The winner of the People's Choice Award in the 2012 Prime Hook Nature Photography Contest is Peggy Douglas of Rehoboth Beach.
Her winning photograph garnered the most votes from those viewing the hundreds of entries in the ninth annual contest. Everyone who viewed the exhibit sponsored by the Friends of Prime Hook had the chance to vote for his or her favorite photograph.
Her photograph, "Back to the Sea," features a horseshoe crab on the beach at sunrise as it slowly returns to Delaware Bay after spawning. Douglas shot her photo at Broadkill Beach. The photo also won second place in the contest’s Native Wildlife Non-Bird category. "I'm still on cloud nine," she said.
Douglas placed her camera on the sand behind the crab to capture a close-up as it returned to Delaware Bay after spawning. The low camera angle was one of the most attractive and unusual elements of the photograph for those viewing the exhibit. The photo clearly shows the trail in the sand left by the ancient creature, often called a living fossil, as it returns to the water.
The exhibit concluded in December after being on display for two months at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge.
The judges for the contest - Marc Clery, David Koster and Kevin Fleming - had the difficult task of picking winners in the Native Wildlife (bird and non-bird), Delmarva Scenery, Native Plants and Flowers, and Beauty of Prime Hook categories. They also chose student winners in both junior and senior categories. The Best In Show winner was Ken Arni with a photo of two great blue herons fighting over a single fish.
Next year's contest will open in October. The contest is open to all nature photographers, both students and adults. It attracts hundreds of entries, and the Friends of Prime Hook invite all to take part in this yearly event.
For more information about the photography contest, the Friends group or Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, call 302- 684-8419.
The mission of the Friends of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge Inc. is to support environmental, educational and recreational activities and programs that increase the public understanding of the history, habitats and heritage of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.