Photo Contest Rules

Submission Requirements

Photos must be submitted via email to [email protected] between August 7 and August 21, 2023, and meet all the following requirements:

  • Each photographer may submit five photos.
  • All photographs must be taken in Champaign County Forest Preserve District (this includes Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden, Museum of the Grand Prairie, Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Lake of the Woods Golf Course, and the Harry L. Swartz Campground).
  • Photographs must be in a digital format such as JPEG or TIF at a minimum resolution of 3600 x 2700 pixels at 300 dpi and a maximum file size of 24MB at time of submission.
  • Each photo must include a caption (in the body of the email or as the name of the image file) with the location and approximate date (e.g. Point Pleasant Prairie, Middle Fork River Forest Preserve, August 2022; Sunset Paddle, Homer Lake Forest Preserve, June 2021).
  • Photos must be free of watermarks and graphics. (All photographers will be credited appropriately.)
  • Photos included in the calendar will be horizontal (vertical photos should be cropped before submitting).

Photos that do not meet all requirements will not be reviewed by the judging panel.
Though not required, best efforts should be made to identify plants or wildlife in your photos—please include this information in your caption. (e.g. Turkey Vulture flying over Buffalo Trace, July 2019).

Please keep a safe distance and do not disturb wildlife when taking photos. Any photos that show evidence of feeding, audio playback or approaching wildlife too closely will not be accepted. Check out these guidelines for ethical birding for more information on protecting birds and wildlife while out in the Forest Preserves.

If you have any questions, please contact: [email protected]

General Rules

  • The sponsor of this contest is the Champaign County Forest Preserve District, 108 S Lake of the Woods Road, Mahomet, Illinois 61853
  • By submitting your photos, you are confirming that the photos are your own work, and you alone own the rights to distribute the images.
  • Photos should feature Champaign County Forest Preserve District landscapes, close-ups of plants, insects, birds and other wildlife, pictures that highlight the seasons, and shots of people enjoying the outdoors or participating in our recreational offerings.
  • Photographers must obtain and supply, upon request, the name of and written permission from any person included in the photo entries, authorizing their image to be used in Champaign County Forest Preserve District digital and/or print materials. (Entries depicting people for whom you are not able to supply the appropriate written releases will be disqualified.)
  • Photos including nudity, profanity, commercial or political interests, graffiti, or anything wildly off-topic are strictly prohibited. Champaign County Forest Preserve District reserves the right to disqualify any photos that, in its sole discretion, are deemed inappropriate.
  • All prizes are chosen at the sole discretion of Champaign County Forest Preserve District and are awarded “as is.”
  • No purchase is necessary to participate in this contest, and a purchase will not increase a person’s chances of winning.
  • Odds of winning depend upon the number of submissions received.  The selection of a photograph as a winning submission for publication has no cash value.  The cash value of other possible prizes to be awarded is less than $25 per prize.

Winning Photos & Judging Process

Winning photos will be featured in the annual wall calendar and on Champaign County Forest Preserve District social media accounts. Each winning photographer will receive 10 copies of the calendar as well as a Forest Preserves prize package.

Champaign County Forest Preserve District uses blind judging to select the contest winners. This means judges do not know the names of the photographers when deciding winning images. Champaign County Forest Preserve District shall determine winner eligibility in its sole and absolute discretion. All decisions made by the judging panel are final.

Champaign County Forest Preserve District judging panel will select the contest winners and runners-up. Fourteen winners will be chosen by the panel:

  • 1 calendar cover photo
  • 12 featured month photos
  • 1 calendar back cover photo

The panel will also select up to 24 runner-up photos that may be featured in The Leaflet newsletter, on CCFPD social media accounts, and on the CCFPD website.

Please note: Winning photos may be cropped to fit the format of the calendar, and other variations may occur during duplication.

Photo Rights

Your photos help Champaign County Forest Preserve District spread the message of how important it is to protect our region’s amazing diversity of wildlife, plants and habitats. Thank you for helping to further our mission through your photography.

Photographers retain all rights to photo entries. However, by submitting photos for contest entry, the photographer is granting the Champaign County Forest Preserve District and those it authorizes a royalty-free, nonexclusive, world-wide, irrevocable license, in perpetuity, to:

  • Publicly display, publish, distribute, create diminutive works of, and otherwise use the submitted photos in any way, in whole or in part, in any format or media now existing or later developed, for any lawful purpose; including without limitation, using the submitted photo in its annual wall calendar, on its website, in connection with the photo contest, in connection with general marketing and promotional activities, and on its social media pages.
  • As feasible, Champaign County Forest Preserve District will credit all photos with the name of the photographer and the location of the photo


August 7-21, 2023:
Submission period via email

September 22, 2023:
Winners and runners-up announced via email; photo album posted on the Forest Preserves official Facebook account.

Champaign County Forest Preserve District reserves the right to adjust any deadline(s) as the result of causes beyond its immediate control.