The American people own in common a lot of very cool places. Among our vast wildspace wealth is the National Forest system, public lands in national forests and grasslands with magical names like Monongahela, Chattahoochee, Tongass, and Wallowa-Whitman. You know that old aphorism about atrophy, right? Use it or lose it. Have you been indulging in your American estate? If so, you may stand to take away more than just photographs and memories!

Defenders of Wildlife, a national, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to science-based, results-oriented wildlife conservation, wants to hear about your most memorable encounters with wildlife in America’s national forests or on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands? Your story could win you prizes worth up to $1000 while helping to ensure the future of the landscapes and wildlife that make America a great place for outdoor adventures!

The “Your Lands, Your Wildlife, Your Story” contest from Defenders of Wildlife is an opportunity for fans of America’s public lands to share their stories. Six excellent prizes are up for grabs. The best overall story will rake in $1,000 in gift cards to REI but there are also sweet rewards for the top tales in each of five categories. Best of all, the categories should appeal to readers of this blog – not just the traditional hunting and fishing, but also birding, backcountry adventure, and wildlife watching and photography!

Defenders of Wildlife wants to hear why America’s wildlife and public lands are important from the people who use them most. Why not indulge them? After all, if you’re an American hiker, climber, kayaker, hunter, angler, birder, or outdoor photographer, you already derive awesome satisfaction from our public lands. Describes your most amazing, moving, or surprising wildlife moment in a national forest or on Bureau of Land Management land and profit further while at the same time providing an earnest organization greater insight into what our resources have to offer.

Since contests of this sort seem to so rarely consider birders, I can imagine that many of you are eager to get involved (I am!) The contest began on Aug. 8 but Defenders will accept submissions in the five categories through November 30, 2008 at their website or by direct mail. The contest winners will be announced in January 2009.

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.