2021 Contest Winners

Judges name WINNERS of the
2021 Conservation in the West


Show us the new era of
Conservation in the West


Judges Jennifer Coombes, Steve Weaver, and Josh Raab announce the 1st-3rd place WINNERS on EARTH DAY, APRIL 22, 2021.


Expert Panel Decision:

1 s t  P l a c e  

Distant Range
East of Colorado Springs, Colorado

Photo by Deming Haines, '21


Judge's comments:  Josh Raab

Sometimes the quieter moments capture the essence of a location better than the epic landscapes and action shots ever can. The gradient of color brings the viewer's eye vertically through the image and the shape of the clouds nearly repeated in the foreground makes for a wonderful composition. I would hang this on my wall to remind myself of the beauty of the Rockies.



The Rocky Mountain West has sunrises that never cease to amaze me. This photograph was taken east of Colorado Springs.

This image is melancholic with its vast, rolling hills covered with brown grass, yet hopeful with its colorful sky and wispy clouds. This combination of sadness and hopefulness tells the story of the Rocky Mountain West. The dark history of taking land from indigenous peoples, exploiting its resources and polluting waterways through mining and deforestation continue to plague us to this day. To preserve the monumental nature of Colorado and all of the Rocky Mountain West, an appreciation and understanding of the interconnectedness that we share is essential. Just like how the cloud in this photograph mimics the curvature of the distant mountain range, we must understand that our actions impact our environment. Although we cannot erase the dark history of the Rocky Mountain West, we can push for new policies that preserve and restore our ecosystem. With the continuing increase in awareness about climate change and the desire for action, there is more hope now than ever before to ensure that we protect what is dear to us.

By Deming Haines

2 n d  P l a c e

Cabin in Mayflower Gulch
Frisco, Colorado

Photo by Maddi Schink, '23


Judge's comments:  Jennifer Coombes

This image really rises above because the photographer is really looking and seeing. They have created a composition that tells us something and also connects to the ideas of what it means for humans to impact nature and how that has evolved through time. I enjoy looking at this image and imagining what it was like to stand there and see that view. I love the scene and how it instantly takes you someplace and forces you to think about what happened there. This is an example of a photographer working and thinking through a shot and not just seeing a beautiful landscape and taking a photo.



This photo was taken in the interior of a log cabin that served mining families high in the Rocky Mountains in an area known as Mayflower Gulch. The intersection of human-made and natural landscapes reminds us that the new era of conservation is about the innate value of protecting wild spaces, as well as recognizing human dependence on natural spaces for survival, recreation, and a meaningful connection with the Earth.  

by Maddi Schink

3 r d   P l a c e

Hanging Clouds
Grand Tetons, Wyoming

Photo by Kat Gruschow, '22


Judge's comments:  Stephen Weaver

Hanging Clouds is a very well seen and composed  grand landscape photograph of peaks in the Teton Range in Teton National Park. The placement of the clouds among the peaks in the beautiful morning light as well as the position of the foreground meadow elements make an excellent image that goes well beyond the typical cliche photo of the Tetons. 


This photo shows some low hanging clouds around the Tetons, taken from inside Grand Teton National Park. The meadows are integral environments for the ecosystem in the area, but also happen to be where much of the park’s main features are situated. This presents a complicated situation. The attraction of the National Park draws people in and inspires protection of the animals and environment, but the amount of traffic through the area disrupts the animals’ natural paths and lives. 

By Kat Gruschow






 People's Choice Popular Vote Winner

Front Range, Colorado

Photo by Bibi Powers-McCormack, '21



Two young white-tailed deer fawns stay close together as they run through the tall grass to catch up with their mother. Surrounded by an interstate highway to their west and subdivisions to the east, this deer family has only a small swathe of land to call home. Plastics and other debris float down the nearby creek, a reminder of the large and growing city upstream. Protecting these deer, along with the many other species that live within the area, require city developers, scientists, and citizens alike to consider the impacts of forest fragmentation, contaminated water, and the permanence of plastics.   By Bibi Powers


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