife category was a kid that had had a traumatic brain injury and he was at a rehab facility in Oklahoma,” Beadles said. “He took this just gorgeous picture of a jellyfish, and that picture got like 276 likes on it, the next highest picture to get likes was like 68.”
The Office of Communication and Marketing uses the photos from the contest to create a calendar every year. The calendar is sold at the arboretum.
There is a possibility that this is the last year that the calendars will be sold. The arboretum is considering selling a different item with the contest photos next year, Beadles said.
Many of the photos in the contest have stories behind them, and Beadles often enjoys hearing these stories.
“The man that won for our people category last year took this really nice photo of this black girl looking over our waterfall area," Beadles said. "When he came in to claim his prize, it’s an older white gentleman that works for facilities. He told me the story of how when he took the photo, they ended up chatting. Now they’ve built this friendship. She does dinners with him and his wife here in town, they’ve brought her on as their family, and that’s from the arboretum photo contest.”
The winners will be announce July 16. First-place winners from each category will choose among three prizes, an arboretum t-shirt, a native azalea or a white-topped pitcher plant. Submission details can be found on the arboretum’s website.