by Shannon Farley

A photograph taken at Veragua Rainforest has been named a Highly Honored Finalist in the prestigious 2018 Windland Smith Rice Awards for Nature’s Best Photography. The photograph will be featured in the 23rd Annual Windland Smith Rice International Awards Smithsonian Exhibition at the famed Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. from October 2018 to September 2019.

The remarkable nature photograph, taken by Spanish photographer Javier Lobon-Rovira, shows a bright green and yellow Lemur Leaf Frog (Agalychnis lemur) perched on a crimson ornamental torch ginger plant. Native to Costa Rica, the critically-endangered Lemur Leaf Frog is being studied by the Foundation for Rainforest Research located at Veragua. The photograph is a finalist in the Conservation Story category.

“I am so happy to have the chance to show the world the amazing project of the Agalychnis lemur developed by my friends at Veragua Rainforest, where I had the opportunity to spend time. Research, photography and conservation have been my life for many years and this is an honor and recognition to it all,” said Lobon-Rovira.

Category winners and a selection of Highly Honored images will be displayed as large, fine-art prints in the annual Smithsonian exhibition, and also published in the 2018 Fall/Winter Special Collectors’ Edition of Nature’s Best Photography magazine.

Named for nature photographer and conservationist, Sandra Windland “Wendy” Smith Rice, the annual competition has become one of the most widely respected nature photography awards in the world. From more than 26,000 entries submitted to the 2018 competition, 60 images were selected to showcase the extraordinary work of outdoor photographers in 59 countries.

“United by their creativity and technical skill with a camera, these artists of all ages and experience levels share their visions of nature to inspire its conservation,” states Nature’s Best Photography Awards information.

“It is an honor for Veragua Rainforest to be present at the Smithsonian Institution.  Showcasing one of the wonders of this unique reserve to the world is a testament to our conservation efforts and to Javier’s fascinating photography technique,” said Martí Jiménez, president of the Veragua Rainforest.

Javier Lobon-Rovira is a biologist and wildlife photographer from Asturias, Spain. Conservation and wildlife photography have been his passions since he was very young. As a biologist, he collaborates on research projects around the world for nature conservation.

In 2017, Lobon-Rovira spent three months at Veragua Rainforest collaborating with Veragua Foundation Research Coordinator, José Andrés Salazar Zúñiga, on the Lemur Leaf Frog Conservation Project. Once a common frog species in Costa Rica, Panama and northern Colombia, the Lemur Leaf Frog’s numbers have drastically declined in recent years. The last remnant populations in Costa Rica are found in the central Caribbean rainforests – where Veragua is located.

Less than one hour from the historic Caribbean town of Puerto Limón, the Veragua Rainforest allows visitors to explore the natural wonders of Costa Rica’s amazing tropical rainforest.  Surrounded by 100% rainforest, the private reserve borders the spectacular La Amistad International Park (“Friendship International Park”), the largest nature reserve in Central America. With enchanting views of the endless mountains of the Talamanca Range, world-class facilities, astonishing natural beauty, and a commitment to conservation and scientific research, the Veragua Rainforest offers the most complete, exciting and educational Costa Rican rainforest experience in all of Central America.

With on-site research facilities and biologists, the Veragua Foundation engages in ongoing scientific investigation of the flora and fauna of the tropical rainforest in the Central Caribbean coastal mountains of Costa Rica. Formally known as The Foundation for Rainforest Research, understanding and protecting the biodiversity of Costa Rica’s rainforests is at the forefront of the Foundation’s work.