/ Community Engagement,

Enter the 2023 Habitat at Home Photo Contest

Bear with Buttercups, by David Huff
Last year’s winning photo, by David Huff

Show us the wild things where you live.

This spring, we hope you’re seeing lots of nature right where you live… and that you’ll share some of these special moments in our fourth annual spring Habitat at Home photo contest. 

Nature isn’t something that just belongs in parks and nature preserves. If you have a garden, a yard, some woods, a stream, school grounds, or some neighborhood green space, you can create space for wild things to live. And if you grow it, they will come!

Show us what you’re doing and what you’re seeing around your home this spring. Share a photo of your kids planting a tree. Or bees bustling around in your flowers. Or just keep your eyes open and your camera ready. In past contests, people have shared photos of bobcats, bear, deer, turkey, hawks, grasshoppers, butterflies, turtles, frog eggs, tadpoles and much more.

Pileated Woodpecker, by Denise Booher
Pileated Woodpecker, by Denise Booher

How to Enter the 2023 Habitat at Home Photo Contest

You can submit photos or videos. To be eligible for prizes and shout-outs, your entry: 

  • Must be taken in 2023
  • Must be submitted between Apr. 1 – May 15, 2023
  • Must feature one or more of these subjects: 
    • Wildlife that you see at your home or in your community. Wildlife includes both small and large animals, from bugs to bears. 
    • Projects to improve wildlife habitat
    • Native plants (Why? Because insects need them and insects are the basis of our food web.)
  • Must be taken at your home or your community. For example, photos may come from a school, community garden, or house of worship. We’re looking for photos that were NOT taken in parks, nature preserves, or protected areas. 
  • Must be taken in one of these counties: 
    • In NC: Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Polk, Rutherford, or Transylvania Counties 
    • In SC: Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, or Spartanburg Counties

To enter, submit your photo or video on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #habitatathome2023. You must make it a public post. 

We appreciate if you share your photos on social media to help spread the word. However, if you are not on social media, you may submit contest entries by emailing them to [email protected] 

When you post, please share where the photo or video was taken. 

Youth entries are encouraged! Please let us know if your photo is a youth entry.

Conserving Carolina’s staff, board, and AmeriCorps members and their immediate family may share photos in the contest but are not eligible to win prizes. 

You may enter as many times as you like between April 1 and May 15.  

Conserving Carolina may share your photo or video in connection with the contest, with credit to you as the creator.

You are Nature’s Best Hope

The Habitat at Home contest reinforces the message of Doug Tallamy, bestselling author of Nature’s Best Hope and keynote speaker of the Mar. 4 Gardening for Life event in Tryon. As he says, “The good news is we can save our insects, our birds, and nature itself… but we’ll have to change the way we landscape.”

We’re also inspired by local farmer and educator, Kim Bailey, who says, “Planting a seed is one of the most hopeful things you can do. And when you get the plant and the butterfly actually comes and lays her eggs on it or uses it for nectar, you see, ‘It worked!’ You’re asking people to do something that helps the environment but you’re also giving them a way to experience joy and beauty… Everyone wants to do something to help, but it’s a happy thing that you’re doing and it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. It’s contagious. It’s an empowering thing and it’s a joyful thing.”

Bringing back natural habitat where you live is a hopeful, hand-on way to make a difference. And your photos can help inspire others, whether you’re a pro or just having fun.

Bee emerging from the ground – by Heather Rayburn

How to Win the Photo Contest

1. Earn Shout Outs

Conserving Carolina will be recognizing outstanding entries with online shout-outs throughout the contest period. You don’t have to be a world-class photographer to earn a shout-out. Our staff will be giving shout-outs to entries that impress us. For example:

  • Great Habitat at Home projects: Show us what you’re doing to improve habitat where you live. This can include before-and-after pictures; “before” pics may be taken prior to the contest timeframe. 
  • Special Wildlife Encounters: Capture a visit from an animal that is rare, beautiful, unusual, or impressive. 
  • Outstanding Video Entries: Show us wildlife in action. 
  • Outstanding Youth Entries: Remarkable photos or videos by children or teenagers may earn a shout out. Please let us know if your photo or video should be considered a youth entry.    

Shout-outs don’t come with prizes—just props. We’ll share your awesome photo or video on our social media channels, with credit to you as the photographer.  

Conserving Carolina staff and AmeriCorps members will decide which entries merit a shout-out. These decisions are separate from the selection of contest finalists made by our panel of outside judges. 

2. Win Prizes

After the contest deadline of May 15, a panel of judges, including experts in photography and gardening, will select five finalists. Finalists will be chosen based on these criteria:

  • Striking subject matter in keeping with the theme of “Habitat at Home” 
  • Artistic merit 

After the finalists are announced, there will be a week of online voting. The winner of the online voting will be the grand prize winner.

The grand prize is a professional landscape consultation. You can win a two-hour consultation donated by noted local landscape architect, Mark Byington of Byington Landscape Architects, known for his emphasis on sustainable landscapes. Mark will meet with you to discuss possible solutions for any site related issues at your home or another place that you are involved with, such as a school, church, community garden, or neighborhood green space.

The four runner-ups will each receive a $25 gift certificate to the business of their choice from this list of places to get native plants

Insect on an Indian pink – by Corrie Woods

Thank You for Celebrating Habitat at Home!

Thank you for improving wildlife habitat where you live and for inspiring others to do the same! We are so excited to see the beautiful and wondrous things happening at your place.