We had over 700 stunning entries in this year’s contest! By entering their photos in our contest, these photographers are helping Wild Ones further its mission. Wild Ones uses contest images in Wild Ones publications, promotional materials, presentations and on the our websites so that others may be inspired to learn about native plants and natural landscaping.
First-place category winners were awarded a $50 prize. Second and third-place category winners received bragging rights.
We were proud to have the 2023 Photo Contest judged by the following volunteers:
Gayle Tucker – Artist, Photographer, and Avid Native Plant Lover
Holly Latteman – Wild Ones National Board Director and Science & Conservation Manager: The Dawes Arboretum
Lori Purk – Missouri Master Naturalist
Melissa Ziemer – Photographer, Graphic Designer, and Native Plant Enthusiast
Nancy House – Artist and Photographer with a PhD in Visual Arts & Education
Robert Smith – Photographer and Wild Ones Member
Sandi Ford – Professional Photographer and Native Plant Enthusiast
Sven Anderson – Art Professor specializing in digital imaging using both photographic and painted digital mediums
All images are the property of Wild Ones and should not be downloaded or used without permission.
Best In Show Winner
(voted by the judges)
Photographer: Janet Lewis
Title: If You Plant it They Will Come
Chapter: River City-Grand Rapids Area
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Photo Story: I purchased some Cardinal flower at my local native plant sale 3 years ago. It bloomed for the first time last year, and I was thrilled to see the hummingbirds visiting it regularly. I set up my camera and waited for the perfect moment! I love how the bird’s throat touches the flower stamen, collecting pollen which it will carry to the next flower.
Peoples Choice Winner
(voted by current Wild Ones members)
Photographer: Bryan Dahlvang
Title: Bee Fly on Blanket Flower
Chapter: Partner At Large
Location: Ft. Cobb, OK
Photo Story: While walking along the shoreline of Ft. Cobb Lake, I saw several Bee Flies sipping nectar from some Blanket Flowers and I was amazed at this one’s eyes. I’d never seen one with eyes like this before.
Camaraderie and Native Plants
Photographer: Dan Holtmeyer
Title: Eye of the woods
Location: Olympic National Park, WA
Photo Story: The photographer’s husband takes a closer look at a bigleaf maple arching over the Hall of Mosses trail in Olympic National Park, creating the appearance of a large eye gazing at the viewer — perhaps a reminder to watch our step, literally and figuratively. Here, stair-step moss and other epiphytic plants create a thick layer of life upon every available surface, an ostentatious example of the interwoven ecosystems that cover every square inch of the world around us.
Photographer: Jessica Ausnehmer
Title: First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland
Chapter: Greater Cleveland
Location: Shaker Heights, Ohio
Photo Story: First Baptist Church in Shaker Heights Native Garden Installation – Chapter member Ann Cicarella was the project lead for this effort. This effort was done also in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation through their Sacred Grounds program.
Photographer: David Silsbee
Title: Enjoying Alpine Wildflowers
Chapter: Mountain Laurel
Location: Beartooth Mountains, MT
Photo Story: On a backpacking trip in southwestern Montana, bad weather prevented us from visiting the high peaks that we were aiming for, but the upside was many hours spent in colorful alpine meadows.
Fauna with Flora
Photographer: Catherine McKenzie
Title: Chippie and Cuppie
Chapter: Fox Valley Area
Location: Appleton, WI
Photo Story: I have photos of butterflies, bees, and birds on the cup plant so was thrilled to add the delightful acrobatics of this chipmunk going for what must be delicious and/or nutritious seeds!
Photographer: J Samuel L Wharton IV
Title: Fox in Flowers
Chapter: Partner at Large
Location: Waitsfield, VT
Photo Story: This fox often crosses the meadow I maintain beside my house.
Photographer: Kali Longworth
Title: Song Sparrow in Summer
Location: Mequon, WI
Photo Story: I took this photo a few weeks ago in my backyard, and loved the beautiful colors of both the bird and the tree as well as it’s contrast.
Photographer: Scott Krahn
Title: Stacked up Saguaros
Chapter: Menomonee River Area
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Photo Story: While hiking in Arizona, I was able to use a long lens to stack up several saguaros.
