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Alumnus Cooper wins National Parks photo contest

Aug. 2, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University alumnus Thomas Cooper continues to rack up honors and awards for his nature photography, this time taking Grand Prize in the 2005 National Parks Pass Photo Contest for his image of Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas.

Cooper travels to Alaska in September for a seven-day visit to Denali National Park as part of the prize package he won through the contest, which is sponsored by the National Parks Foundation. Cooper's winning photo will be used on all Federal Recreational Lands Passes issued in 2007, including lands under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service, among others.

In addition to a trip to the national park of his choice and use of his photo on parks passes, Grand Prize winner Cooper will receive a Kodak digital camera and printer, $1,000 in prize money and a personalized one-year National Parks Pass. Prizes also were awarded for second, third and fourth place, and 10 contestants received honorable mention.

Another of Cooper's award-winning photos, "Beariscope," which pictures a mother polar bear and her young cubs, was featured on the back cover of the Fall 2005 WMU Magazine. Two years earlier, Cooper donated a print of that photo to WMU's permanent art collection, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the university's founding.

Among other places, Cooper's photos have been exhibited in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington and the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum in Oklahoma City. His works have been published in numerous wildlife and nature magazines, calendars and greeting cards.

A 1980 business-marketing graduate of WMU, Cooper resides in Grosse Pointe, Mich., when not off on one of several photography trips he takes each year. Many of Cooper's prints can be seen on his Web site at www.coopersimages.com.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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