The photo of a green heron, submitted by wildlife enthusiast Matthew Schmalz of New Albany, was the winner in the annual Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp Photo Contest.
The first place photo appears on the 2017 Wildlife Legacy Stamp, which is now on sale, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
“I was thrilled to see my work published,” said Schmalz, who took the winning photo in Big Walnut Creek, where he was enjoying the view when the heron landed 30 feet from him. This is the first year Schmalz has entered pictures in the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp Photo contest.
The first runner-up photo of a black-crowned night heron was taken and submitted by Dean Davis of Troy. Graytown resident Sharon Cummings was selected as the second runner-up with her picture of a great blue heron.
The contest was open to Ohio residents, with 21 individuals submitting 58 native Ohio heron photos.
The idea for the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp began as a grassroots effort to inform the public about the need to fund wildlife conservation. Offering the stamp to the public has continued with the positive support of individuals and conservation groups throughout the state.
Fourteen dollars of every $15 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp sold are invested in the state’s Wildlife Diversity Fund. This fund supports habitat restoration, wildlife and habitat research projects, creation of wildlife educational materials, as well as efforts that restore and conserve endangered and threatened species. No state tax dollars are contributed to this fund. For people who purchase the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp, they can show their stamp at eight Ohio State Park lodges to earn a 25 percent discount on lodge rooms for weekday stays. The stamp holder must be present to receive this discount.
The contest was judged at the Fountain Inn in Lakeside during the annual Wildlife Diversity Partners Conference in September 2016. The judges of the photo contest were representatives from statewide conservation organizations, metro parks, science and education centers, as well as wildlife biologists, naturalists and outdoor writers. The photos were judged on originality, technical excellence, composition and overall impact.
The subject for next year’s event, the ninth Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp Photo Contest, is a native Ohio snake. Here in Ohio, snakes can be found in a variety of sizes, patterns and colors, making snakes a deserving choice to be showcased on the 2018 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp. People can learn more about Ohio native snake species by visiting wildohio.gov. Entries will be accepted Aug. 1-18, and the winner will receive $500. The selection of the winning photo will be made in September. The contest is open to all Ohioans age 18 and older. Visit wildohio.gov for complete contest rules. Entries must be submitted in a horizontal format only.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.