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Wisconsin’s Great Waters Annual Photo Contest and Writing Project

Each year, the DNR's Office of Great Waters holds a photo contest and writing project. These contributions are presented in our annual "Wisconsin's Great Waters" calendars. Each calendar is a unique collection of photos from our photo contest, creative writings submitted by Wisconsin authors and descriptions of stewardship projects. The calendars, photos and writings clearly show that Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and the Mississippi River are among Wisconsin's most scenic and beloved natural resources.

2024 Great Waters Photo Contest and Writing Project

The 2024 Great Waters Photo Contest and Writing Project submission deadline is April 1, 2024. Top photos and writings will be used in the next Wisconsin's Great Waters Calendar and in other DNR publications, webpages and displays.

We invite you to submit your best photos of the mighty Mississippi, Lake Michigan or Lake Superior for our 2024 Great Waters Photo Contest. Photos of all seasons are needed!

Entry categories

An individual may submit up to a total of four photos. Categories are:  

  1. People Enjoying Our Great Waters (Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and Mississippi River) - We are looking for images of all the ways people interact with our waters: fishing, boating, playing on the beach, etc.
  2. Natural Features - Submit photos showing the awesome beauty of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River waters and shorelines in all seasons. Sunrises, sunsets, vistas, storms, waves, flowing waters and ice formations are examples in this category.
  3. Wildlife - We are looking for images of the many species of wildlife that rely on the Great Lakes and Mississippi River: fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, insects, etc.
  4. Historical and Cultural Features - Submit photos of lighthouses, harbor towns, river towns, shipping, festivals, etc.
Rules and Instructions
  1. The contest is open to everyone.
  2. Photos must be submitted electronically. Attach each photo (jpg format) to a separate email. In each email, please include the photo title, location in Wisconsin the photo was taken, the entry category, your name, email address, mailing address and phone number. Email to:
  3. Photos must be high resolution (maximum file size 20 MB), horizontal in orientation and taken in Wisconsin, with some exceptions for border areas. Photo editing is OK!
  4. The DNR reserves the right to use an electronic or print copy of any image entered in the contest for non-commercial educational or promotional use with credit to the photographer. For example, photos may be used in DNR displays, slide shows, videos, publications, webpages, etc.
Judging and Awards

Photos will be judged by a panel of Wisconsin DNR staff. Criteria for judging will include creativity, visual and technical merit and composition.

Winning photographs will be included in the annual Wisconsin's Great Waters calendar and featured on the DNR website. Winning photographers will be contacted by mail or email and will receive the calendar by mail.

2024 Great Waters Writing Project

Is your talent writing? Help get the word out about how great Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River are - either with creative writing or with a description of stewardship efforts you are proud of.

For example, send us your original short essays, stories, poems or songs inspired by your connection to our Great Waters. Another option is to describe stewardship efforts you, your agency or a local group is taking to protect or restore the shore, backwaters, wetlands or beaches of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior or the Mississippi River. Include a description of the partners involved, funding and accomplishments.

Written submissions should be approximately 200 words. All authors will be credited.

Email writing entries to: Include your name, address, phone number and email address.