Rules for the 2022
Summer Camp Bondar Challenge

Goals, Objectives, Rules, Regulations,
Judging Criteria, and Awards


I. Goals of the Summer Camp Bondar Challenge:

  • To help campers develop a lifelong affinity for both the joy of photography and the love of nature
  • To provide an environmental and artistic learning opportunity for camp counsellors/leaders
  • To help campers use the camera to ‘see’ the environment around them with a discerning eye and mind
  • To teach campers how to use cameras as an effective means of capturing images and concepts
  • To help campers articulate their feelings about what they see and express those feelings clearly
  • To help campers understand the science contained within the art of the photograph

II. Objectives of the Competition:

  • To photograph something in the environment or an ecosystem that reflects the theme “Connecting with the Natural Environment” and is artistically attractive when photographed
  • To communicate an understanding of what aspect of the photograph makes it a strong artistic image and the science behind something captured in the image
  • To improve the camera techniques of the participant
  • To increase understanding of the limitations of the camera
  • To encourage further learning after the camp experience

III. Expectations of what the participating camps will ensure:

  • Campers will be instructed in a basic knowledge of camera use and camera care – Camera Tip cards and the “Getting to know your camera” infographic are provided to assist counsellors/leaders with this part of the program – e.g., the basics such as holding the camera still and fingers off the lens; camera control such as focus; light; framing; focal point of interest; use of a tripod if available
  • Campers will be introduced to concepts of artistic composition – e.g., framing the subject of interest, rule of thirds, foreground and background; leading lines; observe in viewfinder for unintended objects

IV. Challenge Rules & Regulations:

  • 1. Participant Groups: The Summer Camp Bondar Challenge is open to camps registered and provided access to the online toolkit of resources for staff counsellors/trainers. The competition is designed for ages 11 years and older but younger age groups have successfully participated in the program as well.


  • 2. Number of Entries: Each camper may submit one (1) entry to the competition.


  • 3. Entry Fee: A fee of $130.00, with an additional $25.00 fee for each extra trainer, will be required from each camp once the application has been accepted. This fee will include all materials, support from The Foundation, and entry of all participating campers into the challenge.


  • 4. Entry Deadline to the Foundation: By 1700 hrs on September 2, 2022, all photo submissions must be sent to The Foundation on a memory stick (supplied in the camp kit) through the mail or e-mailed by the participating camp if it has sufficient Internet bandwidth and computer speed. Electronic GEM cards can be completed and submitted online from The Foundation’s website. Additionally, all program resources, loan cameras, and any unused materials must be returned to The Foundation by the above date.

    The submissions and materials are to be mailed (at the camp’s expense) to:

    The Roberta Bondar Foundation
    PO Box 50202, 1820 Bayview Avenue
    Toronto, ON Canada M4G 0B5

    Each camp participating can set its own deadline for in-camp submissions to be completed and provided to the leader of the Summer Camp Bondar Challenge at the camp. Camps should not pre-screen submissions. Information about The Foundation’s policy regarding intellectual property is included below in point 8.


  • 5. Contest Submissions: An eligible submission to the contest consists of two elements: a photograph and a complete GEM card by the camper/artist. Each photograph must be an original taken by the camper themselves. The requirements for the photograph and GEM card artist’s statement submission are described below in points 6 and 7.


  • 6. Photograph Submission Guidelines: The photograph MUST be saved as a jpeg file (.jpg) 300 dpi, a high enough resolution to ensure good quality printing should the entry be selected for framing and display (e.g., to print an 8” x 10” print, 300 dpi and no larger than 3000 pixels in the largest dimension). Note that no software assisted digital alteration of the photograph is permitted. Cell phone and tablet cameras may be used if necessary. Photographs should be saved with this labeling structure (illustrated here in colours):


    (Camp Name, Camper Last Name, First Letter of First Name, First Two Letters of GEM Card Level). The writing submission should have a corresponding label.


  • 7. Written Requirements: A completed GEM card must be submitted for each entry. Four different coloured cards are provided to assist the completion of this component of the Bondar Challenge. Each GEM card is progressively more challenging for participants. The staff counsellor/leader overseeing the program needs to determine which level or levels they will use as appropriate for the age and experience of campers participating – from easiest at the Emerald level, through Ruby level, Sapphire level, and most challenging Diamond level. Only one card is to be submitted for each photograph entered into the competition although leaders are free to use more than one in the program with participants, time permitting. Camps have the option of using electronic or paper GEM cards (to be selected on the application form). For those who select the Diamond level (the most challenging level of competition) campers have the option of submitting a written statement of their own composition in place of the card. The GEM cards are comprised of two parts: photographic notes (on the front side of the card) and the artist’s statement (on the back side of the card or a separate document at the Diamond level). If a separate written composition is chosen as the format at the Diamond level, it can be submitted in legible handwritten form (and mailed with the cards submitted by the camp) or submitted electronically in .doc .docx or .pdf format.
    a. Photographic Notes (see front side of the card) – A summary follows:
    1) Name of the camp
    2) Name of the photographer making the submission and their age
    3) Date and time the photograph was taken
    4) Weather at the time the photograph was taken (e.g. sunny, overcast, partial cloud, rain, mist)
    5) Type of camera used
    6) Camera settings used (e.g., auto; shutter priority; macro setting)
    7) Place where the photo was taken
    8) Whether the camera was handheld or tripod mounted, or if an image stabilization camera feature was used (all are acceptable)

