Signs of Spring

The Annual Crocus In Focus Contest is Back
The winner for best photo from 2022: Evelyn Stewart and sibling, from Haines Junction.
The winning photo from 2022: Evelyn Stewart and sibling, Aria Stewart from Haines Junction. Photo: Laura Gorecki

Spring may be a season known for false starts, but in the Yukon, there’s one way to know it has begun, with the Rivers to Ridges’ annual Crocus in Focus Contest. The youth-focused photo contest encourages Yukoners to get outside and find the signs that winter is ending, while taking in the nature and landscapes that the territory has to offer. This year, the seventh annual Crocus in Focus Contest runs from April 15 until May 15.

“The excitement around this contest, at least for myself, is the idea of getting outside, connecting and making memories,” said Kelly Scott, Rivers to Ridges program manager. “Especially with the light coming back, it’s really an exciting time to invite children and youth to get outside and just slow down and observe, just notice the signs of spring and the changes in the seasons.”

There are three categories for winners this year: First Crocus, Best Photo and Most Creative Photo. To enter, all you have to do is take a youngster on a hike to find a crocus in bloom, snap a photo with the youngster and the flowers, join the Facebook event and post your photo or send it via email to [email protected] and, finally, enjoy other families’ photos. The winners are chosen by Rivers to Ridge’s staff, all of whom are excited every year to see the signs of spring that Yukon families find out in the wild.

The crocus is the first flower to bloom in the springtime, making it a perfect one to look out for as the snow starts to melt. The contest also encourages families to connect through a fun outdoor activity, and no photography experience is required to enter.

“This is a contest that has been created through our organization, Rivers to Ridges,” said Scott. “Our organization supports children and youth in fostering respect for the land and developing a deeper sense of the three pillars that we base all of our work on, which are empathy, awareness and community.”

Scott and the rest of the team at Rivers to Ridges believe that getting outdoors for education purposes has a lot of positive developmental benefits for young people, and it is important to share the appreciation for the traditional territory in the Yukon.

“That’s kind of the reason that this contest came about,” said Scott. “I know I personally get super excited when I see my first crocus, the first time in the season. It just feels like a really beautiful ritual to go out and get out exploring and look at the season in a new way.”

In her time running the Crocus in Focus Contest, Scott has seen people noticing little things they can take in and appreciate in nature that they wouldn’t have noticed if they hadn’t slowed down to look for a blooming flower.
“You’re using so many different parts of your brain when you’re outside,” she added. “And when you’re slowing down to observe in that way, whether it’s scientific connections that you’re not even aware of or just letting your mind go to different places, [you’re] seeing how all these different spaces in our worlds connect.”
To learn more about Rivers to Ridges, visit

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