Expressing one's love for living in the Wood River Valley comes in many forms, from philanthropy to volunteering and through art and writing. Capturing the best of the valley's admiration, the Wood River Land Trust's Heart of the Valley Contest has proved itself as a yearly opportunity for residents to express why they love living in the valley.
"We had 50 photographs and 30 writing submissions," said Wood River Land Trust contest founder Heather Kimmel. "It's a very similar showing to last year. However, this year we had a greater participation for writing from community members."
Kimmel is also the program and membership coordinator for the Wood River Land Trust, and said that every year the contest brings valley residents to the organization that had not been previously aware of it.
The Wood River Land Trust is a local nonprofit organization that protects and restores land, water and wildlife habitat in the Wood River Valley and its surrounding areas by working cooperatively with private landowners and local communities.
"People approached the contest from a variety of angles and how moving to the valley made their life different and better," Kimmel said. "There were a couple of submissions having to do with local art. The cultural aspect was a nice twice I have not seen before."
The contest culminates in a public awards reception at which winners will be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at 6 p.m. at 684 Fourth St. in Ketchum (the corner of Fouth and Spruce), next door to Iconoclast Books. All photography submissions will be displayed, and light refreshments will be served. Selected writings from this year's contest will be read at Iconoclast Books in February.
"Each year gets better and better with higher quality of writing and broader participation by the community," Kimmel said. "It is a great way to stay in contact with the community, what they worry about and what is happening, especially in times like these. It is a great way for people to remember why they are here."
The contest is sponsored by Bank of America and winners receive prizes from Iconoclast Books, Sturtevants Mountain Outfitters, Silver Creek Outfitters, Patagonia and others. For details, call 788-3947 or e-mail email@example.com.