Two Berks County residents place in 2023 ‘Reflections’ State Park and Forest Photo Contest

With over 700 photo submissions, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF) congratulates all participants and the top 20 winners for the 2023 ‘Reflections’ photo contest.

“The enthusiasm individuals have for their state parks and forests is apparent in the abundance of images submitted,” remarked Marci Mowery, President of PPFF. “Photography is one of the numerous avenues through which people revel in the beauty and inspiration of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.”

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Both of Reading, Dave Myers won the People’s Choice Runner Up for the ‘Conversations’ category and Elizabeth Vanderhorst won the People’s Choice Runner Up for the ‘Celebrations’ category.

Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation: Photo by Elizabeth Vanderhorst, Peoples Celebration Runner Up.

As an amateur nature photographer, Dave has spent quite a bit of time at French Creek State Park, where the winning shot was taken. “This shot caught my eye because the two birds appeared to be in a conversation with each other, or maybe more accurately, the one bird was scolding the other one. Anyway, I found it a humorous image.”

When asked what he enjoys about this state park, he said, “What I love about French Creek State Park is its proximity to my residence – about 7 or so miles – so it’s easy to hop in the car and head to the park for some light hiking, bicycling, and/or nature photography. The park is pretty well-maintained. You get to meet a lot of people walking their dogs, etc., and get to have some conversations with strangers who are also there to enjoy the accommodations.”

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Elizabeth has worked hard to teach her daughters to appreciate nature and the outdoors. “On this particular day, we were enjoying the sunny weather & celebrating the last day of summer. I couldn’t help but capture the photo of her looking like a little woodland fairy hopping across the stumps.”

“What a gift to live so close to Nolde Forest Environmental Educational Center. I love the history of Nolde Forest and how all the trees were planted because of one man’s vision. In addition, the trails are perfect for hiking with my young children, and it is always so peaceful there.,” she goes on to say.

“Pennsylvania is so fortunate to have an amazing park system (and I say that after having been to all 50 states). I grew up in the shadow of Cowans Gap State Park, spent a lot of time hiking in Caledonia State Park and Michaux State Forest, and have been camping in many of the parks. There are so many programs offered and outdoor activities to partake in through the state.”

You can view the winners and all of the 2023 submissions on PPFF’s Facebook page at

The 2024 Photo Contest is now open! This years’ theme encourages photographers to “Leap In” and utilize Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests for new adventures, volunteering, experiences, and seeking the ‘awe’ of nature. For information on categories, rules, and submitting your photos, visit our website at

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