by Allie Schmalz, Dubuque County Conservation Naturalist

Dubuque County Conservation was thrilled to partner with Julien’s Journal on the Moments in Nature Photography Contest this year. Previously known as the “Capture Dubuque” photo contest, it was started to encourage people to get out and explore Dubuque County parks and recreation areas. Last held in 2010, we were happy to get the chance to revive it. This year’s enthusiastic response to the contest was a suprise, with 93 photo entries in seven different categories. Judges were astounded with the amount of talent in our Dubuque community, as well as the beautiful moments captured.

Junior – Wildlife category winners

Junior – Landscapes category winners

Junior – Plants category winners

This contest is important because of all that nature photography has to offer. When I experience nature with my camera, I leave with far more than just a set of pictures. The photos remind me of the things I saw on my hike that day, the people I was with, and the moments I enjoyed.

Nature photography has helped sharpen my skills as a naturalist. I am forced to stop and observe, to appreciate the small things that other people may just walk right past. I take the time to sit and just watch the behavior of any wildlife I encounter so that I might catch some interesting aspect of their daily routine. In short, photography makes me slow down and take in all the things nature has to share. I hope our entrants have gained similar experiences capturing their moments.

Adult Amateur – Wildlife category winners

Adult Amateur – Landscapes category winners

Adult Amateur – Plants category winners

Adult Amateur – People in Nature category winners

Come and check out the winning photos in the Moments in Nature photo exhibit at Swiss Valley Nature Center starting on Sunday, February 21-March 21.

Dubuque County Conservation seeks to provide opportunities for people to experience their own moments in nature no matter what their interests. Our naturalists strive to offer educational programming for all ages.

Recently our summer camps at Swiss Valley Nature Center have opened up for registration, to register and to find out more about our programming, visit or like “Swiss Valley Nature Center” on Facebook!


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