BugFest 2023! - Photo Competition

Photo Competition will be open from Tuesday, August 1, 2023 at 5:00 AM and will close Saturday, October 7, 2023 at 11:59 PM


The Crosby Arboretum's BugFest 2023 Photo Competition!

This competition is co-sponsored by

BugFest 2023 is a celebration of insects!

Subjects for photos: Arthropods - insects, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, and millipedes on land; crabs, crayfish, shrimp, lobsters, and barnacles in water.

This year, we have chosen to highlight the various Mantis species for our “Best of Show” Mantis photo award.

All decisions by our judges are final.

There is no entry fee. This competition is available to anyone who is interested in participating.

Participant categories: (10 awards in all)
Ages 17 and under - (prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places)
Ages 18 and over – Beginners group (prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places)
Ages 18 and over – Advanced group (prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places)
One special award given to the top Mantis photo

Prizes for 1, 2, 3 in each category and for the top Mantis photo:
Each winning photo will be printed and mounted at no charge to the photographer. These photos will be displayed at The Crosby Arboretum's gallery from September 1, 2024 to November 30, 2024 and will then be returned to each photographer (to be picked up at The Arboretum).

Each winning photographer will receive an individual award as well as a swag bag.

The Crosby Arboretum would have limited rights to use the winning competition images to recognize winning photographers and promote future events/competitions – online, print and display image. All other image rights remain with the shooter.

All competition photographers MAY elect to allow The Crosby Arboretum to use images (with image credit) for education and outreach by choosing this option on the registration form.

Additional Rules:

  • Each participant may enter up to 3 photos. All 3 photos can be entered at the same time on the same entry.
    • If you choose to enter photo #2 at a different time, make a new entry. Use your same name with a 2 following your last name: John Doe 2
    • If you choose to enter a third photo, use a separate entry with a 3 following your last name: John Doe 3
  • The person entering the photo into the competition must be the photographer.
  • There is no time restriction on when each photo was taken. There will be no geographical restriction. The date and place of the photo are to be submitted with the photograph just for information purposes.
  • The photographer of each photo needs to submit the photo along with a brief statement regarding the Arthropod(s) pictured. That brief statement might be about what attracted them to photograph the arthropod or an interesting fact about the arthropod.
  • The ten winning photographs will be featured and displayed in The Crosby art gallery from Sept. 1, 2024 to Nov. 30, 2024. They may be used in the marketing of BugFest 2024!
  • The winners in the 18 and older “beginners” category must move to the “advanced” category for future photo competitions at The Crosby.
  • The winning photos for the 2023 Crosby competition cannot be entered in any future Crosby competitions.
  • Photos must be entered in a JPEG format.
  • All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared.
  • Minimum Photo Size is 2000 pixels by 4000 pixels (larger images accepted)
  • Entrants' submissions must not infringe on the rights of any other photographer or entity.
  • Entrants must not submit images that involve the willful harassment of wildlife or damage to the environment by the photographer.


Should you have any difficulty registering or loading your photos, please call Barb Medlock at 228-332-0823 (cell).

Competition Timeline:

  • Entries to be accepted up to midnight on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023.
  • Judges to make their selections by midnight on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023.
  • The top 10 winning photographs will be announced on Oct. 10, 2023.
  • The specific awards will not be announced until the award ceremony.
    The award ceremony will take place at BugFest 2023.
  • Winners do not have to be present to win but must arrange to pick up their award at The Crosby Arboretum.


Registration through Saturday, October 7, 2023


Robert Smith

Robert is a wildlife biologist and outdoor photographer who began carrying a camera in the field over 35 years ago. He currently lives in coastal Mississippi and is the Coastal Program Coordinator for Wildlife Mississippi where he works with private landowners. He has worked with and photographed a broad variety of southeastern flora and fauna. The pictures he initially started taking for documentation and personal enjoyment grew into seminars, magazine articles, fine artwork, commissioned shoots, and photography workshops. Robert has been active in camera clubs where he has lived, including serving as Vice President of the Carolinas' Nature Photographers Association.

Donna Bush

Donna Bush is an accomplished photographer, writer, animal and nature-lover, yoga instructor and computer programmer. She has gone from protecting our country's cyber-data to becoming an award-winning photographer and writer.
Donna grew up in rural Laurel, Mississippi in the 1960's and graduated from University of Southern Mississippi with a B.S in Computer Science. Eventually her work career brought her from Texas back to Mississippi, then to Louisiana and USDA-NFC-Michoud. It was there in the early 1990's that her passion for photography was born. Photography provided a break from computers and gave her alone time in the outdoors with wildlife, nature and her camera. Donna has pursued her passions of photography, nature and writing and is a contributing writer and photographer for Slidell Magazine.
Donna's work in Slidell Magazine (and beyond) has won numerous prestigious awards from SEOPA (South Eastern Outdoor Press Association), LOWA (Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association) and photography shows across the region. She was the 2019 Press Club of New Orleans (PCNO) winner for BEST CONTINUING COVERAGE and the 2020 PCNO winner for BEST ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE REPORTING. She was also the 2020 PCNO winner for BEST MULTI-FEATURE PHOTO. You can visit her on Facebook at Donna Bush Photography, Natural Reflections Yoga, LLC, or contact her by email at

About Us

THE CROSBY ARBORETUM, managed by MSU Extension services, is dedicated to educating the public about their environment. This mission is carried out by preserving, protecting, and displaying plants native to the Pearl River Drainage Basin ecosystem, providing environmental and botanical research opportunities, and offering cultural, scientific, and recreational programs. The Arboretum displays three basic habitats found in this ecosystem. They are a Savanna exhibit, a Woodland exhibit, and an Aquatic exhibit. Both drastic and subtle changes in landscape patterns can be observed within each exhibit. In addition to the 104-acre interpretive site, the Arboretum also collectively maintains 700 acres of off-site natural areas that are preserved for scientific study.

At Wildlife Mississippi, we measure success by the number of acres of habitat we protect, restore or enhance and by the number of miles of streams we improve. A healthy environment makes good economic sense for Mississippi and the nation.
To achieve the best results, our work focuses on four areas: Habitat Conservation, Conservation Policy, Conservation Education, Outdoor Recreation.
We have a lot to show for our efforts in the 20 years Wildlife Mississippi has existed. We have protected, restored or enhanced 496,000 acres of lands and waters across the state. Read more in our publications, such as our quarterly magazine. Great work lies ahead. Together, we can make Mississippi a better place to live, work and raise a family.