Each year, millions of Americans grab their cameras and flock to our public lands and parks to enjoy the many benefits of nature. Our staff is no different. In conjunction with this year’s Forests in Focus Photo Contest, we hosted an internal competition to give staff members a chance to show off their photography skills. They submitted dozens of photos, and everyone on staff could vote for their top three photos. The contest provided a fun opportunity for staff to take a different focus on the critical landscapes we’re working to protect.

Wildfire at Night

1ST PLACE: “Midnight Burning”
PHOTOGRAPHER: Kat Barton, Southern California reforestation manager
PHOTOGRAPHER’S PERSPECTIVE: “Before joining American Forests, I was fortunate to participate in a variety of controlled burning projects while working for the Mt. Adams Resource Stewards. On one wildland firefighting assignment in Washington, we were put on the night shift and given the task of backburning, where fire is used to fight fire. This was a great opportunity for me to get close and personal with how low-intensity surface fire can be used to protect forests.”

Saturday in Central Park

2ND PLACE: “Saturday in Central Park”
PHOTOGRAPHER: Hannah Gregory, senior manager, Career Pathways
PHOTOGRAPHER’S PERSPECTIVE: “I was in New York City for my birthday when I walked through Central Park on a sunny fall day. I admire Central Park for its urban and natural beauty, and how kinetic and accessible the space is, full of runners and meanderers, trees and birds, and city dwellers and tourists. Last year, I started taking pictures on film, and I’ve come to appreciate its slowness. It’s a reminder, like nature, to pause and reflect on these moments and the space around us.”

Autumn in the Catskills

3RD PLACE: “Autumn in the Catskills”
PHOTOGRAPHER: Malissa Cadwallader, director, philanthropy operations
PHOTOGRAPHER’S PERSPECTIVE: “On a series of hikes through the Catskills last fall with a couple of friends, we stumbled on this wonderful autumn land- scape near Prattsville, N.Y., where Scoharie Creek ripples through the valley below. This overlook on Pratt Rock Trail afforded a lovely view of the changing colors of the leaves in the surrounding forest and made us thankful for the peaceful tranquility of nature that offers a much-needed respite from the rush of our daily lives.”