Photographer: Bette Kauffman
Title: Palm Psalm
Chapter: Western Gulf Plain
Location: Dauphin Island, AL
Photo Story: These trees grow just tall enough for the photographer to get under them to photograph the early morning light, enhancing the curves of the blades.
Photographer: Suzanne Asaturian
Title: Paw Paw in Bloom
Chapter: Illinois Prairie
Location: Makanda, IL
Photo Story: I hike daily and especially in the spring. One of my favorite trails for wildflowers is Rocky Bluff Trail in Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge. The Paw Paw tree produces this delicate, yet beautiful flower which becomes a yummy fruit later in the spring/summer.
Photographer: Joanne Valek
Title: Pollinator Garden
Chapter: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Location: Emmaus, PA
Photographer: Ruth Hilfiker
Title: Backyard Prairie
Chapter: St. Croix Oak Savanna
Location: New Richmond, WI
Photo Story: My husband and I planted a 3/4 acre native prairie in our backyard 3 years ago which has now matured and is a wonderful, colorful alternative to a grass lawn.
Photographer: Sheila Walters
Title: Pond and Flowers from Driveway
Chapter: North Oakland
Location: Farmington Hills, MI
Photo Story: These flowers were planted by Dr Peggi Tabor and are native to the area. We purchased the property in early spring after she grew a garden and established a Wildlife Habitat over a period of 30 years. The pond is entirely contained on the property and has an artesian spring.
Photographer: Cathy Streett
Title: Birchwood Park fall
Chapter: West Cook
Location: Darien, IL
Photo Story: Great re-do of shoreline at Birchwood Park – native habitat
Photographer: John Magee
Location: Ashburn Village, VA
Photo Story: This is a pollinator garden created on some HOA common grounds in the Village of Ashburn Village in Northern Virginia. It was the first of it’s kind in the county and is home to many pollinators as they pass through the area.
Photographer: Sue Barrie
Title: National Railroad Museum Native Garden
Chapter: Green Bay
Location: Green Bay, WI
Photo Story: Our Green Bay chapter of Wild Ones planted this native garden at the entrance to the National Railroad Museum in June of 2008. This photo is a portion of the garden. Thanks to numerous Wild Ones volunteers and support from Stone Silo Prairie Gardens, this garden continues to be maintained and is the longest community project for our chapter.
Pollinators–Insects, Butterflies, Bats or Birds
Photographer: Patty Berry
Title: Bi-Colored Striped Sweat Bee
Chapter: St. Charles
Location: O’Fallon, MO
Photo Story: I enjoy the insects on my native plants
Photographer: Jen Bolger
Title: Mirabilis & Hornworm
Chapter: Front Range
Location: Denver, CO
Photo Story: Grew Mirabilis longiflora from seed (Select Seeds) and this Sphinx Moth caterpillar enjoyed the buffet.
Photographer: Nan Pokerwinski
Chapter: River City-Grand Rapids Area
Location: Newaygo County, MI
Photo Story: One of many fritillaries and other pollinators on the native coneflowers in my front yard garden this year.
Photographer: Kristina Main
Title: Golden Moments
Chapter: Fox Valley Area
Location: Waupaca, WI
Photo Story: This photo was taken in November.
Photographer: Kaitlyn Bottorff
Title: Prairie Dock at Dawn in Wiscoy Valley
Chapter: Big River Big Woods
Location: Winona, MN
Photo Story: This photo was taken on my morning dog walk in the prairie restoration behind our home. The beautiful bluff topography of the Driftless Region of southeastern Minnesota can be seen in the background, and this location is a beautiful mosaic of forest, prairie, wetland, and trout stream habitats. Prairie Dock is the start of the show this time of year with its massive, tropical-looking leaves and towering flower stalls. Having a prairie restoration in our backyard has added an immeasurable amount of enchantment to our everyday lives, as captured in this moment. It’s hard to believe these vistas are now routine!
Photographer: Barbara DeGraves
Title: Taylor Hollow Spring Wildflowers
Location: Westmoreland, TN
Photo Story: Blue-eyed Mary, Dwarf Larkspur, Trillium, Wild Ginger, Maidenhair Fern and more make a spectacular spring wildflower display in this moist rich Middle Tennessee forest hollow. Managed by The Nature Conservancy, Tennessee Chapter, I’ve had the privilege of hiking and photographing this biologically diverse hollow for the past several years. Can you spot the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail foraging among the early native flowers?