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News Release: April 27, 2023: First Photo Contest Winner Chosen; ‘Joys of Spring’ Is New Theme

Sep 18, 2023

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AUSTIN — The Texas State Parks Centennial Photo Contest kicked off with a bang with more than 3,000 entries in the first round. The winning photo of winter’s “New Year, New Adventure” theme — a selfie of a happy human pileup (topped by an adorable dog) in a tent — was taken by Jayanthi Murahari. The winners of the four seasonal themes will be entered into the grand prize drawing at the end of the year. A public vote will determine the winner from the finalists.

“We are thrilled with the tremendous response to the State Parks photo contest,” said Whitney Bishop, social media coordinator for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). “Getting a glimpse into how people enjoy state parks shows that there is something for everyone to enjoy at these special sites. We hope that people have as much fun taking pictures as we do viewing them.”

Murahari snapped the fun picture during a camping trip with friends. As she and her friends were relaxing in their tent, inspiration struck and she got the shot. She said she always has her camera on-hand so she can capture special moments like these. The top dog in the photo, Leon, loves being outdoors — his creamy curls added the extra touch of furry whimsey that sent the picture soaring to the top of the pack.

The second-quarter theme is “The Joys of Spring.” Entries can be uploaded at by midnight on May 22

“Texas State Parks are picture-perfect right now, with mild weather and wildflowers in bloom,” said Thomas Wilhelm, marketing and branding manager for Texas State Parks. “This is a great time to get frame-worthy pictures of your family and friends.”

The first quarter’s winning photo was selected by a panel of TPWD judges for its eye-catching composition, creativity and depiction of how Texas State Parks can bring families together.

Each quarterly winner receives a Texas State Parks Pass valued at $70 and a $100 H-E-B gift card donated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF). Judges are looking for photos that illustrate positive experiences at Texas State Parks.

Voting for the grand prize winner begins in December. The lucky winner will receive a Texas State Parks Pass, a $500 H-E-B gift card donated by TPWF and a VIP-curated experience at a Texas State Park.

All entries must be uploaded to the photo contest webpage or tagged on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using hashtags #TexasStateParks and #TexasParks100 between Jan. 1 and Nov. 27. (Note: an individual’s social media account privacy settings may affect entries.) Entries must photographed at a Texas State Park or state natural area.

Participants may submit multiple entries. For details about the contest, including a link to the contest rules and a gallery of entries, visit the Texas State Parks Photo Contest website.

A photo album of the winning photo and honorable mentions can be found on the TPWD Flickr page.

For more information on the Centennial Celebration (including upcoming community events), the history of Texas State Parks and how to make a day visit or overnight reservation, visit the Texas State Parks 100 Years website at

Additional media resources for the Centennial Celebration can be found on the TPWD website.

Note: This item is more than three months old.