Community members participated in the Guam National Wildlife Refuge’s 2nd Annual Refuge at Ritidian photo contest to celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week this past October. Visitors photographed special moments they experienced at Ritidian to showcase what makes the Ritidian Unit a special place for the people of Guam. Ritidian, known as Litekyan in the CHamoru language, is regarded as a beautiful, sacred place that is rich with cultural heritage and provides habitat for endangered species, such as the fanihi (Mariana fruit bat) and haggan betde (Green sea turtles).
Participants submitted two photos in four different categories, along with a brief caption on why Ritidian is important to them.
“Ritidian is a really important place for me, Guam, and the world," said Eric Zambon, 2nd place winner in the Small Wonders category. "The amazing fauna and sceneries are like perfect paintings. This contest just shows how many beautiful angles you may find of Ritidian. Besides its natural beauty, Ritidian is also home to ancient history that should never be forgotten. Because of such natural and cultural complexity, this place is a gem that must be kept as pristine as possible.”
“Litekyan is important to me because it’s like a visit to the past," said Audrey Lanada, 2nd winner in the Rooted in Culture category. "Places were our Chamorro ancestors lived and touched.”
Here are the winning photos in this years Refuge at Ritidian photo contest:
Wildlife: Land & Sea
1. "Getting out of Your Shell" by Deborah King
2. "The 2 starfishes near the shore represent a healthy wildlife preserve" by Noly Caluag
3. "Snailed it" by Deborah King
1. "Marvelous Macronesia" by Deborah King
2. "1,2,3 Say Cheese" by Eric Zambon
3. "Jungle Crab: I see you" by Sharon Biaudre
Family Fun/ Fun with Friends
1. Andre Sonodo
2. "Anden Sage loves Ritidian because it is a place that he can reconnect with our island’s waters, wildlife and Ancestors" by Inez Perez
3. Inez Perez "Lujan girls reconnecting with our Ancestors" by Inez Perez
Rooted In Culture
1. "Threaded in Time" by Deborah King
2. Audrey Lanada
3. Shell tool Reaching for the Sun" by Sharon Bidaure
Congratulations to the winning photos of this year’s “Refuge at Ritidian” Photo Contest! Saina ma’åse (Thank you) to all those that participated in the photo contest. All photos entries will be featured on a digital display at the Ritidian Nature Center to share with local and international visitors. Photos placing first through third will be framed and featured as part of the Ritidian Nature Center exhibits beginning in January 2023. Visitors are encouraged to visit the Nature Center to see the photos among other exhibits at the Ritidian Nature Center, which is open from 8:00am to 3:30pm while the Refuge is open to the public.