Rebecca Holmes isn’t a native West Virginian but she’s head over heels in love with the state’s natural beauty.
The Pocahontas County resident shows her affection for the Mountain State in a unique way -- by taking pictures of West Virginia wildflowers and entering her photos in the annual Operation Wildflower “Roadsides in Bloom” calendar contest. The contest is sponsored by the state departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation.
Holmes, 68, submitted three photos this year and, for the first time, one of her shots was selected to serve as the 2010 calendar cover. Twelve other contestants will have their pictures displayed throughout the calendar, which is now available through the DEP.
“She (Holmes) enters every year and quite frequently is a winner, but she’s never gotten the cover,” said Anna Shahan, coordinator of the DEP’s Adopt-A-Highway program. “That’s her goal every year.”
Holmes, a Michigan native who taught high school biology for 10 years and worked 40 years in international health in South America, moved to West Virginia 11 years ago. She was immediately mesmerized by the Mountain State’s charm and experienced a calling to photograph its environment.
“It’s a hobby of mine to promote West Virginia and the beauty of it -- the unspoiled look. It’s such a gorgeous place,” said Holmes, who also likes to hike and bird watch.
Holmes, who shoots most of her photos around her home near Cass in Pocahontas County, said she’s thankful for the opportunity to display her pictures in the “Roadsides in Bloom” calendar, now in its ninth year.
“I’m glad we have the chance to show rural West Virginia and the beauty of it,” Holmes said. “I like for people to enjoy the unscarred countryside.”
The “Roadsides in Bloom” calendar is free to the public. To order a calendar, go to: http://www2.wvdep.org/reap/CalendarSignUp.cfm or call 1-800-322-5530.
West Virginia’s Operation Wildflower beautification program is a joint effort between the DEP and the state’s Division of Highways. It includes more than 250 acres of wildflowers grown on West Virginia’s roadways.
Here is the list of this year’s 12 other winners: January -- Ronald L. Manning, Culloden; February -- Lutrisha Little, Craigsville; March -- Roger Kennedy, Grandview; April -- Randy Timm, Webster Springs; May -- Lois Pigott, Wallace; June -- Mike Smith, Waverly; July -- Lisa Linn Arroniz, Kearneysville; August -- June Bright, Webster Springs; September -- Larry Sponaugle, Cedarville; October -- Stefanie Kruger, Peninsula, Ohio; November -- Ann Walker, Hillsboro; December -- Rindy Clayton, Mt. Lookout.
Honorable Mention: June Bright, Webster Springs; John McKee, Points; Hanna Kittle; Patricia Dawn Carr, Charleston; Adrian Lusk, Lewisburg; Tanya Isenhart, Cedarville; Casey Kruger, Peninsula, Ohio; Joseph B. Reed, Buckhannon; Ruth Bush-Highland, Lost Creek.