Winning entries from a statewide high school photography contest, including two entries from Laramie photographers, will be on display locally through next week.

The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming’s “I Believe in Conservation” contest recognized student photographers in four categories, and the winning entries are scheduled to hang at the Albany County Public Library, 301 S. Eighth St., through Friday.

Laramie High School student Collin Pemble won third place, and $50, in the Wyoming waters category for a photograph called “Little Laramie River, Near Centennial, WY.” LHS student Sam Miller won the community award and a $50 prize for “Willows Sticking Out of the Ice at Pole Mountain Beaver Pond.”

Other categories included lands, wildlife and people and nature. The community award is given to one entry from each participating school, said Brie Brower, The Nature Conservancy’s major gifts manager.

“We’ve had some really wonderful photos,” she said. “It’s really fun to see the students get excited about it and try something new.”

Now in its ninth year, the contest is open to students from schools around the state that partner with The Nature Conservancy. The organization sends a representative to each school to do a presentation in advance of the contest.

“It’s a way to connect students to conservation and some of the work that we’re doing at The Nature Conservancy, and allow them to show their connections to nature and to conservation through photography,” Brower said.

Students submitted 275 photographs last fall, which were judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, compelling conservation impact and artistic merit. The winning entries are currently on a statewide tour.

“We had a truly impressive field of submissions this year, making it very hard to choose the winners,” Brower said.

She said the exhibit is well-received wherever it stops, as viewers enjoy seeing images of Wyoming’s beautiful scenery as captured by its young people.

“This is one more way to help connect folks to nature and to the outdoors, and to some of the work that The Nature Conservancy is doing as well,” she said.

Miller was a new photographer when he captured his image of willows at a frozen pond on Pole Mountain, where he went looking for inspiration.

“It just kind of stuck out to me, with the way the ice was around the plants and they were still springing up,” he said in an earlier interview. “It is the ice, but it is also the life growing out of it.”

Pemble shot his photo during an annual family drive through the Medicine Bow National Forest last fall. Looking for changing colors, they drove down Barber Lake Road, where he noticed a group of trees along the Little Laramie River.

“I tried getting multiple shots, and it turned out really well with the water rolling down the river and all the trees surrounding it,” he said in an earlier interview.

The Nature Conservancy works in all 50 states and 72 countries with the mission of conserving and protecting lands and waters that support human, animal and plant life.

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