Summer Photo Contest Winners

Written by Stephanie Wolfe, Membership Relations Coordinator | Published: September 11, 2023

We are thrilled to announce the winners of our second annual Summer Photo Contest! Participants from across the country contributed images showcasing the natural landscapes, diverse cultures, and wildlife that fuel their passion for working toward a sustainable future. Congratulations to our winners, and thanks to all who participated. You continue to inspire us!

First Place

Karl Leck, Chadds Ford, PA

Population Connection member since 2004

In December 2019, I set off on a return trip to Antarctica after 25 years to see the differences made by climate change. Along the way, I spent time in the interesting landscapes of Patagonia to photograph puma in the wild. Late in the afternoon, I was in a location with a long view of the rock towers of Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. In front of me was a green shrub contrasting the gray mountains and blue sky. When a colorful bird settled in its branches, this landscape scene had a subject, albeit small. It was a wonderful moment of peaceful beauty.

Why population stabilization matters to Karl

I have had the opportunity to travel to many places and observe the lives of my fellow humans. I have seen how natural resources can be abused, how water and arable land are critical elements to a peaceful society, how health care promotes a thriving community, and how respect and cooperation yield the most positive results. After 7+ decades, I have no children. It was a long, complex decision, and I am comfortable with it. I believe everyone should be able to make life choices for themselves. I support advocating for women to have the resources to do so. I agree with the philosophy ‘my body, my choice.’ I have participated in women’s rights demonstrations from New York to Washington and proudly support Population Connection. I know I cannot change the whole world, but I can do my part to moderate population, preserve natural resources, and support others who do the same. I am passionate about it!

Second Place

John Dwyer, Englewood, CO

Population Connection member since 2017

This photo was taken in May 2020 at Belmar Park in Lakewood, Colorado, which has a small lake in a park surrounded by a busy urban area. This lake has an island with a few small trees, snags really, that provide nesting areas. The two species that I’ve seen nesting there are great blue herons and double-crested cormorants, although snowy egrets, black-crowned night herons, Canada geese, barn swallows, spotted sandpipers, and others are often present. I was lucky to be there when there were two active heron nests, one with four nestlings and another with three. The timing was good since the nestlings were large enough to be easily visible. Nestlings stay in the nest for 49–81 days before they fledge. Great blue herons are magnificent creatures and one of my favorite birds. I love to watch them standing patiently, yet totally alert, waiting to catch a fish.

Why population stabilization matters to John

I’m a long-time supporter of Population Connection, from back when it was called Zero Population Growth. I consider its mission to be vitally important to a sustainable planet. Our current economic system of continuous growth with a limited resource base is not sustainable. Global warming, increased pollution, exhaustion of water supplies and other limited resources, species extinctions, the refugee crisis, and other issues are the result of excessive population pressure. In my opinion, your work is of primary importance in addressing these issues. I’m immensely grateful to you and everyone in your organization for the work you’re doing.

Third Place

Catherine Knoop, Laurelville, OH

Population Connection member since 1987

We hiked up through Flathead National Forest in Montana, just south of Glacier National Park, a place we’d always wanted to go—my husband is a naturalist, and I was a science teacher. This photograph captures Stanton Lake at the trail’s end.

Why population stabilization matters to Cathy

It’s a real concern for the planet and what I see happening. I think one of the main issues is looking at the population and our consumption. That’s why I value Population Education so much and love being a teacher trainer, because you have fantastic materials. I’ve been using them for years and recommend them to others so we can educate the future!

Find all of the incredible photo contest entries our members and supporters submitted here!