Whether fishing, hiking, camping, hunting, photographing, looking for creatures, or just playing in nature, Missouri kids are having fun outdoors. The photos and stories from this year’s Kids in Nature contest showed how much Missourians of all ages appreciate and support our great conservation heritage.
“Our main goal was to encourage people to get outside with their families, and then to share their experiences with others,” says Cliff White, the Conservationist’s art director. “That is also why we conducted this contest through a social networking site. Though we are only recognizing our 10 monthly winners here, be sure to check out all the great entries on Flickr at flickr.com/groups/mdc-kids-in-nature.”
We hope you will find these images from our monthly winners as inspiring as we do. Congratulations to the winning families, and thank you to everyone who participated.
Be sure to check out our new Discover Nature section (Page 33) to learn this year’s photo contest
October Winner - Photo by Diana Hughes
Diana Hughes captured this photo of her 2-year-old charge, Evan Dale Edwards, playing in the leaves on one of their many walks in Blue Springs, Mo. Hughes is “Grandma” Diana to Edwards, and watches him during the day while his parents, Kerri and John Edwards, of Lee’s Summit, are at work. “We both enjoy going on walks together, and we especially enjoy our trips to Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area and Nature Center,” says Hughes. “There, Evan enjoys the snakes, fish, turtles, and activities in the center, along with a nice walk on the nature trail.” The Edwards enjoy camping, and Evan especially enjoys nature hikes, collecting rocks, and riding his bike and tractor. Hughes says her family also enjoys hiking and camping throughout Missouri.
May Winner – Photo by Robyn Gibbs
Robyn Gibbs took this picture of her 2-year-old daughter, Ravyn, photographing flowers in Foristell, Mo. “She loves being outdoors camping, rock hunting, and especially hiking,” says Gibbs. She says her family loves outdoor adventures and exploring Missouri’s natural beauty. “I love taking pictures,” says Gibbs, “and I was astonished to see her interest in photography at such a young age.”
February Winner – Photo by Todd Pridemore
Titus Pridemore found this antler shed in a small food plot near his Boone County home. “I had discovered the shed antler in this small food plot a few days after Christmas Day,” says Titus’ dad, Todd Pridemore. “But, I left it where it was so one of my boys could have the fun of discovering it for themselves.” The entire family enjoys spending time in the woods hunting deer, turkey, and squirrels. “Titus and his older brothers, Josh and Andrew, all enjoy catching fish in the small pond in front of our house,” says Todd Pridemore.
April Winner – Photo by Rebecca Bunn
Rebecca Bunn took this photo of her 2-year-old daughter, Nora, expressing excitement over a caterpillar found in their backyard in Hillsboro, Mo. Nora’s brother, Carter, looks on. “The caterpillars were a daily nature study for our family in the spring,” says Bunn. “We enjoy exploring the wonders of our backyard, watching birds at birdfeeders, finding turtles under bushes, and listening to woodpeckers pound away on trees. I love sharing nature with my kids, especially at this age. Through their eyes, I really appreciate how something so simple can inspire such awe and inspiration.”
July Winner – Photo by Rich Carter
Rich Carter submitted this image of his neighbor’s son, Brett Lohmeyer, blowing out a marshmallow at a backyard campfire.
September Winner – Photo by Vallorie Francis
Vallorie Francis took this photo of her son, Trusten, flying a kite on their farm in Edgerton, Mo. Francis says this was the first kite for Trusten, who is the second youngest of Francis’ seven children. “He was so excited on that windy day to fly his first kite, because his younger brother was taking a nap and his older siblings weren’t home from school, yet,” says Francis. “That meant he had it all to himself for a couple of hours.” Trusten has always been an outdoor boy. “He can usually be found outside, in a mud puddle or a dirt pile,” says Francis. “As a family, we go mushroom hunting in the spring, bike riding, fishing, and keep big gardens.”
August Winner – Photo by Kent Keitner
Kent Keitner of Galena, Mo., took this photo of his grandson, Levi Keitner, holding his first fish. Levi caught the fish on the James River during his first fishing trip. “While his dad, our son, was getting things ready to start fishing, Levi cast his line and immediately started reeling it in,” says Keitner. “His dad was shocked when Levi came up with his first fish!” Keitner says that Levi and his sisters love playing in and around the
November Winner –Photo by Scott Ziegler
Scott Ziegler took this photo of his 7-year-old grandson, Ben LaMontagne, shooting a bow for the first time at their property near Owensville. “He can’t wait to join me and his mom deer hunting on our property,” says Ziegler. The entire family lives in St. Louis County, but the family visits the country property as often as possible. LaMontagne loves to visit the property to go fishing.
March Winner - Photo by Jill Williams
Jill Williams took this photo of her husband, Chad, helping her son, Gage, tie a lure on his fishing line, while trout fishing at Bennett Springs State Park. “We usually go camping and fishing at Bennett Springs a couple of times a year,” says Williams. She reports that Gage caught several trout that day. “Our family loves the outdoors,” says Williams. “We like to go camping, fishing, hunting, and floating. Gage’s favorite outdoor activity is exploring the outdoors with his dog, Gunner.”
June Winner – Photo by Mauri Truesdell
Mauri Truesdell took this photo of her granddaughter, Elsie Kresse, age 8, showing a young turtle to Truesdell’s other granddaughter, Jade Kresse, age 3. After studying the turtle for a short time, it was released into suitable and safe habitat. “My family and I all enjoy outdoor activities,” says Truesdell. “We are a multi-generational family living together in Washington, Mo. We live just a few blocks away from the Missouri River and spend lots of time at the riverfront.” Truesdell says they have participated in river cleanups and have planted trees along the riverfront trail.