The National Wildlife Federation

Donate Donate

2021 People's Choice Award

National Wildlife’s 2021 Photo Contest People’s Choice Award


The National Wildlife Federation is proud to announce the People’s Choice Award winner and runners-up of the 50th annual National Wildlife® Photo Contest. “It’s always a thrill to see the powerful, inspiring images submitted to our contest,” says Lisa Moore, editorial director of National Wildlife magazine. “Some photos may make you weep or wince. Others may evoke wonder, a laugh or a peaceful breath. All help illustrate the vast diversity of wild animals and the places they call home.

So, without further ado, National Wildlife’s 2021 Photo Contest People’s Choice Award Winner ...

People’s Choice Award Winner
Lisa Cavanary (aka Ostdrossel), Macomb, Michigan
“Michigan Backyard Birds”

Lisa Cavanary (who goes by Ostdrossel) discovered her love for bird photography through the avian visitors to her Michigan backyard. Equipped with a “homemade” feeder photo trap using a GitUp action camera, Ostdrossel captures close-ups that she says “show the fine details as well as the behavior of the birds, revealing the beauty but also hilarity of more common as well as surprise visitors.” By setting out her camera every day, not only does she revel in the interactions of her backyard visitors, but she also uses the data to monitor migration patterns and behaviors. “As an immigrant from Germany,” Ostdrossel notes, “becoming a birdwatcher in the United States has helped me getting to know my newly chosen home country more and also opened a whole new world of amazing discoveries that has not ceased to fascinate me.”


People’s Choice Award Runners-up



Peoples’ Choice Award Runner-up
Steve Pressman, Pembroke Pines, Florida
“A Tender Moment”

While on a trekking safari in Uganda to observe gorillas in their native habitat, Steve Pressman recalls the moment when he spotted a male Silverback gorilla sitting under a tree. “This baby came along and cuddled up next to him and appeared as if the male was giving the little guy a kiss. I found out afterwards that it was an orphaned baby that the male ‘took to.’ Otherwise, it might have been a whole different scenario.”


Peoples’ Choice Award Runner-up
Sreekumar Valiathan, Chittethukara, Kerala, India
“Malabar Trogon”

During a visit to Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary in Kerala, India, Sreekumar Valiathan spotted a brightly-colored male Malabar trogon. The bird, he says, was calling and “looking around for his mate.”


Peoples’ Choice Award Runner-up
Josiah Kilburn, Castle Rock Colorado
“Grapevine Beetle from Zilker Botanical Garden”

And finally, Josiah Kilburn is our People’s Choice favorite in the Young Nature Photographer category, open to photographers age 13-17 and offered in partnership with Eco-Schools USA. While visiting the Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin, Texas, Kilburn found this grapevine beetle roaming around logs. “This work” he says, “was inspired by the cute looking antennae that Scarab beetles possess.”


Call for Entries – Our 2022 Photo Contest is now open!

Whether lifelong professionals or avid amateurs, the photographers who enter their images display a love of nature and an appreciation of how photography can inspire people to care about wildlife and wild lands, and to work for their protection. By submitting their work, each photographer also supports the National Wildlife Federation’s effort to protect wildlife species and their habitats — a mission that’s more important today than ever before.

Learn more at photocontest.nwf.org


More from National Wildlife magazine and the National Wildlife Federation:

2021 Photo Contest Winners »
2021 Photo Contest Honorable Mentions »

Get Involved

Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

Learn More
Regional Centers and Affiliates