Conserving Carolina invites you to enter the fourth annual Habitat at Home spring photo contest, which celebrates the beautiful and wild things we see right outside our door. The purpose of the contest is to inspire more people to restore natural habitat at their homes, as well as places like schools, businesses, and houses of worship. The contest starts April 1 and runs through May 15.
This year, the contest comes less than a month after best-selling author Doug Tallamy spoke at the sold-out Gardening for Life Celebration in Columbus, NC. Tallamy, who wrote Nature’s Best Hope, is co-leading a nationwide movement to create what he calls “Homegrown National Park”—20 million acres of natural habitat that we can bring back by replacing half of the area currently in mowed lawns with native plants that support wildlife.
At the event in Columbus, Tallamy said, “You don’t have to save biodiversity for a living, but you can save it where you live. This approach empowers each one of us. It also shrinks the problem into something manageable for each one of us. Focus on the part you can influence. And remember, you are nature’s best hope!”
This photo contest invites people in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina to show what Homegrown National Park can look like, by entering pictures of their native plants and the wildlife they see in their gardens, yards, and landscaping. This may include bees, butterflies, frogs, salamanders, lizards, turtles, birds, bobcats, deer, bear, and much more.
Rose Lane, Conserving Carolina’s Communications and Marketing Director, says, “The contest is open to everyone from professional photographers to people who are just taking pictures for fun. We also encourage youth entries. The contest is for everyone because we can all celebrate nature and inspire others to create more habitat at home. That’s important because wildlife urgently need more places to live. But it’s also for us—so we can have more life, beauty, connection, and surprises in our everyday life.”
To enter the contest, simply post your photos or videos on Facebook and/or Instagram, as a public post with the hashtag #habitatathome2023. If you do not use social media, you can enter the contest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You may enter as many times as you want between April 1 and May 15. To be eligible for prizes, photos must be taken in Western North Carolina or Upstate South Carolina.
After the contest ends, a panel of judges will select five finalists. The grand prize winner will be chosen through online voting. The grand prize is a professional landscape consultation by Mark Byington of Byington Landscape Architects, who is an expert in sustainable landscapes. The other four finalists will win $25 gift cards to their choice of local businesses that sell native plants.
In addition, some contest entries will earn online “shout-outs.” Lane says, “I can genuinely say that we love seeing every single entry. While we leave the final decision to the judges, the shout-outs let us give props to outstanding youth entries or images that capture something special, while the contest is still going on.”
You can see full contest rules at conservingcarolina.org/contest2023.
Conserving Carolina is a local nonprofit land trust that has helped protect over 48,000 acres in Henderson, Polk, Rutherford, Transylvania, and surrounding counties. The group’s mission is to protect, restore, and inspire appreciation of the natural world. To learn more or become a member, go to conservingcarolina.org.