GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History is accepting entries today through Sept. 9 for the third annual Pollinator Photography Contest. Winners will be announced Oct. 22 at the sixth annual ButterflyFest.
The national contest seeks to promote awareness of local pollinators through photography. All entries must include at least one pollinator, such as a bat, bee, bird, butterfly or moth.
Entry forms are available online at www.flmnh.ufl.edu/butterflyfest and at the Florida Museum of Natural History visitor services desk. Completed entries may be submitted in person at the museum or The Gainesville Sun, which is sponsoring the contest, or mailed to: Florida Museum Pollinator Photography Contest, P.O. Box 112710 Gainesville, FL 32611, or The Gainesville Sun, 2700 S.W. 13th St., Gainesville, FL 32608.
The contest offers two categories: adult, ages 18 and older; and junior, ages 10-17. Individuals may submit a maximum of three entries, which are $10 per photograph for the adult category and $8 per photograph for the junior category.
First- and second-place winners in each category will receive cash prizes and third-place winners will receive Butterfly Rainforest tickets. Winning entries and honorable mentions will be published in The Gainesville Sun on Oct. 23 and featured on the ButterflyFest website. The museum will also display winning photographs through Nov. 30 in its Central Gallery.
“The contest is an opportunity to showcase the talent of the lovers of bees, birds, butterflies and other pollinators and to possibly discover a hidden jewel,” said Florida Museum audiovisual coordinator Jeff Gage, who will serve as a contest judge.
Judges will select winning entries based on the depiction of the pollinator in its natural setting, the clarity, focus and attractiveness of the image and whether the photo was received or postmarked within the designated timeframe, between Aug. 22 and Sept. 9.
“Our environment produces photographic challenges and opportunities for all skill levels, so the judges are excited to see what images participants can capture,” Gage said.
ButterflyFest is dedicated to increasing awareness of Florida’s butterflies as fun, fascinating ambassadors to the natural world. Event activities and presentations promote inquiry and provide a call to action for the conservation and preservation of backyard wildlife and habitats.
This year’s keynote speaker is Naomi Pierce, curator of Lepidoptera at the Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology. Pierce’s research focuses on the biodiversity and evolution of insects, especially butterflies and their symbionts, or the organisms they have a relationship with, as well as behavioral ecology.
Through her research, Pierce recently proved Vladimir Nabokov’s theory that Polyammatus blues originated in Asia and traveled to North America via the Bering Strait. She also proved that this group of butterfly species arrived in North America in five separate waves.
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