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Share your thoughts and images of the West!

Check out upcoming contest topics, and submit your essay(s) or photo(s) for others to enjoy. Viewers can vote on their favorite essays and images, and entries with the most votes will be featured on the Web site, and earn consideration from our editorial and production staff for appearing in the magazine!

The West is not just about the varied terrain in which we live, but the collection of perspectives and realities of the people who occupy this inspiring land. Add your voice to High Country News – or enjoy those of other readers – and embrace your community of fellow people who care about the West.

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Prairie Dogs at Jackalope

Prairie Dogs at Jackalope

1885 vote
11

Jackalope, a store in Santa Fe, has an outdoor courtyard where garden goods are displayed. In the center of the courtyard is a stone wall-enclosed prairie dog colony, relocated about 10 - 15 years ago. St. Francis oversees the prairie dogs, who munch away, growing to mega-sizes compared to their cousins in the wild. Not quite a zoo, not quite a managed colony, is this the future for prairie dogs in the west?

St. Francis With Praire Dogs
drumsing
drumsing
Sep 27, 2010 07:56 PM
There is something about this image that stands out. It juxtaposes the sacred from a European perspective with the sacred from the natural American Indian perspective. Life goes on!
fake votes
Amy
Amy
Sep 28, 2010 09:20 PM
Boring photo, fake votes.
fake votes
Amy
Amy
Sep 29, 2010 08:15 PM
“Boring photo, faked votes” says “Amy” (not to be confused with me, the Amy who commented below on the demise of prairie dogs and who submitted the prairie dog photo). It’s a curious comment in a contest that encourages people to submit images expressing their feelings on the Most Changed West, a place large and diverse. “The West is not just about the varied terrain in which we live, but the collection of perspectives and realities of the people who occupy this inspiring land… Add your voice … and embrace our community of fellow people who care about the West” HCN advises.

They clearly expected a variety of perspectives and images, not just pretty scenery and technically perfect images. And as I see it, the West is indeed filled with irony, sadness, irreverence and fierce love for the land and special places, as well as the people and other creatures that occupy it. Probably, there are lots of people who don’t share my view; that’s ok. Others see things differently and relate to different images.

HCN allows, indeed encourages, people to vote for their favorite photos as part of this contest. Making accusations about “faked votes” doesn’t add to anything though. And insults the 50 or so people who have voted for prairie dogs so far, some who probably voted for other photos while on the website, since the only limit on voting is no more than one per person per photo. What’s fake about that? And how does dissing that “embrace our community of fellow people who care about the West?”

I respect that you may not like my photo, but find it odd that no other photos have earned your criticism. Why was this one singled out?
"faked votes"
Alyssa
Alyssa
Sep 30, 2010 10:48 AM
Amy (the photographer) is correct in her views that the intention of the High Country News staff is to encourage reader participation and dialog. We are interested in the perspective and experience of people who share our love of the West. We have made all attempts to make the voting system fair and easy to use.
I am impressed with the diversity and quantity of contest entries, both photos and essays. Thank you to the rest of the High Country News staff for the work that make this contest possible. And many thanks to the contest entrants who have shared their words and images.
voting
Judy Carlson
Judy Carlson
Oct 01, 2010 03:27 PM
how in the world could this photo gain such a highly outrageous vote count?????? Something is wrong with the count when the next vote count is a little over 40 votes in second place. Not fair to the rest of us.
Contest Voting
Gretchen Aston-Puckett
Gretchen Aston-Puckett
Oct 02, 2010 11:29 AM
Hi Judy, and everyone else. We are looking into a failure with the contest voting process, and I am sorry that this problem has ruined the fun for other participants. Our biggest goal for the 40th Anniversary contests was to connect with and grow the High Country News online community, AND for it to be fun. While it seems like we have been mostly successful in engaging the HCN community, I am disappointed that the voting has become an unpleasant issue for folks. Regardless, HCN staff appreciates all who have participated in the contests. Sincerely, Gretchen Aston-Puckett, High Country News Development Director.
P. Doggies
Mary G
Mary G
Sep 27, 2010 10:26 PM
Let the P. Doggies live! We can do better with a whole lot less of St. Francis' clan.
prairie dog survival
Amy
Amy
Sep 28, 2010 02:53 PM
Prairie dogs are down to about 1 - 3% of the numbers that existed when European settlers came west. Pushed by development of all kinds, the prospects for survival aren't great. Some communities try to relocate them to "manage" them. However, one researcher I interviewed said that if you get into managing prairie dogs, you have to accept that you will be killing prairie dogs. The West keeps changing...
WTF - votes riged
Tim Bangenhoff
Tim Bangenhoff
Nov 02, 2010 03:51 PM
Something's fishy here - 100 times more votes than anyone else - Prairie Dogs and Jackalopes what BS
voting
Jodi Peterson
Jodi Peterson
Nov 02, 2010 04:02 PM
Tim, please see the prior comment explaining the problem with the voting process. Thanks, Jodi Peterson, Managing Editor
Voting aside...
MtnGoat
MtnGoat
Dec 14, 2010 02:47 PM
I entered the March 10 photo contest, told all my friends and asked them to vote. They did. All three of my photos made the top 10. The photo that won was good, but not THAT good. Many contestants expressed their annoyance and frustration. My ego felt a twinge of deflation but not because people complained. It was because I realized the voting is simply a popularity contest. It could also be called "Who can get the most people to vote?" or even "Who has the most free email accounts they can use to cast votes with?" Still, it was a fun contest and I greatly enjoyed seeing everyone's entries whether I appreciated the subject matter or not.

I do hope they can figure out a better voting system, but in the end...it's just not that deep, people.