By JOHN BENSON
Special to The Gazette
Picture-perfect photos are what naturalist Meredith Krajewski said the Medina County Park Districtâ€™s annual Nature Photo Exhibit is all about.
This yearâ€™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.
â€œThe contest is for anybody who wanted to submit photos,â€ Krajewski said. â€œYou donâ€™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.
â€œWeâ€™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. Itâ€™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.â€
The Nature Photo Exhibit has grown since its inception in 2005. While last year the park district received only 73 submissions, this yearâ€™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.
â€œWe have a lot of people who are returnees, but you never know what youâ€™re going to get,â€ Krajewski said. â€œItâ€™s always fun receiving the photos for the first time and looking at them.â€
While there are prizes â€” donated gift certificates from area businesses â€” 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.
â€œFor the most part we like to get people out to see different parks,â€ Krajewski said. â€œSo maybe theyâ€™ve never been to River Styx Park, and maybe theyâ€™ll want to go take a specific picture of something there. Itâ€™s just so that theyâ€™re more aware of whatâ€™s going on in nature.â€
She added, â€œI just have people come in, and theyâ€™ll say they took a picture in the park, and theyâ€™ll tell me theyâ€™ve never been there or theyâ€™ve never been on that trail back there. So it makes them more aware of whatâ€™s around in Medina.â€
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.