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ICF Awards $160,000 To Nature Photo Contest Winners

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AUSTIN, Texas — The photographer-landowner team of Rolf Nussbaumer of New Braunfels and the Fennessey Ranch in Refugio County received the William Henry Jackson Award grand prize Saturday night for the 2008 Pro-Tour of Nature Photography: Coastal Bend of Texas. The photographer and ranch owners split $51,000, the top award out of a total of $160,000 in prize money.

It was Nussbaumer’s second year running to claim the top prize, sponsored this year by AEP Texas. At the awards ceremony in Victoria, Nussbaumer received the award with Fennessey Ranch owner Brien O’Connor Dunn and manager Sally Crofutt. This year’s grand prize was renamed the William Henry Jackson Award, honoring the "first photographer for conservation," a painter, photographer and explorer famous for his images of the American West.

The photo contest paired 20 landowners from the Coastal Bend region of Texas with 20 professional photographers. Throughout April the teams worked together, with one photographer shooting a variety of images on one ranch all month long. The Images for Conservation Fund created the photo competition to improve rural economies and conserve wildlife habitat by promoting nature photography tourism on private land.

D. Robert Franz of Cody, Wyoming won the Second Grand Prize of $28,000, sponsored by Heart of Texas Landscaping and Irrigation, Wachovia Securities, and Bruce and Gail Hoffman. Franz split the prize with his landowner partner, Mustang Ranch in Duval County, owned by Hugo and Laura Berlanga.

John Hendrickson of Clipper Mills, California won the Third Grand Prize of $15,500, sponsored by Alamo Lumber Company, which he split with the Welder Wildlife Foundation in San Patricio County, represented by Terry Blankenship.

Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director, gave the keynote address and acted as Master of Ceremonies for the awards banquet. The awards celebration took place at the University of Houston at Victoria.

Also Saturday night at the awards, the ICF announced that the 2010 Pro-Tour location would be the Laredo area and surrounding counties.

Besides the top three teams, teams through 10th place in score also received cash awards. And this year, for the first time, the top 100 images, 20 in each category, each received a $500 prize.

Complete lists of 2008 competing landowners and 2008 competing photographers are on the ICF Web site.

ICF is a Texas-based, non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of a sustainable, self-funded wildlife conservation industry based upon nature photography tourism. The goal is to establish exciting nature photography destinations while simultaneously generating significant income for the private landowners who lease them. To raise public awareness of these opportunities for both landowners and photographers, ICF has created the Pro-Tour of Nature Photography and a number of supporting events.

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