Nature Photo Contest Winners Announced

Visit Tucson Museum of Art to see nature’s wonders through students’ eyes.

Tuscon, AZ | April 24, 2014

As we celebrate Earth Month, The Nature Conservancy in Arizona announces the winners of its second annual High School Nature Photo contest. The competition was open to Tucson high school photography students. Fourteen schools participated with a total of 84 entries. Categories included landscape, wildlife, plants and people enjoying nature. The winners are: 

  • 1st place: Keaton Castillio from Sahuaro High School for “Texas Canyon"
  • 2nd place: Alejandro Alvarado-Wells from Sahuaro High School for “Desert Sunset Lightning”
  • 3rd place: Sara Gil from Amphitheater High School for “Beach Beauty” 
  • Honorable Mention: Angel Breault of Salpointe High School for “Ribbon Falls” 

The contest is an opportunity for the state’s “next generation” of conservationists to explore the outdoors through photography. “Students were able to tap into their creativity while learning about Arizona’s beautiful landscapes and wildlife,” says Patrick Graham, the Conservancy in Arizona’s state director. “We’re hopeful they made a connection to conservation through the process and better appreciate all of the services nature provides.”  

The first and second place winners attend Sahuaro High School. “The contest inspires me to get outside and explore new places to take photos,” says Keaton Castillio, 

While Castillio considers photography a hobby, Alejandro Alvarado-Wells wants to take it further. “The contest gives me hope to keep working toward a photography career,” says Alvarado-Wells. “The biggest lesson I learned is that photos have to tell a story and stand out from the others.” 

This contest is an opportunity for students to get published and meet other successful artists. 

Contest judges are Jeff Kida (Arizona Highways photo editor), Rick Wiley (Arizona Daily Star photo editor), Mark Skalny (corporate photographer), and Cecil Schwalbe (long-time photographer and naturalist). They focused on the following criteria: technical merit, creativity, uniqueness, visual/emotional impact and artistic vision. 

The public is invited to see the photography at the Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave., in its education wing through May 23. Thereafter the photos will be displayed for a limited time at the Conservancy lobby at 1510 E. Fort Lowell.  Also, Arizona Highways magazine, which co-sponsored the contest, is going to publish the 1st place photo in an upcoming issue and feature the winning photos on its website. 

You can also see the 10 finalists’ photos in this slideshow.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Tracey Stone
The Nature Conservancy in Arizona


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