LANSING, MICH. — If your Instagram feed has been needing a little boost of natural beauty, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has a few suggestions for you to follow.
This year saw the launch of the DNR’s inaugural class of state park “photo ambassadors” — 25 Michigan photographers selected to help showcase the unique and gorgeous scenery of Michigan’s state parks.
The Michigan State Parks Instagram account, @mistateparks, has been featuring the work of these photo ambassadors all year, highlighting lighthouses, woods, waterfalls, sunsets, and even night-sky snaps of this summer’s comet Neowise.
The ambassadors are all volunteers, capturing Michigan’s state park beauty in exchange for some state-park themed swag, said DNR social media coordinator Stephanie Yancer.
“We were looking for different people to become influencers for the state parks,” Yancer said. “We thought a good way to do that would be to use Instagram, since we have so many people who visit the parks and tag the parks on Instagram. There’s a lot of natural leaders out there already. We wanted to tap into that.”
This year’s ambassadors were chosen during an application process late last year. More than 100 Instagram photographers applied for the opportunity, and 25 people, constituting 22 Instagram accounts, were selected.
Some of the photographers are longtime professionals, while others are more amateur, Yancer said. The main qualification that the DNR looked for when choosing this first group of ambassadors? A demonstrated love of the outdoors.
Photographers who are interested in applying to be among the 2021 photo ambassadors should follow Michigan State Parks on Instagram and stay tuned for the announcement that the next application period is open, Yancer said. That announcement is expected in October.
In the meantime, the current state park photo ambassadors’ work can be seen regularly on the Michigan State Parks Instagram account, and is showcased under the tab “Ambassadors” on the page’s Highlights.
Read on to see the work from the 2020 Michigan state park photo ambassadors:
Aaron Burden @aaronburden
Blake Brattina @blakebrattinaphoto
Brandon Johnson @michiganrustic
Chris Pagan @therealchrispagan
Darren McEwan @detroitnomad
David Solce @davesolce
Devon Hains @devonhains
Diane Wilks @distinctivelydiane
Elijah Browning @elijahflyphotography
Erick Rooker @erickr_77
Greg Viau @gregviau
Gresham Halstead @greshamhalsteadphoto
Joey and Jessica Sancrant @michiganaddicts
Joe Holley @jholleywoodii
Joel Marotti @nat_geo_vibes
Karen Allmond @allmondk56
Lauren Diamond @itslaurenmac
Mary Beth Kiczenski @shelbydiamondstar
Michael Herbon @michael.mi.photography
Robert Neumann @robertneumann
Sarah Goodwin @sg.captures
Tyler Leipprandt @michiganskymedia
This U.P. photographer has photographed every single sunrise of 2019