By Kathleen Swift

The 12th Annual Nature Photo Cover Contest showcases the amazing range of wildlife in our Four-States Region and the talent of our area photographers. From fawns to butterflies, horses to birds, you will find all kinds of natural beauty in these photographs. The proceeds from the contest benefit the Wildcat Glades Friends Group, which offers nature and outdoor programing for all ages. The group helps preserve our natural habitats for many species, as well.

Our thanks to those who shared their photographs, to our judges and to all who support nature and conservation in our beautiful Ozarks.

1st Place 

This portrait of a three-toed box turtle was captured by Stephen Miller in his backyard.
“I saw it and grabbed my camera, laid down on my belly in the grass and took several shots. While going eye-to eye with the turtle on the ground, it really cooperated and kept its head out of its shell.” Miller, who owns Reflections of Life Photography, loves to photograph nature and landscapes. 

According to local biologist and conservation educator Jeff Cantrell, box turtle numbers continue to decline for several reasons, including the illegal pet trade.

2nd Place

Mike Ritzman loves to walk at Wildcat Glades and Walter Woods photographing the birds and animals. But he found this handsome bluebird nesting on his own front porch and perching in a nearby redbud in full bloom. Mike likes to keep an eye on the comings and goings of the bluebirds, whose numbers continue to be very low, while he enjoys his photography hobby.

3rd Place

“I often walk and take photos at Mercy Hospital,” said
Amy Watts, “and that day, there were 1,500 to 2,000 cedar waxwings gathered there. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. The landscape at Mercy Hospital has so many species of trees for the birds. These waxwings were feasting on juniper berries by the Cancer Center. It was amazing.”

Kids Contest Winner Fourteen-year-old

Paige Blankenship was experimenting with the macro function on her new Canon EOS Rebel T100 camera when she captured the grasshopper on the daylily. Paige said, “I enjoy taking pictures and had only had my phone to use until Christmas, when I got my Canon camera. I like going out on the farm and around the house to take pictures.

Facebook Favorite 

Our Facebook Fan Favorite is this perfect monarch butterfly on a thistle taken by
Ashlyn Henderson. Ashlyn took the photo near Shoal Creek at Wildcat Glades, where she and her mom often walk. “I always take my camera with me when we walk because you never know what you will see,” said Ashlyn.

See all of the photos in Show Me The Ozarks March 2022 print edition or on our digital edition which can be found here on this website.