Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The Gillette Visitor Center at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon is inviting residents to submit their best work to a “Michigan Wildflower” photo contest. Choose a favorite photo from last year or take a trek through the woods, fields or wetlands this spring and try your hand at capturing the beauty of a native Michigan wildflower.

There are approximately 1,700 native flowering plants in Michigan. Native wildflowers are those that were part of the environment before European settlement. Michigan’s diverse group of wildflowers grows over the three warm seasons in all types of habitats Some examples include white trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, spring beauty, butterfly weed, black-eyed susan, cardinal flower and marsh marigold. Some common non-native species that will not be accepted into the contest include Queen Anne’s Lace, Common Mullein, Spotted Knapweed and Deptford Pink.

Photos must be of a native Michigan wildflower. Entries are limited to two photos per person. Photos – at a minimum size of 8 inches x 10 inches and a maximum size of 11 inches x 16 inches – must be securely matted without a frame or glass. A $3-per-photo entry fee must accompany each submission, along with the photographer’s name, address, email and phone number and name of wildflower on the back.

This contest is intended for amateurs only; the works of published photographers will not be considered.

Photos can be disqualified and returned for the following reasons:

  • An improper or dirty matte is used;
  • The photo is of a non-conforming size;
  • The photographer’s name appears on the front of the photograph;
  • The photo is laminated or dry-mounted without a matte;
  • The subject is a non-native wildflower; or
  • The subject is blurry, not in focus.

The deadline for submission is noon on Thursday, April 25. An impartial team of volunteers with knowledge of photography will judge the photos. Winners will be announced on www.gillettenature.org on or before May 10. Three winners will be chosen. First-, second- and third-place winners will receive gift cards valued, respectively, at $50, $35 and $25, sponsored by the Gillette Nature Association.

Photos may be submitted by mail or delivered to: Gillette Nature Association,6585 Lake Harbor Road, Muskegon, MI 49441. All accepted photo entries will be on display at the Gillette Visitor Center through June 1. Entries may be picked up on or after June 1; those not picked up within two months will become property of the Gillette Nature Association.

The following websites provide information, pictures and lists of native wildflowers in Michigan and may be helpful to contest participants:

Questions may be directed to park interpreter Elizabeth Brockwell-Tillman at 231-798-3573. The Gillette Visitor Center is one of 10 visitor centers managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Visit www.michigan.gov/dnrvisitorcenters for more information.