    b. Artist’s Statement (see backside of the card)

    For the Diamond level, an original artist’s statement of approximately 250 words, authored by the camper submitting the photograph, can be substituted for the Diamond level card including commentary on the questions following:

    1) Title of the photograph created by the participant
    2) The goal of the photograph: what the entrant had in mind when the photograph was taken and whether or not the goal was achieved
    3) The emotional connection the entrant makes with the photograph
    4) The artistic aspect of the photo: how the composition makes it an appealing image to the camper (e.g., lines, colours, textures)
    5) The scientific aspect of the photo: what fact, natural process or principle is suggested in the photo; the Biome and/or Ecozone presented in the photo, etc.
    6) Artist’s Critique: how the photograph could be improved (e.g. with a different point of view, by getting closer or farther away, through a different time of day or type of sky, in a different season)


  • 8. Participant Agreement: The Roberta Bondar Foundation (also referred to as The Foundation) respects rights related to copyright laws and intellectual property and therefore the participant retains the copyright of the image. By submitting to the Summer Camp Bondar Challenge competition, the participant agrees to abide by the rules and regulations including originality and takes any and all legal responsibility for breaches of copyright caused by plagiarism, intentional or otherwise. The Foundation reserves the right to disqualify inappropriate or unsuitable entries. By entering the competition, the participant agrees to allow The Foundation, or any public or private agency authorized by The Foundation, to use a picture and name of the winning individual as well as the submission in whole or in part for any purpose including exhibition and research, for use on its website, in print or e-book publication form, and for marketing or promotional purposes as determined by The Foundation, without compensation of any kind. There is no signed waiver required by camper participants.


  • 9. Release of Liability: The Foundation, and/or its employees/agents involved in the contest will not be held liable for missing, mislabeled, damaged, or non-displayed photographs. By entering a submission, the contest participant accepts this release.


  • 10. Announcement of Results: Results will be available on The Foundation’s website once the judging process is complete. The winning entries may be framed and displayed in a Travelling Exhibition and Learning Experience at a host gallery in the future.


  • 11. Judges: The Foundation has selected a number of judges from professions in the sciences, arts, education and photography. The evaluation will be performed to the best of the judges’ ability in a fair manner and will represent the opinion of the judges. They will choose entries that best fulfill the Summer Camp Bondar Challenge objectives based on the Judging Process and Criteria described below. Their decision on all entries is final.


  • 12. Judging Process:
    1) Judges will read the GEM card/artist’s statement and review the image. The two components will be judged as an integrated whole;
    2) Each judge on their own will vet a group of photos and GEM cards/artist statements and will select the top ten entries as finalists in the competition;
    3) The judges working as a panel will select the winners.


  • 13. Judging Evaluation Criteria:
    EcoSeek Judging Criteria cards are available for easy reference in the online toolkit made available to trainers. A summary follows:
    1) Technical component: the photograph submitted was in focus with no unintended motion
    2) Artistic dimensions such as:
    a) Composition – not jumbled; no unintended objects
    b) Focus of interest
    c) Colours, lines, textures
    d) What was it in the environment that was appealing? What attracted the participant to take the photo?
    3) Scientific dimensions such as:
    a) Accuracy of information presented
    b) Identifying or explaining a scientific fact, process or principle that is at work in the photograph
    c) Photograph reflects the theme of the competition
    d) Biome and/or Ecozone identified

V. Awards – for Participating Camps and Participants

  • All entrants receive recognition of their participation in the Summer Camp Bondar Challenge
  • A certificate of achievement signed by Dr. Bondar
  • Winning individuals receive a special prize appropriate to the level of competition (Emerald, Ruby, Sapphire, Diamond) recognizing their achievement as a winner of the Summer Camp Bondar Challenge
  • Recognition of the winning submissions on The Roberta Bondar Foundation website
  • Winning submissions may travel with The Foundation’s Travelling Exhibition and Learning Experience where they will be on public display as winners of the Summer Camp Bondar Challenge


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