Colorado College contest judges Emma Powell, photography faculty; Stephen Weaver, Geology technical director; and Jennifer Coombes, Office of Communications photographer and photo editor, announced the winners of the 2020 Conservation in the West Student Photo Contest on Earth Day, April 22, 2020.
“Spring Creek Fire,” by Austin Halpern ’20
Artist statement: This image was taken in the fall of 2018, just a couple months after the devastating Spring Creek Fire outside of La Veta, Colorado.
2018 was one of the most destructive fire seasons in Colorado history. Five of the 20 largest wildfires in Colorado history were recorded in 2018 alone. While the fire damage is horrific, what strikes me about this image is the regrowth, the bit of green that symbolizes hope amidst the sea of blackness.
“Cloth,” by Deming Haines ’21
Artist statement: This is an in-camera photograph (not photoshopped) of a cloth thrown up in the air in front of Pikes Peak.
Humans have control over what happens to beautiful landscapes and wildlife. We can use our power to destroy or be stewards of our earth. Our state of mind is in flux just like this cloth floating above Pikes Peak. Even though climate change seems unstoppable, humans can adapt just like the cloth can take a new form according to the breeze.
This photograph to me symbolizes the decisions that humans are currently faced with. We can choose to be a solid mass and come crashing down upon the beauty we take for granted, or we can take a new form, one that listens to our surroundings, one that is encouraged to change, and one that coexists.
“Runoff Collection Pond,” by Annabel Driussi ’20
Artist statement: Concern over water pollution has risen in recent years, such that 85% of Colorado voters polled in 2020 rate this as a serious issue. In 2019, Governor Polis signed bill HB19-1113 (Protect Water Quality Adverse Mining Impacts), taking small steps to minimize mining companies’ damage to water supplies. Fascinatingly, support for this bill was primarily framed as a public health concern over clean drinking water, and only secondarily upon the effects of mine tailings upon local wildlife. Legal efforts are being put into effect. But is current litigation enough to counter the effects of almost 200 years of mining history in the state?
This picture was taken at Leadville, Colorado, at an abandoned silver mine outside the city. In it, young coniferous plants struggle to reclaim land occupied by twisted metal refuse.
People’s Choice Popular Vote Winner:
“Zion,” by Noah Hirshorn ’20
Artist Statement: Zion National Park in southwestern Utah is one of the national parks most plagued by overcrowding. Taken on a rainy day in March 2019, fog inhibits the view of a valley that is often the site of heavy traffic and tourists attempting to visit the colossal rock walls.
While the designation of a national park ensures that the land will be preserved, the ramifications of increased tourism may very well threaten some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. While visiting national parks, it is crucial for visitors to abide by leave no trace principles in order to ensure future generations can experience the same wonders.