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On December 21, 2012, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Sierra Club Mission Outdoors announced the three winners of their first annual Veterans Day Essay and Photo Contest. 

  • Mt. Shavano Veterans Expedition by Scott Ostrom (Marine Corps)
  • How Courage is Bred by Liam Corley (Navy)
  • Beauty of Nature by Kami Fluetsch (Navy)

The three winning entries, which include a video essay, one photo essay, and a written essay, will be featured on the BLM and Sierra Club websites and social media platforms, and receive an outdoor support kit from the Sierra Club. 

The contest, centered on the theme “What My Public Lands Mean to Me,” encouraged veterans, active-duty military, and their families to submit photos, essays and video about their experiences and memories of time spent outside on America’s public lands.   The contest is a part of an ongoing commitment by both organizations to provide the country’s Armed forces with opportunities to get outside and enjoy the beautiful public lands that they have sacrificed to defend.  

The BLM and Sierra Club accepted contest entries from Veterans Day, November 12, to December 7 at http://mypubliclands.challenge.gov .  Beginning December 7 (Pearl Harbor Day) and through December 14, members of the public voted for their favorite entries through the same website.  The entries were then judged by an all-veteran panel of BLM and Sierra Club employees, including Carl Rountree, Assistant Director of the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System, and Stacy Bare, Sierra Club Mission Outdoors Director.

View the three winning entries, along other qualifying submissions, through the links below.

Three Winners of the Veterans Day Photo and Essay Contest

Three children playing in the river

Screen Shot of Mt Shavano Veterans Expedition Film

Red flower

 How Courage is Bred

Mt. Shavano Veterans Expedition

Beauty of Nature 

 Additional Contest Submissions

Tent in the woods by a stream

View of mountains and river from air

Sunset in the mountains

State of Mind

Public Lands from a Different Perspective

My Heaven on Earth


Shadow on a snow-covered mountain


Violet flowers against a blue sky with clouds


Desert plant against cloudy sky

 Snowshoeing Pikes Peak

 In Nature - Daniel Gebhardt

 Nevada Desert


Wooded mountains with a rainbow sky


Military base


Red layered canyon with river and blue sky

 The Forest

Why I Serve 

 Wilderness and Freedom

Last updated: 12-21-2012