Photo contest features Wilton

WILTON – The Con­servation Commission is sponsoring a photo con­test, "Photographing Wild Wilton," with the theme of native plants. The winner will receive $1,000. The contest is open to Wilton residents. Pictures must be taken in town during July.

Judging will take place in August in the Wilton Public & Gregg Free Li­brary, where entries will be displayed. Entries will be matted by Cropaholics and displayed in stores along Main Street.

The contest is organized by Jennifer Beck, who has undertaken an outreach program for the Conserva­tion Commission.

"We want to get people out of their houses and onto the trails," she told selectmen on Monday.

Beck said the outreach program is needed be­cause "no one knows what the Conservation Com­mission does, what their goals are. We need to edu­cate people, get some ex­posure, do something fun this summer."

"Wild Wilton" is the first in a series of events still being planned.

"We had hoped to put all of the entries into a calendar with a lot of in­formation," Beck said, but the costs are "too pro­hibitive for now. We don’t have enough time to raise it. Maybe next year we can get sponsors."

Beck, who was accom­panied by most of the com­mission, said they were asking the selectmen for permission to use some of their funds for the prize. The money is there, but without a specific budget line for the expense.

Selectmen approved the expenditure, with "some reservations." While they had no problems with the idea or need for the out­reach, Bill Condra and Dan Donovan questioned "the use of taxpayer money for a contest prize." Commis­sion member Bart Hunter said they hoped "to do an educational thing once a month," such as a guided hike to Sheldrick Forest or the Frye Fields.

Hunter said he arranged with the Fitch Farm to de­lay mowing the hay at Car­nival Hill because several pairs of nesting bobolinks had been found there.

"They aren’t endan­gered," he said, "but un­common around here."