For the first time since the contest was launched in 2020, photos were submitted from every province and territory across the country. There were 629 submissions this year and a Public Favourite winner was selected in four different categories using an online voting system where a total of 1,609 votes were cast in August.
The contest was organized by Living Lakes Canada, a national non-profit focused on water stewardship. The event aims to celebrate the beauty of lake biodiversity while raising awareness of water health. Because photographs have the power to capture hearts and minds, the annual photo challenge invites people from coast to coast to submit their most engaging lake photos.
Three Judges’ Favourite winners were selected by a Living Lakes Canada panel that awarded Judges’ Favourite in the Lake Landscapes category award to Richard Smith for his shot of Lake Okanagan after an afternoon rainstorm. Rachelle Mack won Judges’ Favourite in the Lake Biodiversity category for her photo of a frog seeking cover under a lily pad on Lake Scugog, Ontario. Chelsey Breeze won Judges’ Favourite in the Lake Impacts category for an eagle’s eye shot of urban infrastructure along Lake Ontario in Burlington.
A judges’ special mention went to L. Mehner’s impactful photo showing how plastic pollution is impacting wildlife on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba.
“It is a beauty nest for this Osprey with young ones…Too bad about the garbage that has become part of their home,” commented Mehner.
In the public favourite side, Mitchell Brown won for capturing the vibrant glacial waters of Moraine Lake, Alberta. Elissa Devenz won Public Favourite for the Lake Biodiversity category for her mid-flight action shot of a Great Blue Heron gliding above Lake Simcoe, Ontario. Caroline Low won Public Favourite in the Kids Category for her playful picture of a raccoon catching bugs and fish at Lost Lagoon in Vancouver, B.C. Melissa Horowitz won Public Favourite for the Lake Impacts category for her moving image of a mallard duck navigating plastic waste on Lac St. Louis, Quebec.
Titled “Beauty and the Beast”, Melissa’s description of her image echoes the purpose of the photo challenge.
“This photo captures the resilience of nature, despite the devastating impact that humans have on our environment, and the urgent need for us to take action to protect it.”
The kids’ conservation organization, and Lake Biodiversity Photo Challenge partner, Earth Rangers awarded Judges’ Favourite in the Kids Category to Alexa Kornik for a mountainous picture of Lake Minnewanka, Alberta.
The 2023 photo challenge was made possible thanks to funding from the RBC Tech for Nature program.