Iowa Tree Challenge Encourages Outdoor Exploration

Contest offers prizes for individuals and households that snap photos of themselves with trees

August 4, 2020, 11:24 am | Hilary Pierce, Ann Staudt

AMES, Iowa – Iowans are invited to take the “TREE-mendous Iowa Tree Challenge” offered by the "Water Rocks!" statewide water education program based at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The challenge, scheduled to run Aug. 3 through 17, invites Iowans to get outside and discover the trees that grow across the state by snapping pictures of themselves with as many varieties of trees as they can.

girl with tree.“We have a tremendous variety of tree species that thrive in Iowa, but I think we sometimes look past the trees that we see every day and don’t often stop to consider the important roles trees play in our natural ecosystems,” said Ann Staudt, Water Rocks! director. “For this challenge, we want participants to take a closer look at the different species of trees they find and send in pictures of themselves with the trees. There is no photographic judging going on, but we look forward to seeing the interesting and creative ways people will capture themselves with the diversity of trees found in our state.”

To enter the Water Rocks! TREE-mendous Iowa Tree Challenge, follow these guidelines:

  1. Get outside and explore the different types of trees found in Iowa. Challenge entries are limited to trees in Iowa.
  2. For each unique tree species, capture a photo of yourself with the tree. In each photograph, we need to see your face and the tree. Example photos can be viewed online.

Tree hugging is always encouraged, but remember that your face needs to be seen in the photos.

 Submit your entry at

Register your name, and if entering as a household, the number of members, your contact information, and upload your complete set of photos. All entries must be completed by Aug. 17 at 11:59 p.m. The TREE-mendous Iowa Tree Challenge is being produced in partnership with the Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa’s largest and most comprehensive environmental coalition and dedicated to education and advocacy and working together to protect and preserve Iowa's environment.

Learn more at

Original photo: Girl with tree.

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