County Executive Announces Onondaga County Parks Winter Photo Contest Winners

County Executive J. Ryan McMahon, II announced the winners of the first ever Onondaga County Parks Winter Photo Contest. The contest which ran January 1-31 invited participants to submit photos taken throughout the month at any county park for judging in four categories: Best Action, Best Winter Scene, Most Artistic and Junior Photographer (ages 5-17).

The judges included Laura Hand, CNY Central Community Relations, Jason Smorol, Syracuse Mets General Manager, Big Mike Fiss, Former Longtime CNY Radio Personality (and frequent photo contest judge), Tom Lenweaver, Local wildlife artist, Mark Nicotra, County Executive Communications Director and Bill Lansley, Parks Commissioner. To see the winning photos visit

The 2019 winners:

Best Action, 1st Place, Rachel Gullotta, Highland Forest

Best Action

  • 1st Place – Rachel Gullotta – skiier at Highland Forest
  • 2nd Place – Mark Miller – bicyclist at Onondaga Lake Park

 Winter Scene

  • 1st Place – Brad MacDuff – “Wedding Bridge” at Onondaga Lake Park
  • 2nd Place – Michael Lepore – bench at Onondaga Lake Park

 Most Artistic

  • 1st Place – Russell Shamblen – Window at old Community House at Highland Forest
  • 2nd Place (tie) – James Buchanan – plant at Beaver Lake Nature Center
  • 2nd Place (tie) – Nicholas Thomas – snake at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

 Junior Photographer

Junior Photographer, 1st Place, Tanner Madura, age 10, Rosamond Gifford Zoo


  • 1st Place – Tanner Madura, age 10 – snow leopards at Rosamond Gifford Zoo
  • 2nd Place – Joseph Pelton, age 17 – blue crane at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Winning photographers won a variety of county park admission passes, some included Syracuse Mets packages, and a framed photo of their winning entry. In addition, individual parks chose Honorable Mention/Park Favorite from the photos taken at specific parks.