2009 EcoArt Award Winners

EcoFilm Competition 2009 Winners

EcoPhoto Competition 2009 Winners

Connecting to Nature 1st place: Connecting to Nature
Submitted by: Molly Steinwald
School Name: Miami University (Oxford , Ohio)

“No Child Left Inside” urges parents to reconnect their children to nature; but the task is challenging for urbanized, technologically-bound populations. Parents and children must first become comfortable in nature, must learn about it, and must then feel empowered to protect it. Through collaborative activities, we—in our work as nature researchers, educators, writers, and photographers—can engage both generations. Be they our relatives or those in our local communities. If we each prioritize sharing—even a small part—of our nature experience with others, we can help raise a future generation of environmentally literate citizens and bring hope for a sustainable world.

Shifting Carbon 2nd place: Shifting Carbon
Submitted by: David R. Godwin
School Name: University of Florida (Gainesville, Florida)

Students and staff from the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida conducted an experimental dormant season prescribed burn in flatwoods vegetation surrounding the school’s carbon flux tower at the Austin Cary Memorial Forest. The School of Forest Resources and Conservation is committed to engaging students in the latest science driven ecosystem restoration and management practices.

The significance of this photograph lies in the intersection of three key aspects of ecological science: research, management and education. These three avenues will drive the future of the ecological science.

Burning from Within 3rd place: Burning From Within
Submitted by: Garrett W. Meigs
School Name: Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon)

This photo captures a striking moment in the immediate postfire environment, a rarely-seen and seldom-studied place. It shows the profound transformational effects of wildfire within a high-severity patch, where fire killed most of the trees, consumed the entire forest floor, and dramatically altered carbon dynamics. Fire lingers within a large, previously-burned Pinus ponderosa tree in the foreground and slowly consumes a large log farther back. In the author’s opinion, the photo presents sharp light/dark contrasts, sparse but exciting colors, and an unusual depth of field that draws the eye into the hot flame but also into the still-smoldering distance.

EcoPoetry Competition 2009 Winners

1st Place
Invigorated by the heat of spring to
crack the pupal straightcoat,
fan two wings (liminally thin)
and stretch each fine cercus
to complete the body’s arc,

it mates and remates, gametes
teem, bearing
300 million years’ evolution
into aerial motion – then, suspended
in opaque globes, grow zygotes
enough to overwhelm
the fatal pressures of tomorrow,
to navigate the complexities
of youth without
the primate luxury
of grandparents.

- Kara Cromwell

2nd Place
Unprepared for glass,
mayflies strand their eggs on ripples
reflected in window panes

Helicopter seeds –
spend summer on
the sidewalk

On the asphalt oil and rainbows

- Kara Cromwell

3rd Place
[For Mrs. Dalloway]
“Trees are alive,” Séptimus said,
that shell-shocked sad madman
whose vision of truth
was too piercing to bear in the end.
But his supreme secret, his grand revelation
tells just half the tale.
The life that trees have is technically endless.
is not in their nature
like ours.
Allies, their alleles—
genetic “forever” spelled out in linked proteins,
and lived out in lignin and tannin and wood.
We animals, time-struck,
are steered toward our ending
before we are born.
Our genes work against us, mortally morphing
toward closure. But not so
the red oak, the basswood, the larch.
They’d keep on forever, excepting for fate’s whim:
wind gust or parching or snow weight or bolt blast.
That, or the gnawing or boring
or stripping or ripping
and just breaking down.
Like Séptimus, madman,
the bearer of insights:
    “The heat of the sun,”
    “fear, fear no more,” and
    “men must not cut trees.”
His dis-ease, like leaf-blight
    then dropping—
a life-ending leap of no-faith
into darkness or peace.
Or maybe, at least,
a cycle. For carbon,
our death-dust, keeps drifting, keeps sifting, keeps shifting
from biote to biote
in endless progression:
a kind of succession, it’s true. We, too,
are alive.

- Laura Nagy

Author's Note: Septimus Warren Smith is an important character in Virginia Woolf’s novel, Mrs. Dalloway, which is set in 1920s London. A shell-shocked young veteran of World War I, Septimus suffers from what we would now call PTSD; his hallucinations and the burden he feels from the tortured visions he perceives as “great truths” of life eventually lead him to commit suicide by leaping from the window of a psychiatrist’s office.