July 23, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
70°F

Bounty of backyard art

By JOHN BENSON

Special to The Gazette

Picture-perfect photos are what naturalist Meredith Krajewski said the Medina County Park District’s annual Nature Photo Exhibit is all about.

This year’s entries can be voted on from Jan. 17 to Feb. 19 at the Wolf Creek Environmental Center exhibit, with the winners being announced Feb. 20.

“The contest is for anybody who wanted to submit photos,” Krajewski said. “You don’t have to be a resident of Medina County. There are a couple of rules. The major one is the photos need to be taken within our park district, and we have different categories for them to submit photos. This year for the adults, we have landscape, nature close-up, wildflowers and plants, fungus and people in the parks. We have a special section for kids 15 and under with animals, plants and general nature.

“We’ll do a best of show (award) for adults and kids. So during the timing of the exhibit, anyone who comes into the Wolf Creek Environmental Center is allowed to vote. It’s open to the public, and they choose which picture from each category they like best and which picture they like for best of show.”

The Nature Photo Exhibit has grown since its inception in 2005. While last year the park district received only 73 submissions, this year’s event boasts 124 photos. Krajewski believes a combination of word spreading about the contest, as well as the creation of a Medina County Park District photo club is the reason for the increase.

“We have a lot of people who are returnees, but you never know what you’re going to get,” Krajewski said. “It’s always fun receiving the photos for the first time and looking at them.”
While there are prizes — donated gift certificates from area businesses — for various category winners, it appears most photographers are interested in receiving affirmation of their photographic talents.

As for the Medina County Park District, Krajewski said the Nature Photo Exhibit has succeeded in adding exposure and traffic to its various locations.

“For the most part we like to get people out to see different parks,” Krajewski said. “So maybe they’ve never been to River Styx Park, and maybe they’ll want to go take a specific picture of something there. It’s just so that they’re more aware of what’s going on in nature.”

She added, “I just have people come in, and they’ll say they took a picture in the park, and they’ll tell me they’ve never been there or they’ve never been on that trail back there. So it makes them more aware of what’s around in Medina.”

The Nature Photo Exhibit can be viewed daily Jan. 17 to Feb. 19 at the Wolf Creek Environmental Center, 6100 Ridge Road, Sharon Township.

For more information, call the Medina County Park District at 330-722-9364 or visit www.medinacountyparks.com.

Benson may be reached at ididhear@aol.com.