Official Rules

1. The contest is open to all citizens or permanent residents of the United States. U.S. Forest Service employees and their immediate family members may not apply.

2. All photos must contain both of the following elements to be considered for a prize: 1) Trees and nature and 2) an urban or community setting.

3. Judges will favorably consider photos containing the following additional elements:

  • family fun
  • diversity of people
  • volunteer service
  • professional tree care (proper practice and safety gear on display)
  • landscape views (such as trees against the city skyline)
  • smart growth (such as tree lined bike-lanes in use)
  • beautiful tree forms
  • close ups of features like leaves, bark or berries
  • wildlife
  • use of the free i-Tree software

4. Each photographer may enter only two photos. No photos judged in previous U.S. Forest Service contests may be entered.

5. By entering the contest, you grant the U.S. Forest Service a royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable permission in the photo(s) to use, reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies to the public, and display publicly, in any media, and by any manner and means, now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, for U.S. Forest Services purposes. By entering the contest, you agree that it is your sole responsibility to obtain all permissions necessary to grant these rights.  The images must not have been previously published in any publication.

6. By entering, you agree to: (a) comply with and be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of the U.S. Forest Service which are binding and final in all matters relating to this Contest (b) release and hold harmless the U.S. Forest Service, and its respective parent, subsidiary, and affiliated entities, and any other organizations responsible for sponsoring, fulfilling, administering, advertising, or promoting the Contest, and all of their respective past and present officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liability, including but not limited to negligence and damages of any kind to persons and property, including but not limited to invasion of privacy (under appropriation, intrusion, public disclosure of private facts, false light in the public eye or other legal theory), defamation, slander, libel, violation of right of publicity, infringement of trademark, copyright or other intellectual property rights, property damage, or death or personal injury arising out of or relating to your entry, creation of an entry or submission of an entry, participation in the Contest, acceptance or use or misuse of prize (including any travel or activity related thereto) and/or the broadcast, transmission, performance, exploitation or use of entry; and (d) indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the U.S. Forest Service from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liabilities (including reasonable attorneys’ fees arising out of or relating to your participation in the Contest and/or your acceptance, use or misuse of award. 

7. Entries must be emailed to and submitted on for consideration.

8. Deadline for submission is July 22, 2012.

9. The U.S. Forest Service will not return submissions.

10. You must include with your images the following information: your name, mailing address, phone number, email address and day/month/year image captured.

11. You must provide a detailed caption for each image, describing Who, What, Where and When. For example: John Smith and his daughter stroll along the Waterfall trail in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Monday, April 9, 2012.

12. You must complete and sign a Copyright Permission form granting the U.S. Forest Service rights to use your image. Click here for form.

13. For any photo submitted in which a person is recognizable, you must submit a Consent/Release form from the subject, or in the case of a minor, the subject’s parent or guardian. Click here for form.

14. A panel of judges, with significant photography and publishing experience, will determine the winners. The decision of the judges will be final.

15. Images will be eliminated from the competition if they are obtained by illegal or unauthorized access to restricted areas; show unsafe practices or situations; or are of low technical quality (for example: soft focus, lens scratches, poor exposure, heavy digital manipulation).

16. Only 300 dpi (hi-res) digital image files, between 3MB and 4.5MB in size will be accepted. Files should be in TIFF or JPEG format.

17. Images depicting safety violations, as determined by the panel of judges, will be disqualified.

18. Life or property cannot be jeopardized to obtain photos.

19. Images must not contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, obscene, hateful, defamatory, slanderous, or libelous.

20. Images must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred, or harm against any group or individual, or that promotes discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age.

21. Images must not contain material that violates any applicable law.

22. Photos that are date stamped will be eliminated from the competition.