Capturing Nature’s Magic

The new Garden for Wildlife™ photo contest yields backyard gems.

  • Lisa Moore
  • Garden Photography
  • Apr 01, 2019

LAST YEAR, the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife™ program launched a new photo contest for wildlife gardeners. Supported by Botanical Interests and American Beauties Native Plants, the contest drew some 2,500 images from across the nation. “We were thrilled to see so many high-quality photos of wildlife living in a Certified Wildlife Habitat® and other native plant gardens,” says Garden for Wildlife Senior Director Mary Phillips. The youth and grand prize winners appear here. To see all the winners, visit

GRAND PRIZE Julia Bartosh was roaming through her yard in Notasulga, Alabama, when she saw this tiny squirrel treefrog (above) crouched on the plump purple orbs of an American beautyberry. “Frogs are one of my favorite subjects,” says Bartosh. “They have stunning eyes.” To attract frogs, Bartosh installed small “bucket ponds” across her yard. The native beautyberry lures insects—a favorite frog food—and also yields a vivid perch for photographs.

SAmerican Goldfinch In a Meadow of Various flowers, Connecticut

YOUTH PRIZE At age 13, Nathan Rees of Southington, Connecticut, is already an avid wildlife photographer. While visiting a meadow to photograph insects, he spotted an American goldfinch (above) perched on a bloom and made this memorable portrait. “Kids tend to spend more time inside these days and don’t always recognize how amazing nature is,” says Rees. “I want to show them what they may be missing and why it’s so worth saving.”

More from National Wildlife magazine and the National Wildlife Federation:

Garden for Wildlife Photo Contest Winners »
Garden for Wildlife Photo Contest Honorable Mentions »
Getting Youth to Focus on Nature »
Keeping the Wild in Wildlife Photography »

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