Mercantil Commercebank, one of the largest banks in Florida, announced the winners of the 2012 Zoolens Photography Project during a December awards ceremony at the bank’s headquarters in Coral Gables.
The bank’s Zoolens Photography Project is a photo competition, in partnership with Zoo Miami and the Zoological Society of Florida, designed to help Miami-Dade county students to build awareness and a greater sense of appreciation for the world’s wildlife.
The eligibility to participate in this year’s Zoolens Photography Project was expanded to all middle school students in Miami-Dade County. The contest ran from Sept. 29 through Nov. 9, during which time participating students were asked to take an artistic photograph of an animal from Zoo Miami and submit it either through their teachers or by bringing it to any Mercantil Commercebank banking center.
The response to the competition was overwhelming. The entries were reviewed by a panel of distinguished judges, including internationally acclaimed photo-artist María Martínez-Cañas; New World School of the Arts Visual Arts professor and curator Rosario Martínez-Cañas; Zoo Miami’s director of communications, photographer and wildlife expert Ron Magill; and Zoological Society board member Grizzel Gonzalez.
The three winners and 10 honorable mentions for the 2012 Zoolens Photography Contest were revealed during the awards ceremony. The winning picture, which was selected based on composition, artistic merit, technical ability and title, went to Alberto Parsons for his photo titled Butting Heads.
First Place: Butting Heads by Albert Parsons from South Miami K-8 Center (Expressive Arts Magnet), who received a $2,000 savings account, a professional camera and a student membership in the North American Nature Photography Association.
Second Place: Looking in a Mirror by Felipe Delgado from South Miami K-8 Center (Expressive Arts Magnet), who received a $1,500 savings account, a professional camera and student membership in the North American Nature Photography Association.
Third Place: One Foot Wonder by Michael Scibarassi from Southwood Middle School (Magnet Photography), who received a $1,000 savings account, a professional camera and a student membership in the North American Nature Photography Association
In addition, the winners’ schools received a donation from Mercantil Commercebank and the students were recognized on the Zoolens website and the Zoolens Facebook page.
“We are thrilled with the amazing response we received from Miami-Dade County middle school students and teachers,” said Millar Wilson, president and CEO or Mercantil Commercebank.
“At Mercantil Commercebank we recognize that the arts are a key element of a community’s cultural development. Through educational programs like Zoolens, we are proud to help children appreciate the beauty and importance of nature while providing a wonderful space where they can express their creativity through photography.”
The awards ceremony was attended by nearly 150 students and their families, and Ron Magill, emcee and director of communications at Zoo Miami. Also in attendance at the event was Mercantil Commercebank executive vice president and CFO Al Peraza; Miami-Dade School Board vice chair Dr. Lawrence Feldman, and Zoo Miami director Eric Stephens.
For additional information about the 2012 Zoolens Photography Project, visit online at www.zoolens.com