Young nature photographers show off their work at the Arlington Conservation Council's FOCUS awards reception held in Arlington recently. Photo by Phillilp Shinoda.

Jan. 21, 2015

By Phillip Shinoda and Julie Thibodeaux

Some local kids got to show off their creative photography skills and their appreciation of nature when the Arlington Conservation Council held its annual FOCUS photo contest this month. The winners, who were from Arlington, Pantego and Dalworthington Gardens, were honored at a reception held at the Montessori Academy in Arlington on Saturday.

"I thought the older students' photos were stunning," said Danny Kocurek, Arlington Conservation Council president.

The project invites students at a formative stage in their lives to venture outdoors and engage in nature through photography as a way to experience the area's natural beauty.  

The photos were judged both for the photograph itself and for the theme.

"Our favorite part of the contest is when the students, even ones who did not win, get up in front of the entire group of about 70 or so and describe their photo, where it was taken and why," said Kocurek. "Our purpose for the contest was to get kids outside and observing nature, and it was a great success."

According to ACC, the photos will be used to encourage area residents to be more environmentally aware. 

Here are the first place winners in each grade level:

First Place, Third grade: Daniela Candiloros-Bake. Taken in backyard.
Theme: Food Chain. Turtles and small animals eat flowers. Some insects suck the nectar from flowers.



First Place, Fourth Grade: Signy Ackermann. Taken in backyard.   Theme: Structure/functions. A dayflower leans toward the sun as an example of one of its functions.



First Place, Fifth Grade: Zoey Wills. Taken in Veterans Park. 

Theme: Beautiful nature/"Collecting Nectar." The bee is gathering nectar that it will take back to the hive.


First Place, Sixth Grade: Anna Lewis. Taken in backyard.   Theme: Adaptations. The anole lizard is cold-blooded and adapts to survive.


See all winners from the contest. 





Phillip Shinoda is the Project Manager for Green Source DFW. Contact him at

Julie Thibodeaux is the Managing Editor for Green Source DFW. Previously, she worked as an editor and writer at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Contact her at

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