Friends of Princeton Open Space kicks off 9th annual photo contest

Photo of a luna moth by Sydney Vine, courtesy of Friends of Princeton Open Space.

Friends of Princeton Open Space, a nonprofit devoted to land preservation and stewardship in Princeton, has announced its 2024 photo contest, “Perspectives on Preservation.”

The annual contest is sponsored by the REI Co-op on Route 1 in Lawrence. Now in its ninth year, the contest originally coincided with REI’s Opt Outside campaign the day after Thanksgiving. Now accepting photos taken in any season, the contest continues to be sponsored by REI and encourages photographers to explore the Mountain Lakes Open Space Area all year round.

“We’re grateful for the continued support we receive from our friends at REI Co-op,” said Fran McManus, photo contest co-coordinator and longtime FOPOS board member. “REI recognizes the importance of time spent outdoors, especially its benefits to our health and well-being. We couldn’t agree more.”

Each year, photo entries showcase the diverse forms of beauty photographers find in and around the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve. The contest builds awareness of the preserve’s role in protecting biodiversity and enhancing the quality of life in the Princeton community.

“Our goal is to encourage residents to explore the natural world more deeply and for us to learn what our community loves and values most about the Mountain Lakes Preserve,” McManus said.

Photographers are 17 and over are invited to submit up to three photographs of the Mountain Lakes Open Space Area, which comprises the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve, Mountain Lakes North, John Witherspoon Woods, Community Park North, Tusculum Preserve, Pettoranello Gardens, and the J. Seward Johnson, Sr. Trail & Boardwalk. Student photographers ages 16 and under are also invited to compete in the contest to win gift cards from Princeton-based businesses: jaZams, LiLLiPiES, and the bent spoon.

Photos for submission can be taken at any time of year during the past three years as long as they have not been submitted in a previous FOPOS photo contest. There is no entry fee.

Entries will be judged on their aesthetic merit, creativity, and originality and how they help to celebrate the Mountain Lakes Open Space Area as a refuge for nature and visitors. One winning photograph will be chosen in three categories and the photographers will receive a $100 gift card to REI Co-op. In addition to the winning photographs, approximately twenty photos from the submissions will be selected for FOPOS’s annual photo exhibition in December 2024.

Entries must be submitted by midnight on Sunday, Sept. 8. For contest details, rules, categories, and age ranges, visit fopos.org or email photos@fopos.org.