Two West Chester Residents Win PA Parks and Forests Photography Contest

mushrooms and moss at tree base
Image via Mark Lucas.
Mark Lucas' photo submitted to the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Annual Photo Contest.

With nearly 600 photo entries in the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation’s 2022 Photo Contest, there was stiff competition for the twenty prize slots. 

“The passion people have for their state parks and forests is evident in the volume and quality of images received,” said Marci Mowery, President of PPFF. “Photography is one of many ways that people enjoy these special places.” 

Residing in West Chester, Mark Lucas traveled a distance to capture the magic of Penn’s Woods in his winning photo from Gallitzin State Forest. He won the Judge’s Choice Award in the Forests category.  

For Lucas, a native of Windber, Gallitzin State Forest is his “home turf.” Mark has walked its trails many times throughout his life, cherishing the forest’s calm nature and history-rich trails. He especially appreciates the quiet that Gallitzin’s extensive remote trail network provides.  

“This solitude enables me to walk slowly on the trails looking for potential photographic opportunities, take the time to think about a shot, build the photograph in my mind and set up with the proper equipment to capture what I’m seeing and feeling without any kind of disruption,” he said. 

His winning shot truly captures that magical calm that one finds in nature. He was walking the 12-mile loop of the John P. Saylor Trail when he chanced upon morning sunbeams coming through the tree cover and illuminating the bright green moss speckled with tiny orange mushrooms at the base of the decaying tree. 

“I decided that I needed to try to tell the story of the once magnificent tree being reclaimed by the forest floor. With the young trees in the background looking on, the scene seemed to portray the Forest’s circle of life,” he said. 

Image via Lilly Zhang.

He lowered himself to capture a shot of growth and decay, science and magic. A shot that brings fairy tales to mind.  

Marsh Creek State Park provided the People’s Choice Young Photographer Winner, Lilly Zhang from West Chester, with her photo of a heron waiting in the mist.  

“It was a crisp autumn morning, and I went to Marsh Creek State Park, hoping to see the mist suspended on the water with the fall colors reflecting on the surface. To my surprise, I also saw a great heron perched on a rock by the shore,” she said. 

Zhang loves Marsh Creek for all its recreational activities – kayaking, boating, fishing, picnicking, trails, and playground areas – and for its wildlife and serene beauty. It holds a special place in her heart. 

“I have a lot of fond memories of gatherings, early mornings, and paddle boarding there with family and friends,” she said. 

The 2022 Photo Contest’s theme was Clean Water and Forested Ecosystems with categories selected to highlight the value of clean water and the role forests play in watershed health, such as Water is Life, Caught in the Rain, Raindrop to River, Reflections, Forests, as well as a Young Photographers category. 

You can view the winners and all the 2022 Clean Water and Forested Ecosystem Photo Contest submissions on PPFF’s Facebook.

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