Through their eyes: Nature photo contest exhibit in place at arts center


An exhibit of nature photographs taken by amateur photographers will be displayed through Jan. 20 at Southern Indiana Center for the Arts, 2001 N. Ewing St., Seymour.

Amateur photographers took the photos in natural areas that are open for the public to enjoy, including state parks, wildlife refuges and nature preserves, and on family farms, Liz Brownlee said.

Brownlee is executive director of Oak Heritage Conservancy, one of the nonprofit organizations that sponsored the photo contest.

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The conservancy is a community group that creates nature preserves around southeast Indiana. The George Rogers Clark Land Trust also is a sponsor of the contest.

Amateur photographers originally submitted 260 photos to the nature photo contest. The photos had to be taken in Indiana, either at public natural areas like state parks, national wildlife refuges or local nature preserves or on family farms.

“Our judges narrowed it down to 37 photos, but we need people to chime in and tell us which photo deserves to win the grand prize,” Brownlee said. “Listen to your instincts and tell us which is the very best photo of nature and farms in Indiana.”

The exhibit will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 20. It will finish up with a reception on the afternoon of Jan. 20.

That event will serve double duties: to celebrate the winning photos and to dedicate a new nature preserve.

“We just opened a Lebline Woods Preserve about a half mile north of SICA along the East Fork of the White River,” Brownlee said. “This forest has incredible spring wildflowers, helps absorb the impacts of floods and is a fun place to stop and visit if you’re fishing or paddling the river.”

Brownlee said she hopes the exhibit is the start of a partnership with arts center.

Jane Hays, co-president of the center, agreed.

“Promoting the arts center, beautiful photography and the nearby nature preserve is what SICA is all about. Partnerships make everything a little better,” Hays said. “We are very excited to host this photo exhibit and help bring attention to the new preserve.”

Two of the photos in the exhibit were taken by Jackson County residents.

Stevie Combs of Seymour entered a photo showing the view through a young person’s eyes at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge.

“This place is special to me because before my father passed away, we used to drive around and watch the birds and just to get away from town,” Combs said.

Dan Morgan of Seymour shot a photo of his son, John, and his fiancée, Rebecca, on Skyline Drive east of Brownstown.

“We had taken a picnic lunch to one of my favorite spots to find solace and contemplate the path for the future,” Morgan said. “To me, this photo depicts a new beginning (standing on top of a hill, looking down on creation), which has many diverse roads, wide-open possibilities.”

After the arts center, a traveling exhibit of 16 of the photos will be displayed at farm meetings, including various soil and water conservation district meetings and the Indiana Small Farm Conference.

Finally, the photos will be displayed at Amack’s Well, a community coffee house in Batesville.

“We think that looking at these photos can help our community consider the importance of farmland to our southern Indiana communities,” said Pat Larr, a board member with the George Rogers Clark Land Trust.

“Take a look at these beautiful shots. We think you might see the Indiana you want your grandkids to see, too.”

The public is invited to vote for a winner between now and March 30. Everyone can vote once.

To vote, visit oakheritage exhibit or visit the exhibit in person at SICA between now and Jan. 20.

The photo contest and exhibit also are supported by the Indiana Arts Commission.

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About the sponsors of the photo contest

To date, the George Rogers Clark Land Trust has conserved 400 acres of working farmland, and Oak Heritage Conservancy has conserved more than 750 acres of farmland, forests, wetlands and meadows across southern Indiana.

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To view the 37 nature photos and vote, visit


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