Take a shot at first America in Bloom photo contest

Capture the spirit of AIB with a Planting Pride picture

September 11, 2012

Photographers can showcase their talents by participating in the first-ever “Planting Pride Photo Contest: Capturing the Spirit of America in Bloom.” This contest, sponsored by America in Bloom and GIE Media, will showcase efforts to beautify and improve communities. Photos will be categorized into seven criteria: floral displays, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental efforts, heritage preservation, overall impression and community involvement.

“People across the country are doing beautiful and innovative things to make their communities better places to live, work, play, and visit,” says Laura Kunkle, America in Bloom executive director. “It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Communities have great stories to tell, and we want to help them tell that story through photographs. By framing the photo contest around these seven criteria we can spotlight various aspects of a community’s beauty and community involvement.”

The contest runs through June 1, 2013 to allow for photographs to represent the changing weather seasons. Public online voting will take place from June 2 to August 31 with winners announced in September 2013 during the America in Bloom Symposium & Awards Program in Orlando, Florida.

To submit photos or to learn more about the contest, visit www.AmericaInBloom.org. To enter, visit www.gardencentermagazine.com

Photo Categories & Definitions

Floral Displays: Flower beds, containers, baskets, window boxes. Arrangement, originality, distribution, location, diversity, balance, harmony, quality of maintenance. Use and integration of annuals, perennials, ornamental grasses, bulbs, and seasonal flowers.

Landscaped Areas: Overall design and suitability of landscape, turf and ground covers. Use of native plants. Overall design and suitability for location/use; good use of design principles (i.e., balance of plant material and constructed elements, harmony, color, texture, shape, etc.). Sustainability. Integration of hardscapes, lighting, site features, sculpture. Maintenance (weeds, mulching practices, edging); site rejuvenation and rehabilitation. Efforts in strategic planning. Community gardens, children’s gardens, public gardens and zoos.

Urban Forestry: Distribution, variety and suitability of trees; new plantings; urban tree program; qualified personnel or access to trained individual(s); inventory or database; frequency of tree surveys; care and maintenance programs; preservation of heritage trees and woodlots; scheduled succession plantings. Efforts in management, planning, maintenance, improvement, and innovation.

Environmental Efforts: Sustainability practices. Recycling (paper, glass, metal, plastic, electronics, etc.), policies and by-laws, sustainable development strategies, waste reduction, hazardous waste minimization and collection (oil, paint, chemicals, used batteries, etc.), water quality and conservation, energy conservation, environmental cleanup activities, reducing carbon footprint, environmentally friendly transportation, LEED certification, air, noise and light pollution, rain gardens and rain barrels, composting, energy efficiency, youth programs, etc. Events such as Earth Day, Recycling Days, Bike to Work Days, etc.

Heritage Preservation: Historical, natural, agricultural, and cultural heritage. Preservation and restoration of buildings, homes, churches, cemeteries; heritage sites and/or monuments; heritage parks, historical gardens and heritage trees; artifacts; historical society; heritage advisory committee, museums, archives, history books, and interpretative programs; ordinances and policies. Resource availability. Farmers markets, festivals and parades.

Overall Impression: Cleanliness, lack of litter and graffiti. Maintenance of public open spaces, medians and boulevard strips, streets, sidewalks, walking and biking trails, curbs, ditches, road shoulders, unattended and vacant lots, buildings, garbage receptacles; lack of weeds, dog waste policies and receptacles, notices/posters appropriately displayed,  vandalism not evident. Maintenance of the hardscape: walls, lamp posts, benches, playgrounds, etc. Appropriate use and placement of graphic elements such as banners, signs, and murals.

Community Involvement: Citizen involvement in projects for the betterment and enjoyment of the entire community.