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Photo Contest Celebrates Habitat at Home

2023 contest winner: Ruby Crowned Kinglet. Photo by Cathy Bester

Conserving Carolina invites you to enter the fifth annual Habitat at Home spring photo contest, which celebrates the beautiful and wild things we can see right outside our door. The contest was created to inspire more people to restore natural habitat at their homes, as well as places like schools, businesses, and houses of worship. The contest starts April 5 and runs through May 15.

Conserving Carolina is looking for photos that showcase ways that people are restoring natural habitat—such as native plant gardens or bird boxes. They are also looking for photos of animals spotted around homes and other buildings. This can include the full range of wildlife from the smallest to the largest. In past contests, people have shared photos of lizards, toads, turtles, snakes, butterflies, moths, beetles, bees, birds, deer, foxes, bobcats, bears, squirrels, and much more!

2021 contest winner: Bluebirds. Photo by Denise Booher

Communications and marketing director Rose Lane, says “The contest is a way to inspire more people to restore wildlife habitat where they live. That’s important because animals need a lot more habitat than they can find in parks and nature preserves. We’ve seen major declines in insect and bird populations because they don’t have enough habitat—and that affects all other wildlife. So if you restore some natural habitat at your place, you’re doing something important for nature. And you can see the results. That’s good for people because now we have more awe and beauty in our lives. And kids have more to explore and discover in their own backyards.”

The contest is a part of Conserving Carolina’s ongoing Habitat at Home campaign. Through seasonal columns, online outreach, and in-person speaker events, Conserving Carolina shares tips on how to improve habitat where you live. For example, you can:

  • Avoid pesticides! Killing insects harms all the creatures that depend on insects for food.
  • Grow native plants. They are a much better source of food than introduced plants.
  • Replace invasive plants like English ivy or Bradford pear with native plants that support wildlife.
  • Let plants and trees grow around your streams, instead of mowing to the water’s edge.
  • Provide resources like birdhouses, bat houses, bee hotels, and birdbaths.

The contest is open to both advanced photographers and people who are just having fun. Youth entries are encouraged. The primary goal is to celebrate nature near home and inspire more people to improve wildlife habitat.

To enter the contest, simply post your photos or videos on Facebook and/or Instagram, as a public post with the hashtag #habitatathome2024. If you do not use social media, you can enter the contest by emailing You may enter as many times as you want between April 5 and May 15. To be eligible for prizes, photos must be taken in Western North Carolina or Upstate South Carolina.

After the contest ends, a panel of judges will select five finalists. The grand prize winner will be chosen through online voting. The grand prize is a professional landscape consultation by Mark Byington of Byington Landscape Architects, an expert in sustainable landscapes. The other four finalists will win $25 gift cards to their choice of local businesses that sell native plants.

You can see full contest rules at

Conserving Carolina is a local nonprofit land trust that has helped protect almost 49,000 acres in Henderson, Polk, Rutherford, Transylvania, and surrounding counties. The group’s mission is to protect, restore, and inspire appreciation of the natural world. To learn more or become a member, go to


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