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Photo exhibit celebrates trees
Amateur photographers enter contest, display work for Arbor Day
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John Henderson, the contests third place winner, right, tells exhibit attendee Lindsey Swida where he took his photos. - photo by Denise Etheridge

Coastal trees’ beauty and benefits have been illuminated in the annual Arbor Day photography competition hosted by the Hinesville Area Arts Council and Keep Liberty Beautiful.
Winning entries lined the walls during the contest’s opening reception Friday at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center. Organizers say the photography exhibit will soon move to the Mills House for the next two weeks.
“This year we limited the contest to local amateur photographers and to Liberty County,” said KLB executive director Sara Ann Swida. “We also made the participation somewhat easier by letting the entries be in digital format.”
The HAAC printed, sized and framed the entries for the exhibit, Swida said.
 “We had over 30 entries this year and are certainly appreciative of those local citizens who shared their interpretations,” she said. “We, of course, want people thinking about trees at this time of year because it is Georgia Arbor Day and this is certainly the prime time to plant trees in our area.”
Swida said among trees’ many benefits they help prevent soil erosion and provide shade.
“They help cool the air,” she said. “They can reduce energy costs when planted appropriately around residences and businesses. Trees also help clean the air and provide a natural habitat for birds and animals. But they also provide a distinctive, almost dreamy look and beauty to our coastal area.”
“We had more entries this year than last,” said Leah Poole with the HAAC.  Poole announced the contest winners Friday, handing $100 to first-place winner Barbara Meador, $50 to second-place winner Joyce Jarrell and $25 to third-place winner John Henderson.
Meador said she photographed a favorite tree in her backyard at noon on a Sunday afternoon. She said she liked the way the sun shone through its branches.
Jarrell entered three photographs. Her winning entry was of a cypress knoll in a cypress swamp. Jarrell also took a photo of branches bleached by the sun on the beach at Sapelo Island and a contrasting shot of green palmettos against a backdrop of stark pine trees.
Henderson’s winning entry was of a double-trunk tree growing along a pier on St. Simons Island, with a pavilion in the background.
Entries were scored based on creativity, clarity, quality and closeness to subject, the HAAC stated in a news release. Winning entries will be featured in ads, fliers and on the host organizations’ websites, according to the release.

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