Lonely Planet Writer

Photography contest highlights natural beauty of US wildlife refuges

The winning images in an American photography contest show off the natural beauty and animals in some of the country’s wildlife refuges.

American Kestrel at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Wash. | Credit: Dennis Davenport, Grand Prize Winner
American Kestrel at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Wash. | Credit: Dennis Davenport, Grand Prize Winner Image by Dennis S Davenport

The National Wildlife Refuge Association, a non-profit that promotes a network of conservation land and waters in the US, held a photography contest to highlight the country’s more than 560 national wildlife refuges.

Harbor seal pup at Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge in Ore. | Credit: Steve Dimock, Third Place Winner
Harbor seal pup at Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge in Ore. | Credit: Steve Dimock, Third Place Winner Image by Steve Dimock

The grand prize winner was a photo of an American kestrel perched on a cattail at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Washington.  The photo was taken by Dennis Davenport of Portland, Ore., and shows the kestrel, the smallest North American falcon, gazing at the camera.

“America’s national wildlife refuges are outstanding places to capture the beauty of nature and the wonder of wildlife,” said David Houghton, president of the National Wildlife Refuge Association. “Nature photography is a growing passion on our wildlife refuges”.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Fla. | Credit: Craig Goettschof, Second Place Winner
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Fla. | Credit: Craig Goettschof, Second Place Winner Image by Craig Goettsch

According to the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the refuge system is the world’s premier system of protected public lands, encompassing more than 150 million acres of land and water in every U.S. state and territory, plus more than 418 million acres of national marine monuments.