Photo contests seem to be pretty commonplace, so it’s a treat when one produces some memorable results.
The NWRA is a nonprofit group that “works to protect America’s wildlife heritage” through conservation. Much of its work is focused on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 150-million acre National Wildlife Refuge System. The system includes 552 refuges, and every U.S. state and territory includes at least one. Check out a dozen of our faves from the finalists' gallery:
Fourth-place: Yellow warbler, St. Marks NWR in Florida, by Betsy Kellenberger.
Bullfrog, ready to exhale, Prime Hook NWR in Delaware, by Joe Urban.
Snow geese, Bosque Del Apache in New Mexico, by Colin Smith.
Third place: Dueling eagles, Upper Mississippi River NWR in Illinois, by Les Zigurski.
Manatee and kayaker, Crystal River NWR in Florida, by Carol Grant.
A pair of masked boobies and tortoises, Hawaiian Islands NWR, by Mark Sullivan.
Western grebe and chicks, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah, by Jon Hyde and Kimberly Sultze.
Sunrise, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, by Lou Kellenberger.
Snowy egret skimming for food, Sacramento NWR in California, by Hazel Holby.
Glossy ibis, Edwin B. Forsythe NWR in New Jersey, by William Schmitz.
Roseate spoonbills, J.N. "Ding" Darling NWR in Florida, by Harold Wagle.