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New York Bird Watching and Nature Photography Programs Offer Prizes

In mid-June, New York State announced two initiatives to get New Yorkers outside and engage with nature: one focuses on outdoor photography, the other on outdoor photography. ‘bird watching. Both offer prizes and are open for participation until October.

The photography program is called the 2022 Outdoor Photo Contest. It is a joint effort of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) , in partnership with, powered by Aspira, an online camping reservation system used statewide.

The program aims to “showcase the best of New York’s natural beauty and special destinations among New York State’s campgrounds and parks,” according to a statement released by the state. Winning images will be featured in future print and digital state campaigns.

Photos do not need to be new. Photos taken between June 15, 2020 and October 15, 2022 are eligible. State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid acknowledged that the pandemic years have brought large numbers of visitors to New York City’s parks.

“We encourage people who have captured their special moments and memories in our outdoor landscapes to submit their favorite images, and remind visitors planning new day trips and overnight getaways in our parks and camping this season to share those fun adventures as well. said Kulleseid.

The photo contest is open until October 15, with six categories open for submissions: camping life; seasonal spectacular; action and adventure; Trek; views and panoramas; and create memories. According to the state, entries will be judged on criteria such as originality, artistic composition, technical quality, and whether the photograph showcases the best of New York State Parks camping and outdoor activities.

A number of prizes are on offer for contest winners, including a grand prize of a $1,000 REI gift card, a four-person tent, an Empire Pass 2023 and a $250 NY camping gift card . Six winners in each category will each receive a $250 REI gift card, a 2023 Empire Pass and a $100 NY camping gift card. Winning images will be featured in the 2023 New York State Camping Guide and will be used in statewide promotions on social media, websites and print publications.

This isn’t the first time the state has held a photo contest. In 2018, a similar contest garnered 5,200 entries. Full contest rules and photos that have been entered so far are available online.

The other program, called I BIRD NY, is a challenge to get out and see the state’s different bird species. The state also encourages the use of the New York State Birding Trail, several locations of which are located in the Hudson Valley.

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New York is home to 450 different species of birds throughout the year. Under the umbrella of I BIRD NY, two programs are open until mid-October: the Beginner Birding Challenge and the Experienced Birding Challenge. The first is open to New York State residents ages 16 and under and is a quest to find New York’s 10 most common birds. The latter has no age limit listed on its form and is a challenge to find 10 or more New York birds.

Entries can be mailed or emailed until October 14th. All participants will receive a printable certificate of participation and will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win birding accessories. These accessories include binoculars and a telescope, considered a grand prize.

The state is using the contest as an opportunity to showcase New York State Bird Trail sites. Any entry in which half of the birds are identified at an NYS Birding Trail site will receive a double entry into the raffle. A number of these sites are located in the Hudson Valley and Capital Region.

“No matter where you live, birdwatching is a fun, easy and affordable activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, abilities, identities and backgrounds,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement. program announcement. “This summer is the perfect time to start birding or take your birding skills to the next level by watching birds in the wide variety of habitats and locations offered by the birding trail of New York State.”