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Wyatt Humphreys' 'Portrait of a Blue Grosbeak' was among the winners in recent DNREC photo contest.

From May through mid-August, the DNREC invited photographers and nature lovers to submit their best photographs taken on the Tony Florio Woodland Beach Wildlife Area and the adjoining Aquatic Resources Education Center (AREC) near Smyrna. Now the results are in for the new annual contest.

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Aurelia Thomas took this colorful photo of Woodland Beach's 'Winter Tide.'

To increase public awareness of the natural wonders of AREC and the surrounding wildlife area, children and adults were encouraged to visit the area to take and submit photographs of aquatic life, birds and other wildlife, scenic landscapes, and people enjoying the outdoors. The scenic area is a destination along the Delaware Bayshore Byway that features two fishing ponds, trails, and a raised boardwalk with vistas across the tidal salt marsh to Delaware Bay.

Entries were accepted in three categories: birds, nature and people enjoying nature; and in three age groups: children younger than 13, teens ages 13 to 18, and adults 19 or older.

The 2021 winners for children younger than 13 were:

  • Nature — “Winter Tide” by Aurelia Thomas; and
  • Birds — “Portrait of a Blue Grosbeak” by Wyatt Humphreys.

For teens, the winner was:

  • Nature — “Rain Drops on Leaf” by Bella McDannell.

For adults, the winners included:

  • Birds — “Ringed-neck Duck” by Sherry Abbott;
  • Enjoying Nature — “A Different Perspective” by David S. Vallee; and
  • Nature — “Winter Hike at Dusk Near the Marsh” by James Blackstock.

Winning photos are posted on the DNREC website and featured in DNREC’s Outdoor Delaware online magazine, at de.gov/outdoorde. Judging was based on how well the photos represent the criteria of things you can see and do at the Woodland Beach Wildlife Area, originality/creativity and universal appeal. The judging panel included DNREC educators at the Aquatic Resources Education Center.