Dr. Caroline Rogers Wins Grand Prize in Ocean Conservancy Photo Contest

Dr. Caroline Rogers’ efforts to highlight the beauty of the underwater world which surrounds the Virgin Islands recently received additional publicity when Rogers, who works with the U.S. Geological Survey and enjoys photography in her spare time, was selected as the grand prize winner in the Ocean Conservancy’s 2006 Marine Wildlife Contest.

Rogers’ picture of a hawksbill turtle, which she photographed near Waterlemon Cay, will be featured in the fall issue of the quarterly publication Ocean Conservancy Magazine, which will be on newsstands in September.

Rogers submitted five photos for the contest, which were judged by the Ocean Conservancy’s creative team, according to Ocean Conservancy Media Relations Manager Kelly Shall.

In addition to selecting her hawksbill turtle photo for the grand prize, the Ocean Conservancy used some of Rogers’ other photos as well, the local scientist and photographer explained.

“They used a photo I submitted of a nurse shark that I took in Great Lameshur on the shark week page on their Web site, and they used two other photos in their publications,” said Rogers.

Rogers’ award-winning hawksbill turtle photo is on display locally in her exhibit at the Elaine I. Sprauve Library, and will soon be displayed at R&I Patton.

“It’s kind of fun that the Ocean Conservancy chose one of the photos in the exhibit at the library,” said Rogers.
Rogers said she was surprised to learn she had won the grand prize in the Ocean Conservancy contest.

“It was really neat,” said Rogers. “I was so surprised. They sent me a letter telling me I’d won the grand prize, which was really exciting.”
Rogers was awarded a $750 gift certificate to the photography store of her choice.

The local scientist was happy that her efforts to highlight the beauty of what’s left in the underwater world following a devastating 2005 coral bleaching event have been recognized.

“It’s just been very fun for me to get into underwater photography, and I’m really trying to think about all the things we still have left around here,” said Rogers. “It has been very, very hard for me to see the changes to the reefs since I’ve been living on St. John, but I’m also excited because we think they’re doing better.”

“I still really enjoy photographing the sharks, eagle rays and sea turtles, so I’m trying to keep positive about a pretty difficult situation,” she added.

Rogers said she hopes to motivate people to help preserve marine life through her photographs.

“I want to spread the word that any time we can avoid standing on a reef, or throwing an anchor on coral, it can only be for the better,” said Rogers. “There’s still a lot of beauty out there.”