The UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education recently held its annual photo contest. The contest received over 430 entries from across the country and Facebook fans voted to determine a winner in each category. Learn more about each winning photo and stories from the photographers.
Crops — Corn Harvest
Felicity Mejeris graduated from the University of Florida’s agricultural education and communication department in 2016. This department teaches students different communication methods and strategies and how to apply them to agriculture.
Mejeris’ photo gives a unique look at the practice of “chopping corn” in Florida. Mejeris now works for BMP Logic in Trenton, Florida. She coordinates marketing materials to help bridge the gap between agri-technologies, farmers and the general public.
Landscapes — Global perspective at Lake Alice
Mark Tolentino is a senior studying agricultural operations management at the University of Florida. He considers himself an advocate for sustainability and conservation in agriculture and in everyday life.
“I wanted to take this photo because of how serene [Lake Alice] looked. It was completely still and reflected everything on the surface like a mirror. I felt that doing a 360 degree photo would be a good way to use technology to connect people to the landscape I was currently enjoying,” said Tolentino.
“One of the biggest reasons I connect with this photo is because it is in a very familiar place,” said Tolentino. “I am on campus frequently, and yet, it was the first time I truly got to enjoy Lake Alice. As we go through our busy days, it is increasingly important that we take time to find quiet places and be still.”
Leadership in Agriculture and Natural Resources — Enthusiasm in the making
Matthew Borden is a student in UF’s Doctor of Plant Medicine program, a multidisciplinary program that has given him the ability to comfortably engage with the public on almost any topic. Borden communicates with the public about insect pests, pollinators and plant diseases in home gardens and farms.
In this photo, Borden was demonstrating the life cycles of important insects in Florida at a USDA-Agricultural Research Service booth which attracted the interest of a child. “Many of these kids receive very little opportunity in school to learn about the important life sciences that we focus on,” said Borden. “It is really encouraging when you can pique their interest and sense their excitement to learn more.”
“Bugs and plants are vitally important. It only takes a little bit of exposure to help most kids see that,” said Borden.
Borden connected with this photo because he still remembers when he was that age, and how an early interest in the natural world drove him to study the many areas of science that affect plant health. Borden wanted to take this photo because he was “hoping to inspire others to step into leadership roles in the life sciences, volunteer their time and help make an impact with the public.”
Livestock — Drink up
Ryan Beany is a third-generation cattleman. He raises purebred Brahman cattle to show across the state of Florida and the country.
Beany connected to this picture because it shows a unique view of the industry that he loves and is an example of why raising livestock is his passion. “I wanted to take this photo to show that the cattle industry is more than beef,” said Beany. “It’s baby calves, life, and nature. It’s helping young life grow to be better.”
People in Agriculture and Natural Resources — A cattleman’s future
Debbie Gill took this photo on her family’s ranch in Fort Lonesome, Florida. The boy featured in the photo is Gill’s own grandson, Eli Gill.
“I took the photo with my cell phone camera to capture Eli patiently waiting for the cur dogs to hold the cattle up in a bunch, all while there was a storm coming our way,” Gill said. “I am so proud of our grandson, who at 8 years old, helps his Papa work cattle on the family ranch.”
Wildlife — Determined to reach the destination
Ramesh Paudyal is a Ph.D. candidate at the UF School of Forest Resources and Conservation. He studies peoples’ perceptions of prescribed burning, a practice that increases the food supply of gopher tortoises among other benefits. Paudyal’s photo was taken in Ocala, Florida.
“I am very much connected with nature,” Paudyal said. He enjoys spending time in nature, especially when his time and patience produce a prize image. Paudyal spent over half an hour watching the gopher tortoise and taking its picture. “[This photo] is one of the best outputs of my passion and patience,” said Paudyal
The contest also named a best overall winner and a best in Florida winner. These two overall categories were judged and decided on by a panel of professional photographers. View the images and hear from the winning photographers:Best Overall and Best in Florida