One of the greatest joys of gardening is watching butterflies when they come to visit my garden. Of course, these tiny, colorful flights of fancy are just casual visitors. Unlike some garden guests, butterflies never stay too long.
However, if you have a camera, you can capture their visits forever. The Papilion at Honor Heights Park is sponsoring a "Butterflies of Muskogee" photo contest. So go to your garden, camera in hand and watch for the butterflies. If you want to attract butterflies, provide nectar-rich flowers and a water source in a shallow dish. They also like full sun but they don't like wind. These are fragile creatures.
The contest rules are not rocket science. There are two categories — adults 18 or older and youth, 7 to 17. Originality and quality of the photos are the main guidelines. The theme of the competition is "Butterflies of Muskogee," so your photo must have a Muskogee heritage. It also needs to have been taken within a 60-mile radius of Muskogee. Only photos taken during this year are eligible for entry.
The contest is open to professional photographers as well as amateur shutterbugs. Kathy Coburn, the Papillionís director, said contestants will retain the rights to their photographs but must grant the Papilion, the City of Muskogee, Honor Height Park and the Friends of Honor Heights Park unlimited rights. That way, the photos can be used to promote the Papilion's varied community activities.
The entry fee is $5 per photo for either category, and entries are limited to two photos per person. Entries can be emailed as jpg files to firstname.lastname@example.org or submitted by mail on a CD or DVD to The Papilion/Parks and Recreation Department, 837 E. Okmulgee Ave., Muskogee, OK 74403.
Your photo entry must be accompanied by the entry fee. The entry also must designate 2020 Butterflies of Muskogee Photo Contest and reveal where the photograph was taken.
You have the rest of the summer to start photographing butterflies in your garden. The entries are not due until Sept. 25. The winning entries will be announced Oct. 2. Dr. Jerry Ehlers of Tulsa was the 2019 winner for a photo of a butterfly atop a sunflower. Visit the Papilion if you need photo ideas.