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Ding Darling Photo Winners!

First Place – Doug Meurer

Second Place – Kathleen Colligan

Third Place – Donald Howe


“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge recently announced the winners of its 29th annual “Ding” Darling Day Amateur Nature Photography Contest.

Three winners and eight honorable mentions were selected out of 118 entries from 18 states and two countries.  All photograph entries were shot at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island.

“As this year comes to an end, we start to reflect on what we are thankful for.  For us here at ‘Ding,’ nature always seems to be at the top of that list,” said Sierra Hoisington, DDWS development officer and contest coordinator.  “This photo contest is a reminder to all of us as to how gentle, constant, and gracious our wildlife and wild spaces are.  We acknowledge that the peace and solitude we feel at the refuge is shared by many and has the power to bring us all together.”

First place went to Doug Meurer of Fort Myers, Fla., for his portrait titled “Roseate Spoonbill & Reddish Egret.”  Contest judge and Refuge Manager Kevin Godsea commented: “ I love the colorful and playful nature of this photograph, as well as the variety of subject matter and the action it portrays.”

In second place was Kathleen Colligan from Bokeelia, Fla., with her photograph titled “Tri-colored Heron with its Reflection.”  “I particularly am drawn to the dark and light contrast in this photo, the composition, the framing of the mangrove branches, and the reflections on the water.,” said Karen Watson, a parttime Sanibel resident and interior designer.

Donald Howe from Savannah, Ga., took third place with a photo of snowy egret drinking water, titled “Blowin’ Bubbles.”  “I like the contrast between the dark water and the white feathers of the snowy egret as well as the photograph’s composition,” said judge Susan Beittel, a refuge volunteer who subbed for local photojournalist Kinfay Moroti when he had to cancel that day for medical reasons.

The winning photographs and honorable mention award entries will be on display in the Refuge Visitor & Education Center throughout the year, once it reopens.

To view the other top-ranking entries, click here!

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