Nature's Value Photography Competition - CLOSED

Entires are now being judged. Winning and highly commended entries will be announced on this page in the coming weeks.


All winning and highly commended entries will be exhibited In June. Entry is Free to both exhibitions due to generous support from the Suffolk Coast & Heaths SDF Fund

The Longshed, Tide Mill Lane, Woodbridge June 8th – 12th

• Saturday 8th June 15:00—18:00

• Sunday 9th June 10:00—16:00

• Monday 10th June 12:00—18:00

• Tuesday 11th June 12:00—18:00

• Wednesday 12th June 12:00—18:00

Ipswich County Library, Northgate Street, Ipswich June 17th – 29th

• During library opening hours

The natural environment has progressively declined over the past 70 years. You might think this would hit the headlines and that everyone would see there is a big risk in allowing the degradation of the natural world. The problem is that communicating this issue is really difficult!

We can't tell you why you should care for nature because only you know why it matters to you. The Suffolk Marine Pioneer wants us all to recognise the value of nature. But just what is the value of nature?

We are inviting you take part in our 'Nature's value' photography competition to help us communicate why the natural environment is important to us. The old adage that a picture paints a thousand words has never been more appropriate and we invite you to paint that picture for all of us. We can only accept photos from those who are 18 year or older.

Our fantastic prizes won’t be won by simply taking a pretty picture, though. We need you to tell us why nature brings you benefit. That’s why we are asking for each image to be submitted with a short caption, poem or message that helps convey how you see value in nature. Getting the caption right will not be easy! It needs to change the way people view the picture. Help them see deeper into what nature provides through your words. Check out the FAQ for more advice but be sure to relate your caption to the ecosystem services associated with the category you enter - To help get you started, we are splitting entries into four categories. These categories link with the scientific way of classifying the benefits nature gives to us known as ‘ecosystem services’. The categories are:

“Provisions” – These type of benefits are perhaps most easily recognised as physical things we get from nature. Fresh fish, game, wood for fuel or building and pretty gems or shells to decorate ourselves or our homes are all provisional ecosystem services.

"Supporting Us” – These services often go unseen and are the hardest to value. They are the glue that holds everything together. Without supporting ecosystem services, nature wouldn’t’ be able to provide us with such amazing benefits. Some examples include production of oxygen, soil formation and water cycling.

“Enjoying the Natural World” – There is a reason we like to go out for a countryside walk, to sail on a breezy day or to take a moment under a special tree. Nature can help us feel grounded and with a sense or purpose, it is good for the body, soul and mind. Cultural ecosystem services are non-material benefits that enrich us.

“Natural Processes” – Natural processes keep everything in balance. You tend to only notice these when we push our luck – smog in cities and a warming climate are warning signs that nature has its limits. Technically they are known as regulatory ecosystem services and include climate regulation, waste decomposition, water filtration and flood protection.

To celebrate the very best competition entries we have some fantastic prizes to give away from our very generous supporters including; 2x VIP tickets to Latitude Festival; Afternoon tea for four people at The Swan, Adnam’s wonderful hotel in Southwold. You could win a year of relaxation in Moreton Hall’s floatation and relaxation tanks, alternatively a year’s National Trust membership, an annual pass to Africa Alive! & Banham zoo or even an unforgettable wildlife experience with Suffolk Wildlife Trust. All of our winners and many highly commended images will be publicly exhibited along the beautiful Deben estuary in June and one lucky winner will get their entry framed and mounted by photography experts at




What kind of captions are you looking for?
There are so many good photographers out there that the captions are likely to be the deciding factor in judging this competition. We are asking for more than just pretty photos of the  environment. Your photos needs to show; how nature supports itself; provides for us; the functioning of  underlying processes or why nature puts a smile on your face. It's nigh on impossible to capture this in one photo, hence the addition of caption. We can't say what kind of caption will help (it will depend on the photo, the category and what element of nature you focus on) But we can say that it's wise to use your caption to link your photo with your chosen category - get in touch if your still confused!

What are the conditions of Entry?
The full terms and conditions of entry can be found here.  It is very important you understand these before you enter. The competition opens on March 11th and closes on May 13th.

How do I Submit my photos?
All photos must be submitted electronically as .jpeg files through the form at the bottom of this webpage. It is important that you fill in all information on the form, especially the caption or your entry may not qualify. Please name your photos in the following format [Initial.Surname.Image number], for example. J.Smith.7.

I don’t know which category to enter– help!

The four categories have been set to mirror the different classifications of natural benefits. The brief descriptions given above should give you an idea of where your image (and caption!) would fit.  You are welcome to submit your image into more than one category if you think it works on many layers.
 How will my photos be judged?

Our 5 judges will be making their decisions based on their professional expertise and 3 criteria, as follows;

  • Communicating Nature’s value (50%)
  • Artistic Merit (30%)
  • Technical Ability (20%)   

Please submit your entry below by 13th May 2019.

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The Nature's Value photography competition is being run for the Suffolk Marine Pioneer. The Marine Pioneer is a project that is trying to understand how we can better look after the natural world by recognising the benefits it offers us. The Marine pioneer has two study areas. One on the Suffolk Coast and one in North Devon. To find out more please follow the links below.

Landscapes for life link image