I’m always pleased to present the winners of “National
Wildlife” magazine’s annual photo contest. This year’s winning
photos seem better than ever.
The magazine’s editors say they continue to be surprised by the
quality of the entries — which reached 28,000 in the 2012 contest.
And they were pleased to see expected and unexpected animal
behaviors shown in the images.
To view the top winners and the stories behind the photos, go to
“2012 Photo Contest Winners” on the National Wildlife
The photo of the leopard seal and the baby penguin captures a
moment after the seal ambushes the bird and starts playing with his
food. The photographer, Amos Nachoum of San Francisco, had to hang
out patiently under water to catch this and similar images.
The photo of sockeye salmon was captured when photographer David
Hall of Woodstock, N.Y., tried to escape the swift current by
taking refuge near a tree trunk. The stream is the Adams River of
I recently stumbled on a series of cartoons created for the
Public Broadcast System that features wild animal babies exploring
the natural world. Geared to very young children, “Wild Animal Baby
Explorers” appeals to children’s basic curiosity, and I can see how
it could get kids interested in animals and ecosystems.
For adults, the cartoon may be more annoying than amusing, but
if you have youngsters you may want to give it a chance.
I have never seen this series on our local affiliate, KCTS, but
I may have just missed it. I also cannot find any local programming
information about the show, which was launched at the end of 2010.
news release. If you know more about the show, feel free to
The program is based on a children’s magazine published by the
National Wildlife Federation. The ongoing
website offers educational materials and, of course, a line of
products for people to buy.
One can check out the video
page for short clips taken from the 13-minute cartoon segments.
Meet the individual animal babies on
video, and learn more about their personalities through
written descriptions by clicking on the rotating banner on the
If you like what you see, DVDs of the series can be purchased
from online retail stores.
A new collection of inspirational nature photographs has been
compiled for the 2010 photo contest sponsored by National Wildlife
Federation. The winners, just announced, touch you with their
beauty, emotion and sometimes humor.
The photo at right was taken by Natasha A. Svoboda on a rainy
day in Ohio’s Whetstone Park. Svoboda took this picture of her
sister looking at tadpoles swimming in small pool of water. The
photo, which captured first place in the division called
“Connecting People with Nature, Amateur,” demonstrates that
stunning images may be all around us if we take time to look.
Judges liked the “contrast between the lavender umbrella, dress and
flowers and the brilliant green foliage” that takes on an “almost
It is but one of the 32 wonderful winning photographs featured
in a slide show in the online version of
National Wildlife Magazine. Editors also are planning a
slideshow of honorable mentions from the 50,000 entries received
If you love nature photographs as I do, there is another contest
worth watching. The Nature Conservancy has announced the finalists
of its annual contest, and there is still time to vote for your
favorites. Go to the “2010
Finalists” page to view the thumbnails, click to enlarge (I
prefer the Flicker image), and then vote on the page “You Be the
By the way, past winners from both contests can be viewed on the
two websites mentioned above.
Environmental education has undergone a revolution since the
first Earth Day 40 years ago, as I describe in a story I wrote for
Sunday’s Kitsap Sun, which I called “The Evolution of
The word “sustainability” is emphasized in the new “Integrated
Environmental and Sustainability Education Learning Standards.”
Unlike other educational standards, this new approach does not
include specific grade-level expectations.
The standards call for an understanding of: 1) Ecological,
social and economic systems, 2) the natural and built environment,
and 3) sustainability and civic responsibility.
I hope you’ll read
the Sunday piece, which includes an interactive map of
environmental programs and projects across the Kitsap Peninsula.
You’ll meet Lisa Hawkins, a first-grade teacher who built an
outdoor classroom — a certified wildlife habitat — in a courtyard
at Poulsbo Elementary School.
This amazing young teacher has a special relationship with her
students, especially when they are exploring freely and finding
connections among living things.
Here are some links for creating habitats to foster
environmental learning at all grade levels.