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2013 Green Photo Contest winner takes more great photos — of whales!

Last fall, WWF’s Schools for a Living Planet partnered with OWL and chickaDEE magazines, Eagle Wing Tours and The Fairmont Empress to offer one lucky reader a trip to Victoria, British Columbia to see whales in the wild.

To enter, nearly 1,000 children aged 6–13 photographed anything in nature and submitted their best shot to a panel of judges at WWF and Owlkids. Seven-year-old Justin Warkentin from Prince George, BC, won the contest with this photo:

Justin's winning photo © Justin Warkentin

Justin’s winning photo © Justin Warkentin

After anticipating his trip for nearly a year, Justin travelled to Victoria this summer. It was his first-ever trip on an airplane! He just got back home from his trip and was able to answer a few questions and share some of his favourite photos with us.

What was the best thing about your trip?

“The best thing about my trip was being able to take close-up pictures of whales with my new camera.  I discovered that taking pictures of whales is very difficult in a boat on the ocean. We quickly spotted a mother and baby humpback whale. They would breach and splash but I didn’t know when and where to point my camera.  The waves were rocking the boat, and the spray was getting on my camera lens.  At first, I didn’t think I would be able to get any good photos.  My dad helped steady me and pre-focus the camera so I could get the photo at the right time.  We had about 40 minutes around these whales and I got all kinds of photos of splashes, fins, and breaches.  I was very proud of some of my photos.”

 © Justin Warkentin

© Justin Warkentin

 © Justin Warkentin

© Justin Warkentin

What was the most interesting thing you learned about whales on your trip?  

“I learned many interesting things about whales from the guide at Eagle Wing Tours.  I learned that barnacles can grow on humpback whales and I even saw some on the mother humpback whale.  Also how the humpbacks migrate long distances and were just passing through the Victoria area but most of the orcas live there all year.  Humpback whales eat krill and orcas mainly eat salmon.  They are truly amazing creatures of the sea.”

 © Justin Warkentin

© Justin Warkentin

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

“This was my first time going on an airplane so I was excited to see what it would be like.  I was the one who got to have the window seat so I could see everything out the window as we flew.  I especially liked seeing the coastal mountains as we came into Vancouver.”

“I had also never stayed in a hotel before.  Our room at the Fairmont Empress had an amazing view of the harbour.   My mom, dad, brother and sister enjoyed it all, too.”

Justin and his dad  © Justin Warkentin

Justin and his dad © Justin Warkentin

Thanks Justin!

WWF’s Schools for a Living Planet connects educators and students of all ages to WWF’s conservation work. Join the S4LP community and learn how you can inspire your classrooms and classmates to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.