RALEIGH, N.C. (Jan.7, 2010) – The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and Wildlife in North Carolina magazine have selected 2009 photo competition winners from the largest number of entries ever.

The grand prize went to Kaylyn Gruber, of Belmont, for her black and white photo of a brown-headed cowbird chick. At 16, she is the first teenager to win the competition in its five-year history.

All winners will be published in the January 2010 issue of Wildlife in North Carolina magazine, with the grand prize image featured on the cover. Winners will receive a print of their winning entry from JW Photo Labs of Raleigh and prizes from Great Outdoor Provision Co.

>> Click here to view the competition winners

Other sponsors included UNC-TV, which broadcasts the award-winning PBS show “Nature” and helped promote the competition; the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, where winning entries will be on exhibit through April 4; and the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, which assisted in photo opportunities through the state parks.

In the competition’s fifth year, there were 8,802 photographs submitted — the largest number of entries ever. The most popular subject was Birds (1,532 entries), followed closely by the landscape category, Peaks, Valleys and Plains (1,472) and Invertebrates (1,305). Wild Plants received 1,172 entries and Reptiles & Amphibians 868, Animal Behavior 769, Outdoor Recreation 692, and Mammals 572. The Youth category for 13 to 17 year olds had 227 entries, while Youth 12 and younger received 193 entries.

Other interesting facts on this year’s entries:

  • The only person to win two categories was Nicholas D’Amato of Durham. His water strider won Invertebrates and his Outer Banks fisherman won Outdoor Recreation.
  • 2008 Grand Prize winner Jared Lloyd of Kill Devil Hills won Reptiles & Amphibians with his alligator photo and placed second in Birds with a shot of a black-crowned night heron.
  • Jake Orr of Topsail Beach placed first and third in Youth Photographer 13-17 with his winning photo of Jolly Roger Pier and third-place image of a peregrine falcon.
  • Scott Hotaling of Raleigh won Peaks, Valleys & Plains for the third consecutive year. His photo of Madison County’s Max Patch took first place this time around.
  • Youth Photographer 12 and Younger winner Hannah Ziegler, 8, of Raleigh, is the granddaughter of 2007 grand prize winner Ed Ziegler of Raleigh.

Winners were selected by a panel composed of staff of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.

Winning images can be viewed here.

Details and rules for the 2010 competition will be posted on www.ncwildlife.org in May, and entries will open on June 1.

About N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
Since 1947, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has been dedicated to the conservation and sustainability of the state’s fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use, and public input. The Commission is the state regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws and provides programs and opportunities for wildlife-related educational, recreational and sporting activities. To learn more, visit www.ncwildlife.org.