The Delaware River Makes "History": Meet The Final Winner In The Delaware River Means Photo Contest
By Courtney Krier, Communications Intern, Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed
The fluttering sound of laughter rising over the splashing of water, the satisfaction of finding the perfect spot to pitch a tent that gives you a vibrant view of the sunset along the river, the stories told by campfire that you’ll forget in the morning but meant so much in the moment-- these are all memories. While one may not find these memories listed in any text book, they all make up one’s own personal history.
This is exactly the way that Joni M. interpreted the “History” theme of the fourth and final Delaware River Means photo contest, and it seems that friends and viewers agreed. In an overwhelming victory, Joni ended up receiving a whopping 2600 votes for her Delaware River selfie.
The winning photo was taken in Worthington State Park on 4th of July weekend. “I had the kids with me, and my other friends who I do adventures with… it was just a perfect weather weekend. We just spent all day down the river,” Joni said. “(Swimming in the Delaware) feels like I’m free… it feels like home. It’s wonderful!”
We’ve covered the previous three contests of Delaware River Means-- “Fun”, “Beauty”, and “Togetherness” -- but to recap: The photo contest is sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club, and it has one main purpose, to bring people together to share their love of the Delaware River. The contestants are encouraged to share what the Delaware River means to them personally through these four categories, as well as to highlight the importance the river has in so many people’s lives. After uploading the photos, they then share their photos around social media, get votes from people who enjoyed their work, and the person with the highest number of votes at the end will win a prize.
For Joni, she says she couldn’t have done it without all her fantastic friends on social media and beyond. “I was kind of hesitant to share, because why would people vote for me. I thought maybe I’d get 100 (votes), and I was blown away. Absolutely amazing.”
The prize varied for each contest, from a piece of artwork by a local artist to a hiking kit, but the prize for the “History” category was a one-night stay at the historic bed and breakfast, The 1740 House in Lumberville, PA. Joni gets to bring a plus one, but she says it’s going to be difficult to chose when so many friends helped her to win, and may end up putting names in a hat and picking from there.
“It’ll be one big hat!” She joked.
As for taking selfies on the river? Joni errs on the side of caution. “I did drop the same phone (I used to take the selfie) in the Raritan River, in three feet of water. It was in the water for over half an hour.” Her phone came out okay, but she still encourages people to be careful.
The conversation about what the Delaware River Means to our lives has just begun. Joni thinks the contest did a great job at welcoming people back to the river. “Most places don’t want you on their property, they don’t want you trespassing, they don’t want people potentially getting hurt… and you guys are welcoming people to the river, and I think that’s amazing… you educate them.”
The cold weather is fast approaching, so summertime activities like swimming and camping aren’t on the itinerary, but there’s still plenty to do to enjoy what the river has to offer. Explore the old riverside towns, hike alongside the banks, go birdwatching… the possibilities are vast, and the Delaware River Means contest gives people the opportunity to see how others experience the river to springboard off.
While this year’s photo contests have come to a close, Delaware River Means currently has a survey up that people can still use to get involved. By filing out the short survey (linked here), people can be entered for a chance to win a stand-up paddleboard.
Be sure to get out there and explore the beautiful fall foliage of the Delaware River Watershed!