07.14.20 – AMES, Iowa – Iowa Learning Farms (ILF), a conservation-focused education and outreach program for Iowa farmers and landowners based at Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach, has announced the winners of its inaugural Beauty of Conservation Photo Contest. A panel of judges selected the top four prizewinning images in adult and youth categories, and a People’s Choice winner was selected through online social media voting in each category.

According to Liz Ripley, ILF conservation outreach specialist and coordinator of the contest, participation in the contest exceeded expectations and provided a challenging assortment for the judges to consider. “We received 131 photos submitted by 56 photographers from all over Iowa and as far away as Florida,” said Ripley. “The variety, quality of the images, obvious careful consideration and imagination exhibited by the photographers was awesome.”

Mary Swalla Holmes, a writer and photographer from Polk City, Iowa, contributed her professional expertise to the panel of judges. She commented that she was honored to be a part of the program, and noted, “There were so many wonderful images submitted, in both the adult and youth categories, capturing a wide range of conservation practices, that it was difficult to narrow it down to a few winners. Really we all win when we see the beauty in conservation, in a field, in a stream or in a wildflower. The images reflected the relationships between humans, wildlife and the land in very artistic ways. Thanks to Iowa Learning Farms for this opportunity to see and share the beauty of conservation.”

Beauty of Conservation Photo Contest Winners
Adult (18+) Category

  • First Place                Ryan Heiniger, Burlington, Iowa             Soybeans Planted Green into Rye
  • Second Place          Becky Van Wey, Vinton, Iowa                  No-till CC
  • Third Place              John Schmidt, Ocheyedan, Iowa            Trumpeter Swans Visit the Pond
  • Fourth Place           Ed Kocal, Blue Grass, Iowa                     Stream Buffers Make a Difference!
  • People’s Choice    Colleen Rossiter, Westside, Iowa              Pollinator Restoration at Sunset

Youth Category

  • First Place                Ian Spry, Ames, Iowa                               Great Blue
  • Second Place          Johnathan Haspels, Little Rock, Iowa      Cover Crop Planted at V3 Corn Stage
  • Third Place              Franny Burke-Vens, Madrid, Iowa            A Purple Coneflower
  • Fourth Place           Ellyanna Haspels, Little Rock, Iowa          Bee in a CRP Pollinator
  • People’s Choice    Annaliese Kamps, Ankeny, Iowa                A Break in the Prairie

“The educational goal of this contest was to encourage people to consider all aspects of conservation which surround them,” continued Ripley. “Receiving entries with images of people, machinery, crops, wildflowers, pollinators, landscapes, waterways and wildlife, makes it clear that conservation cuts across all parts of our lives and each person sees its beauty in their own way.”
The photos entered in the contest can be viewed on the ILF Facebook page or by following these links.
Adult Category Entries  Youth Category Entries