Seven Local Photographers Honored for Their Images of Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve

At its June 21 meeting, Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors recognized seven photographers for their winning images in the sixteenth annual Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve photo contest.

The contest offers amateur photographers an opportunity to connect viewers with wildlife and the outdoors. Submissions support EFRR efforts to protect wildlife and natural resources.

“Our board is proud of Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, and this contest helps promote the recreational opportunities it offers and showcases the importance of protecting open space,” said OMWD Board Director Marco San Antonio. “Close to a hundred entries captured the natural beauty preserved and protected at EFRR.”

Winners were chosen for five categories—Scenic View, Water Scenery, Plants, Animals, and Youth (under fifteen years of age). EFRR Facebook followers also selected a People’s Choice award winner by voting for their favorite of 11 entries posted online. This year’s winners are:

  • Dewdrops” by Francis Bova – Best in Show
  • Me-xal Overlook” by Jeff Shearer – Scenic View
  • Reflection?” by Sabine Kurz-Sherman – Water Scenery          
  • Color Bloom” by Jaena Reyes – Plants
  • Night Heron” by Kay Wood – Animals            
  • Pond” by Lauren Berg – Youth
  • Itsy Bitsy Momma” by Francis Bova – People’s Choice

Prizes included tickets donated by San Diego Zoo, a canvas print donated by PC Photo & Imaging, outdoor equipment donated by REI, and a $100 cash prize donated by Escondido Creek Conservancy.

EFRR visitors can view winning photographs through the end of the year at the Interpretive Center Honoring Susan J. Varty, located in EFRR’s staging area. The interpretive center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., subject to docent availability. Please call OMWD park rangers at 760-632-4212 for a current schedule.

Through a partnership between OMWD, US Bureau of Land Management, and San Diego County Water Authority, EFRR first opened in 1992. It is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to approximately thirty minutes before sunset, and located at 8833 Harmony Grove Road near Escondido. It offers approximately 11 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails, as well as picnic areas, scenic mountain viewing points, and shady walking paths. Admission and parking are free. More information is available at

2023 Best in Show Award (photo contest) "Dewdrops" by Francis Bova

2023 Best in Show Award “Dewdrops” by Francis Bova