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August 15, 2014

Minnesotans show their photographic talent in Extension contest

A photograph taken by a Mora woman won the University of Minnesota Extension "My Flowers Rock" contest on Facebook

Media contacts: Allison Sandve, U of M Extension,, (612) 626-4077
MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (8-15-2014)—A photograph taken by a Mora woman won the University of Minnesota Extension "My Flowers Rock" contest on Facebook.

Monarch catepillar on milkweed plant

Christine Finn Sand, Pine County
"My Beautiful Striped Friend"
Christine Finn Sand's "My Beautiful Striped Friend" depicts a caterpillar on a milkweed plant; the photo was taken near her home in southwestern Pine County. Hers was chosen from the 227 photographs entered from throughout Minnesota during the contest.
"My family and I usually hunt for monarch caterpillars earlier in the summer, but the past two summers have produced very few. When this one was spotted - instead of taking it inside to watch its transformation - we decided to leave it be and take a photo," Sand said. "By now, it should be a beautiful butterfly enjoying the rest of the summer."

Close-up of dark pink hollyhock

Melissa Niederkorn, Washington County
"1st Year of Bloom"
Second prize went to Melissa Niederkorn of Forest Lake for her "First Year of Bloom: Hollyhock, 2014." Hollyhocks were a family favorite, though she notes growing proved initially challenging. "I kept ripping them out mistakenly, not realizing they were a second-year bloomer. So these were a huge treat this year, both to see them bloom and to photograph," Niederkorn says. "They still have a few blooms on the stalks. Now I'm wondering what they'll do next year - and learning the patience to wait and see."

Honeybee on chive blossom

Dawn LaPointe, St. Louis County
"Bee and Chive"
A special category, which required that photographs include pollinators, was won by Dawn LaPointe of Duluth, who took Extension's weekend workshop, "Beekeeping in Northern Climates," taught by Extension scientists Marla Spivak and Gary Reuter, three years ago. Her "Bee on Chive" captured the category specially created to help raise awareness of the importance of pollinators and the role they play in our food supply and landscapes.

"I am passionate about pollinators," LaPointe says. "I am inspired and encouraged by the work of Dr. Spivak and the folks at the U of M Bee Lab. Since we live in a location suitable for hobby beekeeping and my husband is an avid organic gardener, a small hobby apiary was an excellent addition."

Aimee Viniard-Weideman, Extension assistant dean and director of communications , said the contest's popularity shows Minnesotans' love of their environment and the pollinators we need to keep it vibrant.

"There were so many fantastic photographs. It was hard to pick winners," Viniard-Weideman said. "We appreciate all of the contributions and look forward to future opportunities to see the beauty of Minnesota through the eyes and lens of Minnesotans."

The "Rockin' 15" photographs chosen for honorable mention can be seen here.

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