Friends of Ottawa Ntl. Wildlife Refuge photo contest winners

Press Staff Writer

        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 submitted 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. Winners include:
        Birds (Teen):
        First place: “Birds of the Berry Bush,” by Maya Sarikonda.
        First place: “The Fight for the Tree Hole,” by Michael Darmstadt.
        Second place: “Mighty Bald Eagle,” by Tony Everhardt.
        Third place: “Sleepy Screech,” by John Haley.
        Honorable mention: “Yellow Warbler,” by Patricia Healey.
        Honorable mention: “The Joy of Flight,” by Sherri Winegardner.
        First place: “Shining Light,” by Shelley Bennett.
        Second place: “Reflections,” by Gloria Denos.
        Third place: “Grand Prismatic Spring,” by Mark Chambers.
        Honorable mention: “Morning Reflections,” by Madison Myers.
        Honorable mention: “Pictured Rocks Sunset,” by Patricia Healey.
        Honorable mention: “Serenity,” by Tony Everhardt.
        People Enjoying Nature:
        First place: “Hiking the East Inlet Trail,” by Mark Chambers.
        Second place: “Enjoying Pictured Rocks,” by Patricia Healey.
        Third place: “Man on a Pier,” by Michael Darmstadt.
        Wildlife Other Than Birds:
        First place: “Alligator Family,” by Daryl Roston.
        Second place: “What did the dad buffalo say to his son as he was leaving for work? Bison,” by Michael   Fairweather;
        Third place: “Ol’ Mossback,” by Tony Everhardt.
        Honorable mention: “Great Sand Dunes Bumblebee,” by Madison Myers.
        The 2020 Best of Show Award went to “Shining Light,” by Shelley Bennett.
        The Friends are turning to the community for help in deciding the 2020 People’s Choice Award winning photo. Visit to view all of the photos and cast a vote for your favorite. The People’s Choice Award will be determined after voting closes on Oct. 17.
        Also, plan to visit Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge for your nature fix. The trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset, and the seven-mile self-guided Wildlife Drive will be open Sept. 19-20. Restroom facilities are available near the Visitor Center and on the drive.


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