Driessen Fellow Organizes Nature Photo Contest at Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University student and CFACT Driessen Fellow Jamahl Evans organized an event to get students from campus to get outdoors. He set up a photo contest asking his peers to demonstrate the beauty of nature with a picture and a short essay to describe what the photo is. The contest had wide participation with nearly 100 submissions.

Below you can find the winning essay which goes with the feature photo from Ryan Thacker.

“The Joshua Tree: Guardian of Biodiversity 

 In the vast expanse of the southwestern United States, the Joshua Tree stands as a sentinel of life and biodiversity in the harsh desert landscape. Its image, captured in a single frame, speaks volumes about its pivotal role as a sanctuary for numerous species, drawing my admiration for its profound significance in sustaining fragile ecosystems.

Central to my appreciation of the Joshua Tree is its crucial role as a sanctuary for diverse forms of life. Amidst the harsh desert conditions where resources are scarce and survival is an ongoing challenge, this iconic tree provides a vital refuge. Its sturdy branches and dense foliage offer shelter and protection to a multitude of plant and animal species, creating microhabitats where life can thrive against the odds.  Moreover, the Joshua Tree’s importance as a sanctuary extends beyond its immediate surroundings. It serves as a vital link in the intricate web of desert ecosystems, providing food, shelter, and nesting sites for a myriad of species. From tiny insects to desert rodents, birds of prey to mammals, the Joshua Tree’s presence sustains a rich tapestry of life, each species dependent on the other for survival. 

Furthermore, the Joshua Tree embodies the interconnectedness of all living things and underscores the urgent need for conservation efforts. As a keystone species in the desert ecosystem, its well-being directly impacts the health and stability of the entire habitat. By safeguarding the Joshua Tree and its surroundings, we not only protect individual species but also preserve the delicate balance of nature upon which all life depends.

In conclusion, the picture of a Joshua Tree resonates deeply with me due to its profound role as a sanctuary for biodiversity. Its ability to sustain life in one of the harshest environments on Earth is a testament to the resilience and interconnectedness of all living things. As we strive to protect and conserve this iconic tree and its habitat, we honor not only its intrinsic value but also our collective responsibility to safeguard the diversity of life on our planet.”