Sustainable Waterloo Region’s 2009 Report Photo Contest featured contributions from dozens of photographers in Waterloo Region from all skill levels. Their photos garnished our inaugural 2009 Report.  But not only did these photos create a local feel to our report (thus avoiding the need to use generic stock photos), they also taught us a few things about our region and contributed to a growing environmental community.Below are a few such photos and stories.The Living Machine, Nadia Mthombeni.Here, inside “The Solarium” at the Kitchener-Waterloo YMCA Outdoor Centre, the “Living Machine” is a waste management system where living organisms, such as plants (as shown in the picture), clean the waste water from the washrooms in the building. Yellow Morel, Morchella Esculenta, Sarah RicherThe Yellow Morel is a very popular native edible mushroom, highly sought after by locovores and other wild mushroom enthusiastsSunset and Laurel Creek Conservation Area, Boyd Kay. I took this photo in the fall of 1986 at the Laurel Creek Conservation Area while attending school at the University of Waterloo. The reflections in the foreground of the photo are of tires that had been thrown into the lake. While they enhance the beauty of this photo, this type of behaviour is what would fall into the category of Unsustainable Behaviour. I hope that in the almost 24 years since I took this photo that the tires have been removed.To see these photos in context, and to see the winning entries from Keith Cowieson, Laura Lica, and Enermodal Engineering, click here to download a copy of Sustainable Waterloo Region’s 2009 Report.

Do you have a story you’d like to share with the community? Why not enter Sustainable Waterloo Region’s 2010 Report Photo Contest (now open). Winning photos will be featured in the report while Non winning entries will be used to decorate (and add local depth to) the internal pages.

Like last year, photos will be collected in the categories of natural environment and sustainable behaviour but, in keeping with the theme of the report, we’ll also have a new category for environment-focused community action photos. If you are a part of a community group which is doing active things to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop pollution, or otherwise help protect and save the environment we’d love to see a picture of it. For more information on the contest, click here.

We’ve already received a few entries and this year’s photo contest is fixing to be just as successful as last year. If you have any questions about the photo contest, please don’t hesitate to email me at: