Citizen Photographers Compete for Photo Placement on National Public Lands Pass
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30, 2015 – The U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the winner of the 2014 "Share the Experience" photography contest and launched the 2015 contest, which gives amateur photographers the chance to showcase their skills by capturing the beauty of the nation's public lands. The top-prize photograph, taken by Gregory Teller, features a touching moment of a polar bear and her cub in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Gregory Teller, Share the Experience Grand Prize Winner, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska
The "Share the Experience" photo contest highlights our nation's public lands – including national parks, wildlife refuges, forests and recreation areas – and draws entries from across the United States. As the grand prize winner, Gregory received $10,000, and his photograph will be featured on the 2016 America the Beautiful pass, an annual pass for entrance to more than 2,000 national public recreation sites. Each year, approximately 300,000 people purchase this pass, which pays for itself in as few as four visits to flagship national parks.
"Moments with mothers and their cubs were just perfect, especially this shot as the cub reached up to his mother," said Gregory, who took the photograph while visiting Alaska for the first time on a six-person tour to see the Northern Lights and polar bears. Photography is a hobby for Gregory, who frequently visits public lands. "I feel in love with the area. We stayed a couple of days in a village near the refuge where polar bears frequent."
"Taking pictures is one of the many ways to enjoy the splendor of our nation's stunning landscapes and share those treasured moments with with friends and family, as well as inspire others who may have never visited to get out and explore their public lands," said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. "We hope this opportunity inspires a new generation of shutterbugs to not only experience their country's unrivaled public lands and waters, but to share our natural and cultural heritage with their own families and friends."
Secretary Jewell also announced the addition of a new category – Every Kid in a Park – to the 2015 contest to support President Obama's Every Kid in a Park initiative. Starting in September, every fourth-grader in the nation will receive an "Every Kid in a Park" pass that's good for free admission to all of America's federal lands and waters – for them and their families – for a full year.
"Through these photographs we can all be inspired to visit and conserve our nation's public lands. These special places are ours to recreate in, to learn from and to care for," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "It is often through those connections with a national forest, park, wildlife refuge, or other area that sparks a lifelong passion for the outdoors and can lead to a desire to conserve those lands for future generations."
Eric DaBreo received the second-place prize of $5,000 for capturing a gorgeous sunset framing the Golden Gate Bridge while visiting Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, California. Jordan Moore received the third-place prize of $3,000 for a close-up view – taken at a safe distance with a telephoto lens – of a bison walking along the shoreline of a lake in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
Eric DaBreo, Share the Experience 2nd Place Winner, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California
Jordan Moore, Share the Experience 3rd Place Winner, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
About 22,000 images were submitted in 2014, and the annual contest had more than four million photo views. The 2014 "Share the Experience" photo contest is sponsored by the National Park Foundation, Active Network, and Celestron in partnership with the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.
Photographs for the 2015 "Share the Experience" contest must be taken between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. Contest entries are accepted from April 30, 2015 to December 31, 2015, and photographers can participate by uploading photos on www.sharetheexperience.org. Winners will be announced by May 1, 2016. All entries have the chance to be featured on the Interior Department's popular Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts.
Prizes include monetary awards, outdoor equipment, annual federal recreation passes and hotel packages courtesy of Historic Hotels of America. Prizes are offered for fan favorites and for one winner in each for the following six categories:
- Adventure and Outdoor Recreation
- Historical and Cultural
- Scenic, Seasons and Landscapes
- Every Kid in a Park (new category as part of President Obama's initiative)
- Night Skies
To view the 2014 contest winners as well as the 2015 contest rules and a complete list of prizes, please visit www.sharetheexperience.org.