Ranger Rick Magazine Selects Best Wildlife Photographer

Conservation photographer Christian Ziegler wins NWF magazine award

05-03-2012 // Susan McElhinney
August 2011 Cover of Ranger Rick

Christian Ziegler of Balboa, Panama, has been named the recipient of the Ranger Rick Photographer of the Year Award for 2011. Ranger Rick is the 45-year-old award-winning children’s nature magazine for 7 to 12-year-olds, published by the National Wildlife Federation, America’s largest conservation organization dedicated to protecting wildlife for our children’s future.

Ziegler’s photos appearing in the magazine during the past year included a story for in the August 2011 Ranger Rick where he focused his camera on the life in one tree – the Balsa tree in tropical America. This tree hosts multiple species that alternately eat on the flowers, nectar and each other, during a critical time of the year. From kinkajous to hummingbirds, snakes and insects he shows the marvelous and important web of life in one focused example.

“Under threat in many ways and vanishing on all continents, tropical forests harbor the majority of life forms on our planet and deserve our protection,” said Susan McElhinney, photo editor for Ranger Rick magazine. By introducing some charismatic forest animals and their interesting biology, Ziegler hopes to raise awareness for the problems and support for conservation efforts.

Having had photos chosen for use in the magazine over the course of the year, Ziegler was automatically included in the awards process designed to recognize the photographer who has done the most during the calendar year to help the magazine delight children with spectacular photographs, inspire a greater understanding of the natural world and help nurture a lifelong commitment to conservation.

Ziegler is a biologist-turned-photographer specializing in tropical natural history. His most recent new book, Deceptive Beauties, is a comprehensive journey with orchids around the world. A frequent contributor to National Geographic, he has covered topics ranging from tree frogs to ocelots, tropical bats to African primates. He likes to think of his work as translating science, ecology, and natural history into images that make these subjects more accessible to a broad public.

Ziegler is an associate for communication with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and a founding fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. He has received honors in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, European Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and Picture of the Year International competitions. For more information about Ziegler’s work, please visit his website, www.naturphoto.de.

Ziegler was selected for his photographic contributions to the magazine by a panel of top nature photography experts and Ranger Rick editors. The judges collectively felt that Ziegler’s photos reflect his exceptional passion for wildlife, regard for field ethics, his superior technical expertise and his ability to tell an engaging story through pictures.

“Christian Ziegler demonstrates how a focused dedication can make a difference,” concluded McElhinney.

Along with bragging rights, the award comes with a $1,000 award and a short article about Ziegler’s photography in the upcoming May issue of Ranger Rick.

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