You’re invited to vote for a top photo

What’s the Indiana that you imagine when you close your eyes?
That was the prompt for the third annual Farm & Nature Photo Contest. The contest is hosted by Oak Heritage Conservancy and George Rogers Clark Land Trust. Amateur photographers submitted over 270 photos. Each one had to be taken in Indiana.
Together, the photos show the natural beauty of southern Indiana: An orange sunset over an old barn. Kids playing on the farm. Cattle grazing on lush pasture. Birds out the window in the winter.
Now, the public is being invited to vote for a grand prize winner from those chosen as finalists. Photos taken by two local residents are among the finalists.
Meg Poehlmann took her winning photo in the Oxbow, the wetland between Greendale and the Ohio River. She captured an American gold finch in summer.
“It’s a great break to get out in nature and see what is happening that particular day, since each day presents something different. Best medicine for stress!” she said.
Sherri Cutter, Dillsboro, captured a shot of her grandkids on her family farm.
“We LOVE having the grand kids come to the farm,” said Cutter.
“‘Moo’ was the first word for a couple of little ones! They come here to swim and play in the sandbox and play basketball out at the barn, explore in the woods and down by the creek, climb in the hay mow and ride the ranger and four-wheeler,” she said.
“I always said that there is no better place to raise kids, and there’s no better place to have the grand kids come visit. Clara told me that the farm is her ‘happy place’. I think it is mine, too.”
The photo contest encouraged the photographers to get outside, spending time in nature, said Liz Brownlee, executive director of Oak Heritage Conservancy. Their group, along with George Rogers Clark Land Trust, hosted the photo contest.
The organizations are both nonprofits. Oak Heritage protects natural areas for the public, including old growth forests, wetlands, and butterfly habitat. George Rogers Clark protects working farms, keeping the land open for crops and pasture.
“But we don’t just host the contest for the photographers. We want to get everyone thinking about the beauty here in southern Indiana. We hope people will ask themselves: what do we love about our community? How can we all help protect the beauty of Indiana forever?”
“These are the pieces of Indiana that we all want to see flourish and grow – the things worth protecting,”
To see the 40 winning photos, visit http://oakheritageconservancy.org/get-involved/photoexhibit/. There, visitors can see the photos and vote for a grand prize winner.
Everyone is invited to vote one time, and one time only. Voting will end in March, after the photos have been exhibited around southern Indiana.
The grand prize winner will receive a one-year membership to Oak Heritage Conservancy.
“Our members are the backbone of our group,” said Brownlee. Oak Heritage Conservancy has 15 nature preserves in southeast Indiana. The preserves are free and open for the public to hike on and explore. The group also hosts programs in nature, like scavenger hunts and butterfly walks for families.
“Our members fund this conservation work – and they enjoy getting to know other nature lovers at our events,” said Brownlee. To learn more about joining Oak Heritage Conservancy, visit www.oakheritageconservancy.org.
This project is made possible by the Indiana Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.