Energy and Environment Cabinet Announces Winners of ‘Capture the Earth’ Photography and Video Contests

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 18, 2017) – Johnson County Middle School eighth-grader Meghan Grace Ratliff, 13, is the winner of the seventh-annual “Capture the Earth” photography contest for middle school students, sponsored by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet in celebration of Earth Day.

Diana Lila, a senior at Eastside Technical Center, Lexington, Ky., meanwhile, won the “Capture the Earth” videography contest for high school students, for her video, “Let’s Keep it Beautiful.” The video features shots of nature set to music.

Ratliff’s photograph, “Sunrise at Jenny Wiley State Park,” was chosen over dozens of other student-generated entries.

In the text that accompanied her winning photo, Ratliff wrote: “This photo, shot at sunrise over Jenny Wiley State Park’s Dewey Lake, highlights all that is good here in Kentucky.  From the tranquil sunrise, to the calm, clean water, to the towering hills that make East Kentucky my home, this photo encompasses a strong effort to conserve and protect these resources by our community, park officials, and all who frequent and visit Dewey Lake. Whether to boat, enjoy a sunrise or sunset, have a picnic, catch a fish, hike a trail or play at the many play areas, visitors to this park and others like it in KY must take pride and take part in keeping it a clean, safe space for recreation.  And when I look into my crystal ball, I see the positive outcomes of these efforts, and I can see that at least in my part of the earth, that the sun will always shine bright on my old Kentucky home.”

The annual “Capture the Earth” photo contest was initiated in 2011 and has attracted a number of submissions each year. Fifty-nine photographs were entered into this year’s contest.

“It’s gratifying to see so many students recognizing and promoting, through photos or videos, the beauty of the natural environment we enjoy and nurture throughout the Commonwealth,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely.

Olivia Halfhill, 13, a seventh-grader also from Johnson County Middle School, received an Honorable Mention for her photo that captured a Paintsville, Ky. pastoral scene.

Halfhill wrote in her description: “…You do not have to travel far to be amazed by nature’s beauty, it’s all around you in Eastern Kentucky. In this picture, spring brings a new beginning of the year with trees swaying in the gentle calming breeze while walking through the dew-covered grass. Going to the barn is like stepping into another world! There you can learn and explore new things in nature and make bonds with animals you never knew could be so incredible.”

Ratliff’s and Halfhill’s photos and Lila’s video will be recognized during the state government Earth Day celebration, 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 19, at the Energy and Environment Cabinet, 300 Sower Boulevard, Frankfort, Ky. Ratliff and Lila will receive a two-night stay with their families at a Kentucky State Resort Park of their choice, compliments of the Kentucky Department of Parks. Halfhill will receive an elk tour for two at Jenny Wiley State Park.

For more information and to see the students’ winning photographs, visit http://eec.ky.gov/Pages/earthday.aspx.

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