University of Colorado-Boulder Student Wins Tree Campus USA Photo Contest

Nebraska City, Neb. (Feb. 1, 2011) – Walking to class one morning last fall, University of Colorado student Kaylyn Sawin-Johnson looked up to see a beautiful tree bursting in color in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains, which serve as a backdrop for the city of Boulder. Wanting to preserve the moment, she got out her camera and snapped off a photo.

The beauty captured by Sawin-Johnson inspires Colorado students every day. And thanks to her camera skills, people from all over the country will be inspired by Sawin-Johnson's photograph. Her entry was selected as the top photograph in the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus USA Photo Contest as determined by online voting at

As the contest winner, Sawin-Johnson wins a MacBook, will have 25 trees planted by the Arbor Day Foundation in memory of her late father, Brian Richard Johnson, and her photograph will be featured at, a website that inspires students to plant trees and get involved in on-campus conservation activities.

The contest asked for inspiring photographs of a beautiful tree in front of an iconic building or landmark located on a college campus. Sawin-Johnson took the photo from the University of Colorado campus looking east to the Rocky Mountains. "The flatirons in the background gave the picture the perfect Boulder touch," she said. "I felt like this picture really represents the campus and the natural beauty that we have here at this incredible college."

The contest was sponsored by the website was created by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with Toyota to offer people ways to get involved in elevating the awareness of the importance of trees in our communities.

Sawin-Johnson, a junior from Arvada, Colo., is majoring in molecular cellular developmental biology, psychology and pre-med. She used her interest in photography combined with her love of nature to help her win the contest.

"I love trees because I love the outdoors and I can't imagine a world without them," she said. "They are so beautiful in more ways than can be described."

Cassandra Thiel, a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, placed second. Thiel's photo featured colorful trees surrounding Heinz Chapel, one of the most recognizable buildings on Pitt's campus. Thiel, who is studying civil engineering, sustainability and green design at Pitt, wins an iPad and will have 10 trees planted in one of our nation's forests in her honor.

Syracuse University junior Katie Malatesta placed third with her photo of Carnegie Library framed by a tree branch bursting with red color. The native of East Brunswick, N.J., wins an iPod and will have five trees planted in one of our nation's forests in her honor.

To see the winning photographs, go to

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About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit, conservation and education organization of more than 1 million members, with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at