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The Greater Arkansas River Nature Association awarded their annual photography prizes in a warmly competitive award ceremony at The Boathouse in Salida on Oct. 11. Voting was competitive across all categories, with voting for the People’s Choice Awards garnering 421 responses.

“This is the fifth year of the Photo Contest Fundraiser, so GARNA is starting to have quite the collection and an important record of scenery and wildlife in the Upper Arkansas Valley,” said GARNA Executive Director Dominique Naccarato. “Encouraging those in the valley to photograph is one way to instill a sense of place, and evidence shows that those who know a place will be more inclined to take care of it.”

Winners of the GARNA photo awards are front row, left to right: Sandra Ewald, Andrea Wilkerson, Linda Gibbas and Jody Bol (photo contestoOrganizer). Back row, left to right: C. Gail Hunter, Ronda Starling Davis, William Day, Colin Treworgy, Logan Myers and Reed Dils.

Some 27 photographers submitted 110 photos in this year’s GARNA competition. Judging was done across six photo categories: bird, holiday/winter landscape, mountain, river, wildflower and wildlife. New in each topic category this year was a novice category, in which those new to photography could try out their skills.

As in years past, GARNA will make the photographs available for greeting cards, prints, mugs and calendars. Photo contest participants will receive discount rates on their orders. Businesses can place their orders with a pre-printed message. Photo product ordering opened on Oct. 15. and all orders can be placed at www.garna.org .

The photo competition and product sales are a fundraising project. “Funds generated from the sale of these items will support important GARNA educational programs for youth and the whole community, and volunteer efforts to take care of the place that we love,” said Naccarato.

As the Arkansas River Valley’s only local, broadly focused conservation and educational institution with nonprofit status, GARNA relies on contributions from partner public agencies, map, publication and promotional sales, and grants.