Tucson students take home prizes, bragging rights in nature photo contest

Tucson students take home prizes, bragging rights in nature photo contest
Killdeer (Source: Sean Stubben/The Nature Conservancy/The Nature Conservancy)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Even the professional photographers were impressed by the entries submitted by students from Tucson, Gilbert, Chandler and Prescott to the 7th annual Adventures in Nature photo contest.

The contest is put on by The Nature Conservancy in Arizona and what was once just a Tucson competition has expanded to encompass the entire state.

According to contest officials there were more than 1,600 photos entered by Arizona teens from 13 to 18 years old.

"This challenge is a great way to inspire younger generations to spend more time outside and to look at nature in different and creative ways,” said Tana Kappel, marketing manager for The Nature Conservancy in Arizona, in a recent news release. “This competition is also the driving force behind some great partnerships.”

"Killdeer" was the winning photo, taken by Sean Stubben, formerly of Gilbert, but now living in Tucson. It required a bit of patience, according to Sean, who took the photo at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve.

“It had just flooded and was dried out a bit. There were some mudflats where birds were eating bugs. I just waited in the mud for the birds to come by,” said Sean.

Second place went to Trenton Gillikson of Prescott, for his photo from Ramsey Canyon Preserve, a part of the Nature Conservancy in Southern Arizona.

“I was shooting there all day,” said Trenton. “I looked behind me and there was a bridge and the sun was setting. When I came home and saw it, I thought it was really cool.”

Dallin Webb from Gilbert thought his photo submit was a long-shot, but it nabbed him third place. “I haven’t been doing photography that long. I submitted my photos hoping I might get something so it’s pretty cool to be in the top three.”

Contest winners were awarded up to $10,000 in prize money, plus gift certificates and passes to Nature Conservancy preserves in Arizona.

First place received $5,000; second place received $2,500; and third place received $1,000. All honorable mentions earn $250. They are:

  • Ethan Hill, Gilbert, “Cake Layers”
  • Austin Olsen, Amado, “Clouds rushing over the rock formations at Monument Valley”
  • Tara Poseley, Chandler, “Snail obscured”
  • Sean Stubben, Tucson, “Black-necked stilt”
  • Brinlee Vick, Gilbert, “An angel gets its wings”
  • Alyssa Wiltbank, St. Johns, “Follow Mama”
  • Cassidie Waldron, Tucson, “Orange butterfly on yellow flower”
Orange butterfly on yellow flower
Orange butterfly on yellow flower (Source: Cassidie Waldron/The Nature Conservancy/The Nature Conservancy)

Contest winners will also have their photos published by the sponsors: The Nature Conservancy in Arizona, Arizona Highways magazine and Cox Communications. Plus, the top three winners will receive a photography workshop from Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

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