Home News The winners of the “And the Ding” Darling Amateur Nature Photography Contest have been announced

The winners of the “And the Ding” Darling Amateur Nature Photography Contest have been announced

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The winners of the “And the Ding” Darling Amateur Nature Photography Contest have been announced

Heidi Dirkse’s “On the lookout for Love” took first place. COURTESY PHOTOS

On Oct. 5, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) held an official judging for its thirty first annual “Ding” Darling Amateur Nature Photography Contest. It announced the 2023 winners Oct. 21 on the inaugural Art within the Wild festival at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island.

Judges chosen three winners and 10 honorable mentions out of 91 entries from 14 states and three countries. All photograph entries were shot on the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge complex. Judges included a refuge staffer, photographer/artist, and member of the Sanibel community.

“Despite the disruption from Hurricane Ian, the competition generated much excitement and nostalgia amongst photographers and our judges,” said April Boehnen, DDWS manager of events, marketing, and communication and contest coordinator. “The photographers found our resilient wildlife and enduring beauty once more.”

First place went to Heidi Dirkse from Maine for her portrait of a reddish egret titled “On the lookout for Love.” Contest judge and Sanibel resident Laurie Harkey commented: “The photographer caught their subject in an instance of full plumage – a striking moment in nature.”

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