Rules and Registration Information
Photography Contest 2019

Contest Focus

Polk County's Parks and Natural Resources Division wants to showcase your best photos that highlight the county’s natural treasures. Photos entered into the contest must be taken within Polk’s environmental lands sites and will be displayed for a year at the Nature Discovery Center at Circle B Bar Reserve and be included in the 2020 Parks and Natural Resources Calendar.

Share your talent by submitting images taken at one of the following properties: Bone Valley ATV Park, Circle B Bar Reserve, Heritage Trail, Coleman Landing Campground, Crooked Lake Prairie, Crooked Lake Sandhill, Gator Creek Reserve, Hickory Lake Scrub, Homeland Heritage Park, Lake Blue, Lake Gywn Park, Lakeland Highlands Scrub, Loyce E. Harpe Park, Mariana Pond, Marshall Hampton Reserve, North Walk-in-Water, Panther Point, Peace River Canoe Launch, Peace River Hammock, Saddle Creek Park, Sherwood Stokes, SUMICA and Walker Road Park.

Submitted photos must also be in one of the following three categories:

  • Wildlife
  • Landscape
  • People in Nature

There will be one winner for each of the above three categories. Honorable mention awards may also be given.

Photography Guidelines

  • Photographs must be taken at one of the Environmental Lands properties.
  • Photographs must depict Florida native species only.
  • File sizes must not exceed 2 MB.
  • Two photographs per category is the maximum allowed.
  • Photographs in a vertical format may be submitted for the photo contest, but will not be considered for publication in the calendar.
  • See Submitting Photographs for additional details.

Contest Timeline

Contest Deadline: The deadline for submissions is by the end of business Aug. 31. No entries will be considered after that time.

Winners Announced: Winners will be announced at an awards reception at Polk’s Nature Discovery Center. Winning and honorable mention photos will be posted on the Polk’s Nature Discovery Center website. Prior to the reception, finalists will be contacted to provide a high resolution photo of their work.


The judges will base their decision on the following six standards:

  • Focus
  • Composition
  • Creativity
  • Exposure
  • Impact
  • Storytelling

Submitted photos will first be reviewed by Polk County staff for basic qualification and to determine if the photo is appropriately categorized. Staff members reserve the right to change a photo’s category. The decisions of the judging panel are final.


Entries that fail to comply with all rules will be disqualified.

  • Entries will not be returned.
  • If the ownership of any submitted photo is questioned in any manner, Polk County reserves the right to discontinue use of the photo and disqualify the photo from the contest.
  • The Polk County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) has the non-exclusive right to use and publish the submitted photos on its website or in publications in conjunction with the photo contest.
  • The BoCC may also use the photo in other publications to promote Polk, such as in brochures and magazines and for other similar marketing and promotional usage.

Submitting Photographs

  • Entrants under 18 years of age must have a signed letter issuing permission from a parent or legal guardian.
  • Registration of photographs: There is a six photo maximum on the number of photographs entered by a single contestant.
  • A release must be digitally signed by the photographer on this website before submitting the photo.
  • Minor digital enhancement for cropping, red-eye removal, filters, and corrective functions are permitted. But images that have been judged to be altered in any significant manner will be disqualified. Contestants are not permitted to place borders, frames or backgrounds around their images or to place watermarks, dates, signatures or copyright images onto photos.
  • Polk County Environmental Lands Program employees are not eligible to participate in the photo contest.
  • Only color photos are accepted.


  • The winner from each category will be on display at Polk’s Nature Discovery Center for one year.
  • The winners and all honorable mentions will also be showcased on the website.
  • All contestants will be invited to the awards reception Nov. 1 at Polk’s Nature Discovery Center.
  • All winners and honorable mentions will be on display on at Polk’s Nature Discovery Center during the Nature Fun Day event.