Queens Gazette

Queens County Resident Places in 2023 “Reflections” PA State Park and Forest Photo Contest

With over 700 photo submissions, the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF) congratulates all participants and the top 20 winners for the 2023 ‘Reflections’ photo contest.“The enthusiasm individuals have for their state parks and forests is apparent in the abundance of images submitted,” remarked Marci Mowery, President of PPFF. “Photography is one of the numerous avenues through which people revel in the beauty and inspiration of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.”Queens County, NY resident Xu Weng, won the Judge’s Choice for “What State Parks and Forests Mean to Me” with a photo taken at Hickory Run State Park while enjoying a Memorial Day friends’ trip. “I met two friends several years ago when we started our careers at the same company. Our work can be stressful, so to alleviate burnout, we decided to go on a hiking trip.”

While reflecting on the trip, she continues, “We actually got lost on the hike, took a wrong turn somewhere, and found ourselves on a completely different trail than the one we intended. But we found that this unintended trail had stunning foliage including a particular section in which the trees curled in on themselves before curving to the side, giving the impression of a tunnel. My friends and I took numerous goofy pictures of us skipping, dancing, and strutting like a model up and down this section, which resulted in this picture. Clearly, we took a right turn after all! I submitted this picture for the ‘What Parks and Forests Mean to Me’ because it shows that the parks are a place of healing for all ages, a place where strait-laced corporate professionals like us can have fun and be free and do silly stuff like skipping down a wooded path without judgement.”


Xu goes on to talk more about her visit stating, “We loved the helpfulness and expansiveness of the Visitor Center at Hickory Run State Park. The rangers were super friendly and excited to explain which trails had the best views, which areas would be less crowded at that time of day, and even what places to avoid for ticks. It was inspiring to meet people who clearly love what they do where they are, and love sharing their love with new people (visitors like us) wanting to experience it.”You can view the winners and all of the 2023 submissions on PPFF’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/PennsylvaniaParksAndForestsFoundation/photos_albums .The 2024 Photo Contest is now open! This years’ theme encourages photographers to “Leap In” and utilize Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests for new adventures, volunteering, experiences, and seeking the ‘awe’ of nature. For information on categories, rules, and submitting your photos, visit our website at PAParksAndForests.org/our-work/recreation/photo-contest/.

PPFF’s Judge’s Choice in ‘What Parks and Forests Mean to Me’ by Xu Weng at Hickory Run State Park.

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