The smell of grilled salmon wafted through the trees off West Lake Okoboji.
Small black noses twitched and mouths watered as four small raccoons peered over the limbs of a tree to see who was cooking such deliciousness.
It was at that exact moment that David Curry, 61 of Dakota Dunes, SD, clicked the shutter button, capturing an adorable photo of the four raccoon youngsters in the tree.
The photo earned Curry first place in the bi-annual photography contest at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji last fall.
The nature center’s spring photography contest is now open, with a deadline of April 1, and all ages are invited to submit their best nature shots.
Images must have been taken in the last year in Dickinson County and should highlight the diversity of life on Earth, including wildlife in its natural habitat, plant life, weather, landscapes and seasons.
“Dickinson County Conservation Board parks and areas are great places to capture gorgeous photos,” said Kiley Roth, community relations coordinator. “Trumpeter swans and other waterfowl are flocking to the wetland in Kenue Park during spring migration, and Judd Wildlife Area is always a beautiful place to capture the Iowa tallgrass prairie at its finest.”
Photographs are due by April 1 and will be classified into three age groups: 13 and younger, 14-18 or 19 and older. All submitted images will be on display at the nature center through September.
Winners in each age group will be notified via e-mail by April 15. Their images will be featured prominently in the photography display at the Dickinson County Nature Center, as the nature center’s October Facebook cover photo and on the nature center’s website. Winners will also receive a $5 gift certificate to the Nature Store at the nature center.
How to enter
Photographers may enter up to three photos 5-15 MB in size to firstname.lastname@example.org labeled as firstnamelastname_location, for example johnsmith_horseshoebend. Photos should be jpeg, png or tiff files. In the body of the e-mail, include the photographer’s name, location of the photo, approximate date taken, age of photographer, city of residence and a short photo caption.
All images should display content appropriate for all ages. Please do not include photographs of pets or domestic animals, human recreation, the willful harassment of wildlife, damage to the environment by the photographer, photos that put any individual or animal in danger or images that infringe on the rights of another photographer or person.
Photographers retain all rights to their images except for use by Dickinson County Conservation.
For more information, contact 712-336-6352, e-mail us, or stop by the Dickinson County Nature Center, 2279 170th St. in Okoboji 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. You can also keep up with the latest happenings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.