Photo contest seeks to promote nature awareness

Kimberly Railey

Citizens’ Greener Evanston, a non-profit environmental group, is now accepting submissions to its first nature-themed photography contest, titled “People, Planet and Harmony.”

Open to anyone around the world, the contest is also sponsored by the City of Evanston and the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern.

“We wanted to have a powerful impact on people’s minds and thought that this would be a way to reach out to people and show them the connection between humans and nature,” said Elizabeth Porporato of Citizens’ Greener Evanston.

Each photo submission should depict the interaction between humans and nature – either positively or negatively – and can be taken anywhere. Participants can submit up to five entries and must turn them in by May 20, Porporato said.

The competition features two separate categories and two subcategories: photos taken in Evanston and photos taken outside of Evanston, which are then further broken down into sections of photographers younger than 18 and older than 18.

Medill freshman Chelsea Corbin, who has already submitted photos for the contest, said the idea is both original and beneficial.

“I’m really passionate about the environment, and I think this contest will definitely encourage people to think more about why it’s important to maintain it,” Corbin said. “It’s a good way to bring people together for a great cause.”

The submissions will be judged by Paul Clark, photographer and adjunct instructor of photography at the Northern Illinois University School of Art; Chris Schneberger, photographer and teacher at the Evanston Art Center and Columbia College; and Paul Berlanga, co-director of Stephen Daiter Gallery.

The winning entries will be displayed June 18-19 at the 40th Evanston Custer Fair EcoVillage, which was voted “Best Art Fair” by North Shore magazine.

“We chose that location to show the pictures because it is attended by about 70,000 people a year, and the fair is really trying to create green awareness,” Porporato said.

By displaying the photographs publicly, the contest will help raise awareness of sustainability in the community, said Catherine Hurley, sustainable programs coordinator for the City of Evanston.

“The more we talk about sustainability, the more we see photographs, the more things that are in our consciousness, the better,” Hurley said. “It’s important because we want to make sure we preserve natural elements so that they’re here for generations to come.”

Hurley said the contest will also increase participants’ appreciation of the world around them.

“It will show us how we can live and grow and create with nature in harmony,” she said.

To enter the competition, participants can download at http://cgephotocontest2011.wordpress.com and submit it, along with their photos, online.

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