The Tongass and Chugach National Forests are kicking off a summer-long story and poster series along with a statewide, social-media-driven photo contest highlighting the beauty and diversity of these unique community assets.
The contest, conducted in partnership with Alaska Geographic, features the popular smart-phone application Instagram. Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to share photos of the Forests throughout the summer. Winners will receive a copy of the “Tongass National Forest” or “Chugach National Forest” coffee table books published by Alaska Geographic, a set of the posters and a collectable pin. Check out the photos on Instagram and set up an account to vote for your favorite.
The contest and story series are designed to build on 2011's International Year of the Forest by recognizing the connection between Alaskans and their backyard forests and to find new ways to explore and recreate in them. This year, the Forests are also presenting two new collectible posters with the themes “Adventure within Range” and “Rooted in Community.” The new posters are out now and available free to anyone who wants one; stop by your local Forest Service office to pick up one or both. And if you missed it last year, there a few of the International Year of the Forest posters left.
While Instagram and the posters explore the community and adventure themes through imagery, stories also shape these places. Each month, the Forests will release a new set of stories related to these themes, drawing out just how fundamental community and adventure are to the Alaska lifestyle. The stories will all be posted online - Chugach and Tongass stories - and will highlight people, communities, activities and events you may not be aware of from the Forests.
These stories are not the only stories out there — the Forest Service wants to hear about your experiences, favorite places and thoughts about the forest landscapes and neighboring communities. In addition to the Instagram competition, which will tell our stories through pictures, the Forests will be posing a “question of the week” on Twitter, inviting thoughts and reflections on specific places or experiences.
Get out there
Some of those experiences might come at one of the many events and activities happening across both Forests this summer, such as fishing days, Get Outdoors day, and BioBlitz—go to myalaskaforests.com for a full listing. And if you’re looking for other ideas for where to go in the Forests, download the Alaska App in iTunes and search for the Tongass or Chugach. New material is going online all the time, so check back often.
Photo competition details
Photo competition will run through 5 p.m. July 15. Photos posted on Instagram and Twitter must be hashtagged with “#myakforests.” Please also include a brief description of where the photo was taken, including which forest. If you link your photo to Twitter, be sure to mention us, @TongassNF or @ChugachForestAK.
The winners are...
As of 5 p.m. July 15, the photo from each forest with the most “likes” will win. There will be two winners, one for each forest. Winners will be notified within Instagram as a comment on their photo as well as a photo announcement. Winners will be asked to send the photo by email along with mailing address for sending awards.