2016 Southern Exposures Multi-Media Show

Our 8th Annual Southern Exposures Youth Nature Photo Contest is open for entry! The Valley Land Fund Nature Photo Contest was first launched over two decades ago, as a way to create awareness of what wildlife existed on private land and ultimately to add value to that wildlife. Contests followed every two years until the last official South Texas Shootout in 2008. It was then that Southern Exposures was created. This unique program was designed to have children explore the natural areas in the eight counties of South Texas by photographing and documenting our native wildlife and its habitat during the summer! The contest is an excellent way for children of Rio Grande Valley and South Texas to learn about nature while having fun. As photography evolves, it’s never been easier to capture images of the world around us – and the most compelling nature images can help protect wildlife in profound ways.

Excellence in children’s programming honored

Texas Award Best Children's Programming

The city of McAllen honors the Valley Land Fund at a City Commission meeting, left to right, Mark Moseley-VLF Vice President, Debralee Rodriguez-VLF Executive Director, Colleen Hook-Manager Quinta Mazatlan, Dennis Burleson-VLF President, and John Martin-VLF Founder & Visionary.

The Valley Land Fund and Quinta Mazatlan won a state award for excellence in children’s programming.

The award was presented through the Texas Festival and Events Association conference. The award-winning program is the summer youth nature photo contest titled “Southern Exposures.”

Nature photography is a powerful tool in the effort for conservation. Southern Exposures gets kids outdoors looking for subjects, discovering angles and engaging in an adventure, said Debralee Rodriguez, executive director of the Valley Land Fund.

“Viewing the natural world through a camera lens provides a unique perspective that our children may not normally have considered,” Rodriguez said.  The youth nature photo contest has been going on for eight years, inviting amateur photographers between the ages of 6 and 18 to submit photos taken in the Rio Grande Valley during the months of June and July.

“The contest is a natural wellspring for young people to learn about our South Texas wildlife and habitat,” VLF Board President Dennis Burleson said.

There are various categories ranging from Mammals & Birds to Ranches & Farms. The youth contest awards ceremony for the 2016 summer participants will take place on Thursday, Aug. 18, at 7 p.m. at Quinta Mazatlan.

“Throughout the contest, children develop new skills and an appreciation for the natural world,” said Colleen Hook, manager of Quinta Mazatlan. “By encouraging participants to use cameras, smartphones or tablets to document the wild world around them, more participants continue to enter the educational contest and more participants become stronger stewards of the land.”