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Lake Simcoe shot wins coveted award in national photo contest

Local resident Elissa Devenz won a 'public favourite' award for her mid-flight action shot of a bird gliding above the lake

A photo by a Lake Simcoe-area resident of a Great Blue Heron "who flies by our waterfront every night" has been chosen as one of the winning photos in a national photo contest that aims to celebrate the beauty of Canada's lakes.

Elissa Devenz won Public Favourite for the Lake Biodiversity category for her mid-flight action shot of the bird gliding above Lake Simcoe in a national photo challenge organized by Living Lakes Canada.

The national non-profit is focused on water stewardship, and their event aims to raise awareness around growing impacts on lake health.

"Photography has the power to capture hearts and minds and inspire positive change," the organization said in a news release. 

Images that show the "wonder of natural lakescapes, glimpses into the lives of wildlife, and intimate moments of people in nature" perfectly describe the photos submitted to the recently completed 3rd Annual Lake Biodiversity Photo Challenge, Living Lakes Canada said.

For the first time since the contest was launched in 2020, photos were submitted from every province and territory.

"With 629 submissions flooding the online gallery, this mosaic of photography perfectly captures the spirit of lakes in Canada," the release states. 

From this selection of entries, a Public Favourite winner was selected in four different categories via an online voting system where a total of 1,609 votes were cast in August. 

In addition to the Lake Simcoe photo, the other public favourite winners were:

Three Judges’ Favourite winners were also selected by a panel that awarded Judges’ Favourite in the Lake Landscapes category to Richard Smith for a shot of Lake Okanagan after an afternoon rainstorm.

Rachelle Mack won Judges’ Favourite in the Lake Biodiversity category for her photo of a frog seeking cover under a lily pad on Lake Scugog, Ont.

Chelsey Breeze won Judges’ Favourite in the Lake Impacts category for an eagle’s eye shot of urban infrastructure along Lake Ontario in Burlington.

A Judges’ special mention goes out to L. Mehner’s photo showing how plastic pollution is impacting wildlife on the shores of Lake Winnipeg.  

The kids’ conservation organization and Lake Biodiversity Photo Challenge partner Earth Rangers awarded Judges’ Favourite in the Kids Category to Alexa Kornik for a mountainous picture of Lake Minnewanka, Alberta. 

Winners of the Lake Landscapes, Lake Biodiversity and Lake Impacts categories will receive prize packages with items from Kicking Horse Coffee, Lush, Teadore, Laykhaus and Float-Eh. Earth Rangers has supplied a prize that will go out to the Kids Category winners. 

The 2023 Photo Challenge was made possible thanks to funding from the RBC Tech for Nature program.