Student Nature Photo Contest Winners Announced

2016 Finalists' Slideshow

Ten stunning photos were chosen from among 1,343 entries.

Tucson, AZ | May 02, 2017

Ten student photographs are the winners of the 2017 “Adventures in Nature” photo contest. The contest received 1343 entries this year from around Arizona. 

The winners are:

1st place: Griffin Roeger, a senior at Campo Verde High School in Gilbert, for “Wild Stallions”

2nd place: Braden Matsuzawa, a junior at Canyon del Oro High School, Oro Valley, for “Caterpillar”

3rd place: Damian Galasso, an eighth grader, home schooled in Tucson, for “Lightning Flash” 

Honorable Mentions go to:

Cristian Portillo, Youngker High School, Buckeye, for “Busy Bee”

Zoe Marks, Canyon del Oro High School, for “Bee”

Brian Medrano, Sabino High School, Tucson, for “Mount Lemon”

Lucy Song, Mountain View High School in Mesa, for “Midnight Beauty”

Daniel Tanner Charnstrom, Pinnacle High School in Phoenix,for “Peaceful Reflections”

Kayla Sklar, Scottsdale Preparatory Academy, for “The Summit”

Atharva Rao, BASIS in Scottsdale, for “Nature’s Creation”   

Contest winners will receive cash prizes and have their photos published by the contest sponsors: The Nature Conservancy in Arizona, on-line at the Arizona Highways magazine website and Cox Communications. The top three winners will also receive a photography workshop from Arizona Highways Photo Workshops. 

Griffin Roeger’s 1st place photo was captured on the Salt River while seeking photos of eagles. “I turned around and saw two herds of wild horses approaching each other, so I watched until the two stallions started fighting and took the photo,” he said. Roeger is an active mountain biker who enjoys being outside and taking nature photos, he said. 

Braden Matsuzawa’s 2nd place photo, a macro close-up shot of a caterpillar, was captured during a photo class taught by Lee Street, who helped The Nature Conservancy organize the first Adventures in Nature photo contest back in 2013 at Canyon Del Oro High School. This year, Lee Street also had another student in the top 10: Zoe Marks.      

Damian Galasso’s 3rd place photo of a lightning strike over a saguaro cactus, was taken by a video camera at his home in Tucson. 

This is the fifth year of the contest, which is intended to connect young people to the outdoors through photography.  

Since 1925, Arizona Highways magazine has brought the beauty of Arizona to visitors and natives alike through its award-winning photography, travel journalism and steadfast commitment to discovering the state’s treasures. Helping to drive tourism to and through the state, Arizona Highways has subscribers in all 50 states and more than 120 countries. 

Cox Communications is the third largest cable provider and a multi-service broadband communications company in the country, serving nearly 3 million residential and business product subscribers in Arizona (a product subscriber represents an individual service purchased by a customer)

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Tana Kappel
The Nature Conservancy in Arizona


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