A Snowy Owl at the Vice President’s House

By Jordan Daley
Research and Education Coordinator
Macsen Elkouh of Enfield, NH has been taking photos for a few years. He started posting his photos to National Geographic’s online photo community for children in August, when an aunt gave him a subscription to National Geographic Kids Magazine. 

Above: Macsen Elkouh, 11 years old, lives in Enfield NH
Below: Macsen’s photo of VINS male snowy owl will 
be on display at the Vice President’s residence in

Washington DC through January 2016.

The 11 year old wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary when he logged into his My Shot Photo Community this past month. So when he checked his account one morning and found a notification that one of his photos was going to be displayed at the Vice President’s residence in Washington, D.C. he “felt a mixture of happiness, excitement and surprise!” 

That is pretty similar to what I felt when I received Macsen’s e-mail sharing the news with VINS. The photo that was selected is of our male snowy owl, LaGuardia. Macsen was visiting the VINS Nature Center in April 2015 with his family when he snapped the shot, capturing the snowy owl’s intense stare. 

It wasn’t Macsen’s first trip to VINS; they had once brought our rehabilitation center an injured rock dove. It also wasn’t Macsen’s first foray into photography. He has been taking photos of his favorite subjects, wildlife, birds and landscapes for the past three years. He has even started to branch out, contributing photos of his fellow students at Cardigan Mountain School to his school’s newsletter.
His photo of LaGuardia will be displayed on a digital screen in the Vice President’s house for the month of January along with 9 other images by youth photographers. “Joe and I are proud to bring the creativity of so many young photographers from across the country into our home and to see the world through their lens,” said Dr.Jill Biden in a press release. “I am so impressed by the incredible talent and professionalism of these kid photographers, and I look forward to sharing their work with our family, friends and all those who visit the Vice President’s Residence.”

At VINS we’re proud to have our organization on display at the Biden’s home. LaGuardia is a big part of our VINS community. People love to photograph his white plumage and we hope that their love for his dynamic looks translates to a love for avian wildlife. LaGuardia came to us in 2014 after being hit with an air blast from a jet engine at LaGuardia airport in New York City. He was treated by Volunteers for Wildlife but has limited flight ability and was deemed unreleasable. 
We’ve always seen art and photography an important tool for understanding the natural world and sharing the message of conservation. Thank you Macsen for bringing our work to the national stage and congratulations on your accomplishment!

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