California Photographer Named Winner Wildlife Photo Contest

Media Contacts:
Troy Swauger, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8932

Berkeley resident Jennifer Joynt’s image of an American pika in Yosemite National Park earned the 2015 grand prize in the California Wildlife Photo of the Year contest. The image of the furry, diminutive critter was chosen as the winner of the yearlong contest presented by Outdoor California magazine and California Watchable Wildlife Inc., and sponsored by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the State Coastal Conservancy.


Joynt’s picture captures the animal as it crests a rock formation along a trail near Gaylor Lake. The shot was the winner for the November/December issue of Outdoor California magazine, and in early January, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham selected it as the year’s top wildlife photo.

“The image of this pocket-sized American pika holding blades of grass that are nearly longer than its body length captures the imagination immediately,” Director Bonham said. “You can’t deny the ‘aww-factor’ that comes from the facial expression, but I see a pika on a mission to build its hay pile, its nest, its future. Such is the indomitable way of nature.”

Beginning Monday, the top eight images (including a second photo of Joynt’s) from the contest will hang as part of a week-long display at the Capitol outside the Governor’s Office. The photographs include all of the year’s top finishers and honorable mentions selected by the contest sponsors. In addition to Joynt’s pika photograph, the photos on display include:

  • Gray kit fox (Jennifer Joynt)
  • American Rubyspot Damselfly (Phil Robertson, Lincoln)
  • Northern river otter (Beth Savidge, Davis)
  • Great Egret at marsh (Sandrine Biziaux Scherson, Irvine)
  • Ferruginous hawk (Gary Kunkel, Visalia)
  • Black bear cub (Brent Paull, Tulare)
  • Summer tanagers (Brent Paull)

On Thursday morning, Joynt will join Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) on the floor of the Senate, where she will receive a proclamation honoring her work.

This is not the first time Joynt has been recognized for her photographic skills. Two years ago, her photo of a marmot pair near Tuolumne Meadows was selected as the honorable mention winner for the contest. Her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Bay Nature Magazine and Berkeleyside. She has also contributed multiple photographs to the East Bay Regional Park District for use in park signs, brochures and calendars. Her favorite Bay Area wildlife photography locations include the East Bay Regional Parks and Point Reyes National Seashore.

In 2011, Outdoor California teamed with California Watchable Wildlife to launch an annual contest to acknowledge photographs that illustrate the state’s diverse wildlife and the viewing experiences found throughout its natural and wild lands. California Watchable Wildlife celebrates the state’s wildlife and diverse habitats by promoting the value of wildlife viewing to individuals, families, communities and industries while fostering awareness of and support for conservation and protection efforts. After a successful first year, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy joined as a contest sponsor to encourage more representation from a region rich with a diversity of wildlife. The State Coastal Conservancy joined last year as a sponsor.