The first ArtsMon Photo Trail Contest is open for submissions during the month of June, 2019. Once judging is completed in July, the winning photo of each category as determined by the judges will be displayed on the Wetland Loop Trail at the West Virginia Botanic Garden for a period of around 2-4 weeks during which the general public will see the selected images on large scale prints, and will be able to vote for their favorite.

This event made possible thanks to the support of our partners at Arts Mon.


People at the Garden
Wildlife at the Garden
Plants at the Garden
Landscapes at the Garden
Other (pets, abstract, art, etc.)


Entries must be the original work of the entrant and have been taken at the West Virginia Botanic Garden (WVBG). Submissions will not be accepted after 11:59 pm on June 30. Photos will be judged by an expert panel.


Entrants may submit up to one photo per category.  

During the period of display for the public exhibit, the public will be able to vote on their favorite. The people’s choice winner will be displayed at Black Bear Burrito in Morgantown and awarded additional prizes including dinner for 2 at the restaurant.

Your Rights:

Your photographs help The WV Botanic Garden to foster learning, inspiration, and well-being through the beauty and wonder of plants, the natural environment, and culturally enriching experiences. Thank you for helping to further our mission through your photography.

You will retain all rights to any photograph you submit—including ownership if applicable.

If you submit a photograph to the Photo Contest, you grant WVBG a royalty-free, non-exclusive right in perpetuity to:


  • Display the photograph on the Photo Contest submission websites
  • Allow third parties to share the photograph on social media.
  • Use the photograph on the Internet and in Social Media in support of our mission.
  • Use the photograph in WVBG’s internal and external communications materials including but not limited to web sites and web publications, fact sheets, fund raising publications, advertising, multimedia, presentation and membership services, annual report and newsletter.


Dave Smaldone

Dave Smaldone is an obsessed nature photographer, happy to shoot grand landscapes, tiny bugs, and everything in between.  Attempting to see and capture images of nature in new ways is fascinating and fun, and is what drives him to share his passion with others.  He has led nature photography workshops for over a decade, and has won a variety of awards in contests ranging from local to international.

He is a founding member of and past President of the Morgantown Photography Club.  He moved to West Virginia in 2003, after spending seven years living out West in Idaho and Wyoming.  He was lucky enough to meet his wife when they worked together for the National Park Service in Grand Teton National Park as Naturalist Rangers.  Currently he is an Associate Professor in the Recreation, Parks & Tourism Resources Program at WVU, studying the connections between people and nature.

JoAnn Cohen Vaida

JoAnn Cohen Vaida specializes in documentary-style and art photography. She aims to capture and share the smaller, more intimate moments of life and in nature. From the giggles of childhood, to private family moments, to the awe of open landscapes, or the busy work of insects, JoAnn is most interested in recording the moments and activities we tend to take for granted, because those are often the most interesting and important.

JoAnn hails from Massachusetts but now resides in Morgantown with her husband, daughter, and tuxedo cat. She was a corporate project manager for many years before leaving to raise her daughter and pursue her art, which, in addition to photography includes paper-cutting, wood-burning, illustrating, and fiber arts. Many of the skills she uses today were built on the foundation provided by her education at Framingham State University in Framingham, Massachusetts.

JoAnn shares her work online at, and makes prints available through

Steve Heap

Steve Heap is an accomplished travel and product photographer whose images have been seen in many national and international publications, including the Washington Post, National Geographic and many travel guides around the world. He travels extensively to build his portfolio, and now has over 12,000 images available for licensing via photography agencies. As the author of a best selling book on Stock Photography, he also helps other aspiring photographers to enter this exciting if challenging world.

As the past President of the Manassas Warrenton Camera Club and organizer of the Nature Visions Conference in Northern Virginia, he has worked with many leading photographers and hopefully learned lessons from each of them! He is currently the Treasurer of our local club – the Morgantown Photography Club and is looking forward to judging the entries into this new opportunity for local photographers.

Steve shares his work online and has prints available at

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