The Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association hosted photo and poetry contests during the coronavirus quarantines as a way to encourage families to get outdoors and reconnect with nature while staying properly distanced.
In the photo contest, a total of 117 images taken by photographers from throughout the Middle Susquehanna River watershed drew 729 votes. All images submitted in each of the 12-and-under and teen categories received at least one vote, as did 60 of the 74 adult-submitted photos.
Voting was encouraged online, and guest judges were also factored into the final score. Award-winning photojournalist Robert Inglis, of Danville, joined renowned nature photographers Dr. Joseph Simons, of Wilkes-Barre, and Michael Kinney, of Williamsport, to choose their favorite entries. Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association board members (which includes Simons) Kathy Snavely, Ann Fisher and Caz Russell also helped judge the contest beyond our online voting.
Winners were selected in three age categories: 12 and under, 13-17 and 18 and older.
First place in the adult category was Darlene Hoffman, of Selinsgrove, with a photo of a sunset along the Susquehanna River near its convergence at Sunbury. Second place went narrowly to Rachel Deitrick, of Watsontown, with a scenic landscape photo of a field with bales and the sky above. Third place went to Duayne Foust, of Sunbury, for an image of butterflies resting along the banks of the Susquehanna River.
In the teen division, Alana Eicher, 16, of Mifflinburg, took top honors with a creekside photo taken while on a hike with her family near Chimney Rock. Second place went to 15-year-old Luciano Spaventa, of Northumberland, with a photo of pink tree blossoms framed with a blue sky behind.
First place in the 12-and-under category was won by Noah Stump, 12, of Shamokin, with a photo of a bridge found in Wesley Forest near Weikert. The second place photographer was Marina Baca, 11, of Scranton, with a cool image of clouds, sharing: “The photo I took was of the afternoon sky in my backyard. I just thought the clouds looked so awesome that day.”
To check out all the photos entered, including our winning images and more about the winners, click here.
Two winners were chosen in our Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper poetry contests.
Emma Straub, 8, of Selinsgrove, won the youth division with a haiku she wrote:
They’re precious nature.
They are sweet because they bloom.
Flowers are God’s gift.
Paige Kepner, of Muncy, won the adult category with a series of nature-based haikus:
Gray mist ghosts by
gray clouds coat the sky
water talks over rocks
A lone jay calls
bubbles part ways over rocks
leafless trees stand watch
Perched at water’s edge
looking ... listening
... living ... a river moment
Wrens ring the woods
cool breezes caress
russet leaves dangle
as the river flows by
Camp chair cradled
snapping pictures, writing poems
praying with creation
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.