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HAZLETON – We are excited to share the results of the 2021 Buchanan County Natural Areas Photo Contest. Photos were judged by Kip Ladage ( at a public program on September 22. Winning photos will be on display at the Fontana Nature Center as well as on our website.

This year’s overall winner by Dave Harms of Independence is a great example of a photograph that tells a story. With a splash visible in the water behind it, the barn swallow’s mouth remains open as it skims off after getting a drink.

Harms also had the winning wildlife photo with a trio of ducks – a pair of mergansers and a canvasback – in stop motion as they took off from his farm pond. Seems he has a great place to sit back and capture wildlife without leaving home.

Danny Murphy of Hazleton was the winner in the landscape category for the second year in a row. This year’s entry is an image of a bright red barn amidst the encompassing white of a winter’s hoarfrost. Danny commented that he had been waiting for just such a morning to capture the barn he thought would be a standout under such conditions.

Having Fontana Park in his “backyard,” Murphy is ready with camera in hand when visiting. He was able to capture a group of women enjoying a sunny fall day kayaking on Fontana Lake for the winning people enjoying nature photo. Although the women’s facial features are not clear, it sure looks like they are enjoying themselves from his vantage point.

Alexander Franzen did not have to travel far for his winning photo either, shooting his image of wild geraniums in the ditch near his southeast Buchanan County home near Coggon. Wild geraniums have a slightly fuzzy stem; Alex’s photo shows those highlights as well as the pink-and-white details of the flowers in minute detail.

Congratulations to all of our winners and contest entrants – there were many other photos that made the selection of these winners a challenging decision. Our overall winner received a $100 award from Friends of Fontana Park; winners in each category were awarded $50.

Surely, there are more of you taking great photos – keep your best Buchanan County Natural Areas images in a special folder – digital or paper – and make it a point to enter yours in next year’s contest.

Winning photos and 2022 contest rules will be online soon at

You can always find information there about upcoming events and programs as well as information on all our county parks and properties.

We look forward to seeing new photos from all of this year’s participants, and from other amateur photographers, in next year’s contest.

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