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So Much Talent

Sometimes we’re amazed at the amount of talent here in Southwest Florida!

Case in point are the students that participated in the 6th Annual “Ding” Darling – Theodore Cross High School Photography Contest this year.

The competition invited high school students from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry counties to compete for prizes that included a Canon digital SLR camera package, chartered class trips to the refuge, Tarpon Bay Explorers excursions and copies of Waterbirds: Portraits and Anecdotes from Birding Adventures by contest namesake Theodore Cross.

With homes in Sanibel, Princeton and Nantucket, Theodore Cross was an avid bird photographer who received praise for his books Waterbirds and Birds of the Sea, Shore, and Tundra. In addition to a robust publishing career, he was also well known as a writer on civil rights issues.

“Theodore Cross’ family made this contest possible, and it has become a solid success story,” said Birgie Miller, DDWS executive director. “We couldn’t be more thrilled that the family wants its donations used in this way – to reach an age group that often falls through the cracks of conservation education. ”

“We are so happy to be supporting a contest in my father’s name, a contest that will get our youth involved with nature by looking at it – as my father so loved doing – through a camera lens,” said Amanda Cross.

This year’s contest drew 122 submissions by students from 16 different schools.

First place went to an image titled Owl at Sunset by Jackson Mytnik from Cape Coral High School (top left). Leaves at the Beach by Nathaniel Pechenino from Island Coast High School earned second place, and Inversion by Ethan Epperly of Port Charlotte High School took third place  (second and third photos, respectively, on top row above).

To view more of the student photos, click here!



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