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Windland Smith Rice
International Awards Competition
Judging Panel 

Stephen Freligh

Co-founder and Publisher of Nature’s Best Photography magazine, Stephen Freligh has spent the last 36 years connecting people with nature through visually directed and conservation motivated multimedia programs. His interest in photography has taken him all over the globe including Africa, Arctic, Asia, Australia, Europe, Japan, Middle East, New Zealand, South America, and more. Beyond assisting in the selection of images that are used for NBP, Freligh's past work includes 15 years of photo editing with the National Wildlife Federation and photo research and editing projects with the African Wildlife Foundation, Audubon Magazine Photography Awards, Discovery Communications, Eastman Kodak Company, National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Institution, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Zoo, America Online, MSNBC, Canon USA, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Nikon, Sony, SIGMA, and more.
    The centerpiece of Freligh’s work is the long-term alliance with the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, and the development of the Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Photography Awards program, where competition winners are displayed annually in print exhibitions.

Charles A. Veatch 

Beyond his love for nature photography and his participation and presentations at the North American Nature Photography Association, Charles Veatch has been a respected judge for numerous photo competitions throughout Virginia and Maryland. In addition to his positions as Chairman of the Board and contributing Editor at Nature’s Best Photography, Veatch is a member of several non-profit boards including the Reston Historic Trust, the Nature’s Best Photography Fund, and the Potomac Conservancy. He was also a founding board member of the Fairfax County Parks Foundation. Veatch was appointed Shenandoah University’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees in 2008. He served on the endowment board of the National Wildlife Federation and is a real estate fellow at the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. With a penchant for community service and higher education, Veatch is very passionate about the stewardship of the environment.

Craig Sholley

Vice President for Philanthropy and Marketing of the African Wildlife Foundation, Craig Sholley's experiences with wildlife and conservation began in 1973 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire, Africa. He has worked, traveled, and photographed extensively since that time providing conservation expertise in a variety of world arenas. As an L.S.B. Leakey grant researcher in the late 1970's, Sholley studied mountain gorillas with Dian Fossey. Returning to the US, he redirected his interests developing natural history programming for the Baltimore Zoological Society. Concurrently, he pursued his travel interests leading tours and photographing throughout Africa, South America, and Asia. Throughout much of the ‘90’s, Sholley was Director of Conservation and Education for International Expeditions, an organization widely recognized for its ecotourism initiatives. 

    Sholley has served as a Senior Associate of the African Wildlife Foundation and on AWF’s Board of Trustees. He has also served on the Board of the Ecotourism Society. Blending field experience with his passion for photography, Sholley will bring specialized focus on the African Wildlife category. 

Shari Sant Plummer 

Environmental philanthropist and ocean activist, Shari Sant Plummer is President and Founder of Code Blue Charitable Foundation, Secretary/Trustee of the Summit Charitable Foundation, founding board member of the Sylvia Earle Alliance, and of the International League of Conservation Photographers, and is Vice President of Seacology. She is also a member of the Blue Ocean Film Festival Advisory Board and the World Wildlife Fund’s National Council and Marine Leadership Committee.
    As a member of the Smithsonian Ocean Initiative Advisory Council, Plummer helped create the Sant Ocean Hall at the National Museum of Natural History. She also is an Executive Producer of the Netflix documentary Mission Blue, and is currently working as Executive Producer on four new environmental documentaries: Chasing Coral, Sharkwater 2, Ghost Fleet, and Anote’s Ark. She is an avid diver, photographer, and ocean activist, traveling extensively throughout the world to promote ocean conservation and environmental awareness.

Stephen Frink

Stephen Frink is among the world’s most frequently published underwater photographers, with a career spanning nearly four decades. He worked as a photojournalist for Skin Diver magazine for 17 years, covering much of the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Florida Keys and subsequently worked as the Director of Photography for Scuba Diving magazine. Frink is currently and for the past six years the publisher of Alert Diver Magazine, an upscale quarterly publication for the members of the Divers Alert Network. He resides in the Florida Keys where he teaches Masters level courses in underwater digital imaging in his home waters, and operates a studio and gallery in Key Largo.
Annie Griffiths 

One of the first women photographers to work for National Geographic, Annie Griffiths has photographed in nearly 150 countries during her illustrious career. Recipient of awards from the National Press Photographers Association, the White House News Photographers Association, the National Organization of Women, Heifer International, and a Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers, Griffiths is deeply committed to photographing for aid organizations around the world. She is Founder and Executive Director of Ripple Effect Images, an alliance of photojournalists who are documenting aid programs that empower women and girls in the developing world. Ripple has produced 26 films and built a photo archive of more than 20,000 images since 2010. Using these assets, Ripple’s aid beneficiaries have raised millions of dollars, expanded their programs to multiple countries, and proven that women and girls are the best investment the world can make in our shared future.

Charles Poe

As Senior Vice President of Production for Smithsonian Channel, Charles Poe’s main task is to guide editorial programming that combines the entertainment DNA of the parent company, Showtime, with the credibility and boundless assets of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex. Poe manages television and digital projects with production companies around the world as well as an in-house production facility and archive. Since the Smithsonian Channel’s launch in September 2007 it has grown from zero to more than 30 million households, winning critical acclaim and a rapidly growing viewership.
Marc Dantzker

A biologist turned producer at RangeWide Productions, Marc Dantzker earned his M.S. in zoology from Duke University and his Ph.D. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. He has been making films and multimedia about wildlife and ecosystems for more than ten years. While a producer for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology he led projects such as The Birds of Paradise Project in association with National Geographic Education, Borderlands with the International League of Conservation Photographers, and Restoring America’s Delta with Audubon and the Environmental Defense Fund. Recently, hproduced, co-directed, and co-wrote the conservation documentary, The Sagebrush Sea, about challenges facing one of the American West’s largest ecosystems which appeared on PBS / Nature in 2015. Since 2016, Dantzker has served as a Media Consultant and Exhibition Film Producer for Nature’s Best Photography. 
Deborah Orbell Freligh

Recognized for her award-winning design, Art Director and Co-publisher of Nature’s Best Photography magazine, Deborah Freligh has more than 46 years experience in design and photography. Educated at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, she has worked as a graphic designer, illustrator, art and photography director, and museum exhibition designer. A short list of her past clients includes the National Wildlife Federation, Nature Company, African Wildlife Foundation, Audubon magazine, Discovery Communications, Eastman Kodak Company, National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Institution, America Online, Epson, Nikon, Sony, and more.