Inspired by the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit currently on display at the museum, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) hosted a photo competition specifically for children in grades kindergarten through 12th. The museum encouraged students to explore their surroundings, including areas outside of Los Angeles County, and to capture images of nature that inspired them.

"It was fascinating to see how kids, from kindergarten all the way through to high school, interact with nature and construct powerful images out of those experiences," said judge Catherine Opie. "My fellow judges and I selected a phenomenal array of winning photographs that not only show the diversity of subject matters submitted to the contest, but also demonstrate a great understanding and knowledge of how to construct a great photograph through composition, perspective, light and shadow. These images make you realize that we are just one species living among a much larger pool of species, and for us to understand that is incredibly important to us as human beings."

Students from more than 500 schools in the greater Los Angeles area submitted their best images, and judges selected 12 winners out of more than 1,100 photographs. The museum selected first-place winners, runners-up and honorable mentions in categories divided by grade: K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. People also voted for their favorite photo, and Sofia Araujo from Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts won for her photo entitled "Micro Fly."

The winning images, which you can see below, are on display at the museum through Jan. 6, 2019.

First place, grades K-2

single tree among rocks
The Lone Tree (Photo: Aadhira Ramachandran/NHMLAC)

First place, grades 3-5

butterfly coming out of cocoon
The Monarch Hatch (Photo: Sydney Lord/NHMLAC)

First place, grades 6-8

lion and lioness
Mating Lions (Photo: Avanthi Pillan/NHMLAC)

First place, grades 9-12

bird at Stonehenge
Raven's Omen (Photo: Weston Bell-Geddes/NHMLAC)

Runner up, grades K-2

dragonfly on pants
Dragonfly Visitor (Photo: Cian Byrne/NHMLAC)

Runner up, grades 3-5

penguins on beach
African Penguin Colony (Photo: Zachary Grossman/NHMLAC)

Runner up, grades 6-8

bird perched on ledge
Thoughts (Photo: Fatima Campos/NHMLAC)

Runner up, grades 9-12

Milky Way Galaxy
Outback Night Sky (Photo: William Ishak/NHMLAC)

Honorable mention, grades K-2

bird on rooftop with city in background
Lost in the City (Photo: Mina Feser/NHMLAC)

Honorable mention, grades 3-5

black and white canyon
Exploration- Lower Antelope Canyon, Arizona (Photo: David Blumenkrantz/NHMLAC)

Honorable mention, grades 6-8

group of sheep in field
Icelandic Mountain Sheep (Photo: Ava Seyranian/NHMLAC)

Honorable mention, grades 9-12

wild kudu in forest
Kudu (Photo: Isabella Guanche/NHMLAC)
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