Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Larsen wins Kenneth J. Lehman Nature Trails photo contest


Julia Larsen won the top two awards in the Kenneth J. Lehman Nature Trails Photo Contest. She took first place in the Animals and Other categories. One photo was of a salamander on pincushion moss. The other was slime mold on a fallen tree. Both photos were taken on the Witch Hazel Trail. 

The contest was open to anyone who took photos on the nature trails between May 1, 2022, and April 15, 2023. The photos must fit into one of four categories: Animal, Plant/Fungi, Landscape, or Other. 

Tayler Hoover won second place in the Other category. The photo was taken on the White Pine Trail and was of a little girl touching a fallen log by a tree. Larsen also placed second in the Animals category with a photo of a giant leopard moth caterpillar resting in a bundle of crisp fall leaves on the Swamp Walkway Trail. 

The first photo contest was in 2014-2015. The Nature Trails Committee has enjoyed the process of picking the winners each year and looking through the incredible pictures that the community takes on MCC’s Sidney campus.  

Heather Wesp, Biology Instructor and Chair of the Nature Trails Committee, talked about the importance of the trails. 

“I think people should visit the trails because it gives us an opportunity to step outside of our busy lives and away from our stressors,” Wesp said. “A 15 or 30-minute walk can relax or reinvigorate you. It doesn't matter if you get some solo time of reflection or if you are enjoying spending time with family, friends, or four-legged companions. We have many beautiful trails and you never know what you might see!” 

The trails are located on Montcalm Community College’s Sidney campus. They are open to the public from dawn until dusk, 365 days a year.  

The Nature Trails Committee is always looking for volunteers to keep the trails clear and clean. If you’re interested, consider the adopt-a-trail program which runs annually from May through October. With 13 trail options covering grassy areas, forest habitats, and wetland edges, there is something for everyone. Trails may be adopted by individuals or groups.  

To view this year’s photo contest images, learn more about the adopt-a-trail program, and check out upcoming nature trails events, visit You can also contact the Nature Trails Committee by emailing 


Media contact:
Shelly Springborn
Director of Communications and Public Relations