Coalition Announces Winners of Great Lakes Story & Photo Contest

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (October 4)—A father’s decision to fish with his sons before being deployed to Iraq. A woman’s relationship with Lake Michigan during milestones in her life.  A child’s chase down the beach. A teenager’s leap for joy on a sand dune.

These are some of the subjects of the winning entries for the month of August and the contest as a whole in the Great Lakes story and photo contest, which concluded in late August.

“People’s love for the Great Lakes is clear by looking at the winning entries—and all of the entries that we received during the contest,” said Jeff Skelding, national campaign director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, sponsor of the contest. “The contest shows how important the Great Lakes are to our lives, and we thank all of the people who have shared their stories, memories and pictures.”

The contest attracted more than 200 photos and 100 stories from across the country.

All of the winning entries can be found online at:


In the photo contest:

Brian Lisek from La Grange Park, Ill., captures a grand prize with a shot of his children having fun at a day at the beach, at:

Ed Peterson from Sugar Grove, Ill., wins with his photo of a playful chase of a young man and his dog, at:

In the story contest:

Deborah Jones of Muskegon, Mich., describes the presence of Lake Michigan during important events in her life, at:

Staff Sergeant Darrald Martin of Harrison, Mich., currently stationed in Iraq, explains why he chose fishing with his sons upon learning of his impending deployment at:


The PHOTO CONTEST featured five winners:

Andrew, of Midland, Mich., wins in the children’s category for a scenic shot of sand dunes, in “Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes.”

High school student Evy of Oak Brook, Ill., wins with a shot of an exuberant leap into the air, “Jumping for Joy.”

Paul Kops of Twin Lake, Mich., wins in the adult category for his shot of several boys jumping in the dunes, “Kids Having Fun.”

Mark Vipond of Elm Grove, Wisc., also took home a prize in the adult category for a photo of his children romping on the beach, with “Driftwood Chase.”

Andrew Sawyer of Saint Joseph, Mich., also placed with “Two Hearted Fly Fishing,” a photo he took of his son fly-fishing.

In the story contest:

The GENERAL DIVISION featured three winners:

In the children’s general category, Addy, from Reed City, Mich., wins for her story, “The Lake That Had a Lighthouse in the Middle of It.”

In the general category, high school student, Victoria, of Ann Arbor, Mich., provides her musings on our love for lighthouses, with “Great Lakes Lighthouses.” 

In the adult general category, Golden, Colo., resident Christine Weeber wins for “Breaking Skin,” which states: “Sometimes it helps to have input from those you love when deciding on a long-term mate.”

The FISHING DIVISION featured two winners:

In the children’s fishing category, Izek in Warsaw, Ohio, gives a humorous account of his day on the lake in “Fishing on Lake Erie.”

In the adult fishing category, Joe Polasek of Downers Grove, Ill., shares his memories of smelt fishing as a child, in “Senses.”

The CAMPING DIVISION featured four winners:

In the children’s camping story category, Robbie of Redford, Mich., tells of his “Most Memorable Hike Ever” at:

Also in the children’s camping division, Ian of Western Springs, Ill., takes home a prize for his story, “Camping, Camping, Camping.”

In the high school category, Maddie from Waterville, Ohio, takes home a prize for “Our Night in the Woods.”

In the adult camping division, Amy Peterson, from Haslett, Mich., tells of a camping and canoeing trip for her dogs in, “Pups Vacation.”

Past Winners:


In the photo contest:

Ed Peterson from Sugar Grove, Ill., captures a chase between son and dog, at:

Jane Solow from Grand Rapids, Mich., shot her daughter and granddaughter fishing:

Brian Lisek from La Grange Park, Ill., captures the pure joy of the beach at:

In the children’s category, Brigid from Oak Park, Ill., sends some toes in the water:

In the story contest, the fishing division winners:

Diane Neese from Manhattan, Ill., took first place for her amusing, “Me and My Bass.”

While Paul Lender from Willowick, Ohio, did not miss out with his “First Catch.”

The children’s category featured some sage advice from Hayden from Rockford, Mich.

Camping winner of the month, Kathy Noskey from Lowell, Mich., tells us about an experience that she will never forget in “Experience of My Life.”

In the children’s category, Bonnie of Rockford, Mich., wins for her “Camping at the Beach.”

The general story category winners:

Crystal A. Proxmire from Royal Oak, Mich., took first place with her story, “Waves,” about her friendship with her dad and their fondness of the Great Lakes:

Ann Joachim from Oak Park, Ill., also placed with her story, “Wild River Flowing.”

In the children’s category, Sarah from Clarendon Hills, Ill., was selected for her story,
“A Great Lake,” about mentoring her younger sister while having fun at the beach.


Randy Edwards from Columbus, Ohio, writes about a fishing trip with a buddy in “A $5 Trip to Au Sable River.” You can read it at:

Nancy Hulka from Muskegon, Michigan, writes about Native American traditions and the state of the lakes in “Michigan Ndoonjibaa: Michigan Where My Spirit is From.”

Daniel Lezman from Holland, Michigan, tells a story about how the power of Lake Michigan showed itself when he and his sons were not expecting it in “Display of the Power of Lake Michigan.” You can read it at:

Albert Wouters from Byron Center, Michigan, photographed several men fishing on a breaker wall, braving the wind, cold and ice of a Michigan winter. You can view it at:

The contest sought to inspire people of all ages to submit their stories and photos for a chance to win prizes and awarded prizes in four contest categories:

-General story
-Fishing story
-Camping story

The contest featured three awards per category, in the following age groups:

-Child (K-8th grade)
-High school student (9-12th grade)

For the month of August, as in July, some categories featured more than one prizewinner due to either leftover prizes from the previous month or extra prizes donated by sponsoring institutions.

Corporate sponsors were Meijer and REI. Educational sponsors include the Akron Zoo, Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo, Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin, John Ball Zoo, and Shedd Aquarium. 

The Healthy Lakes, Healthy Lives Campaign is directed by the Healing Our Waters®-Great Lakes Coalition. The coalition consists of more than 90 zoos, aquariums, museums, and hunting, fishing, and environmental organizations representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes.

For more information, visit

Immediate Release: 
October 4, 2007

Jordan Lubetkin, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, (734) 887-7109,
Tanya Cabala, Great Lakes Consulting, (231) 981-0016,

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