Freshly Pressed? Nope, but the Next Best Thing Is…

For the category of “living,” the continuum of awards runs the gamut from the Profiles in Courage Award to the Darwin Awards (ahem). In science, a paper can land in the journal Nature or in the Journal of Irreproducible Results. In film, the gamut goes from the Oscars to the Razzies. In fashion, from the Best Dressed to Mr. Blackwell’s list.

Great blue heron eye-to-eye with dragonfly.

Great blue heron eye-to-eye with dragonfly.

For literary efforts, the pinnacle is the Nobel Prize, and other awards along that continuum include the Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker Prize. Somewhere down the line is the WordPress Freshly Pressed Award, and so on, ultimately including the various “grassroots awards” handed out to their peers by members of the blogging communities.

I will never win a Nobel Prize, although I’ve rubbed elbows with one winner, who is surprisingly unassuming. I would be thrilled with a photography Pulitzer (who wouldn’t?), but a girl can dream.

My blog is a long-shot for a Freshly Pressed shout out for several reasons. It’s a “concept blog.” It’s a nature blog that is highly-focused on one primary topic: great blue herons, a “niche” topic if ever there was one.

My blog doesn’t shed light on the “human condition,” except as reflected in environmental concerns about the ecosystems of Eastern Massachusetts. It doesn’t create new jobs or solve world hunger or heal domestic violence or cure childhood leukemia or stop nuclear proliferation or raise money for a worthy cause or bring peace to the Middle East or fix financial institutions that are too big to fail.

My blog doesn’t list dry facts and statistics that are just a Google search away, but if you’re looking for unique, original photos shot from my kayak and my own original, often quirky, observations about birds and nature, I’m your girl.

But there does seem to be something about great blue herons – perhaps their grace and beauty – that touches something in people. Being in the presence of the great blue herons touches something in me, almost like a meditation where time falls away into a place of peace and calm, floating on the water.

I feel fortunate to be able to share the herons and their photos and stories in this blog, all made possible by WordPress. For free. No pay-wall. How cool is that, a space to share, where we can write and read, that costs us nothing.

Which brings me back to awards. Most bloggers will not ever be Freshly Pressed, but many will receive recognition from their peers with one of the many “grassroots” awards. These community awards are a good thing, a way for “the people” to honor their own.

There are some who declare their blogs “award-free” zones, who don’t participate in the community awards process. That is their right (the awards process is VERY time-consuming and fraught with the risk of overlooking someone and causing hurt feelings), HOWEVER, I suspect that many of those with award-free blogs would NOT decline a Freshly Pressed award from the WordPress editors. Am I right? Ok, maybe there are a small number who would turn down a Freshly Pressed award – after all, a tiny number have turned down the Nobel Prize and Oscar statuette, but still, am I right?

This post started out as a preamble to five grassroots awards I’ve recently received and need to acknowledge properly. I think it’s an honor to be recognized by my peers. I’m going to break all the rules for those awards, though. I’m going to do away with the requirements to list 39 things about myself, I’m going to do away with the requirement that I nominate 42 fellow nominees in turn for each award. I’m going to simplify these peer-to-peer awards and hopefully make them easier, and more fun. It’s about community at the end of the day.

And I’m going to give a shout out to some people who have award-free blogs. They don’t have to accept or follow-up in any way whatsoever, and they can email me to be omitted if they would in all honesty decline a Freshly Pressed award, no questions asked.

If I find a new restaurant that I really, really like, I want to tell people about it. If I find a blog that I really, really like and want to tell people about – well, how is that any different than spreading the word about the great restaurant?

After all, a blog serves food, too. A blog serves food for thought.


Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: One prompt. The one thing in this photo that draws our eyes is the dragonfly sitting on the heron’s bill – even the heron’s eyes are drawn to the dragonfly!

Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Community prompt. The grassroots blogging awards are one of the best ever reflections on “community.”


Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

© 2013 Babsje. (

Great Blue Heron, Dragonfly, Community, Awards, Grassroots

Posted on December 24, 2013, in ardea herodias, Awards, Community, Great Blue Heron, Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I like the twist. Merry Christmas! Stay warm and dry!

    • Thanks for saying that, I appreciate it. Merry Christmas to you, too! Our snow has melted with the rains, so no white Christmas this year. Hope you’re feeling better with each passing day. Best, Babsje

  2. Babs, this is a very nice, well spoken post. I must admit that I have sometimes (read most of the time) turned down awards, because of the so-called requirements. I did accept a couple a few years ago and did the duties required. Also, I am one of the fortunate ones that was Freshly Pressed not only once, but twice. I must admit, that I did not turn them down.

    But having said that, I think this particular post of yours would be well deserved for an award. You chose a good subject and really made some of us feel a bit guilty. You made some very valid points. And for the record, I love that you keep writing about the Great Blue Herons. I enjoy photographing them, too, as you know. But nobody does it by getting up close and personal like you do. By the way, I love the photo of the heron staring down the dragon fly. A real keeper. 🙂

    Merry Christmas, my friend. 🙂

    • Hi Bob – Many thanks for your kind compliments and thoughtful comments, and congrats on your being Freshly Pressed twice! That is something your blog definitely deserves.

      I think that people would take more kindly to those grassroots awards if all of the burdensome special requirements were eliminated. (Some of those have taken hours and hours to do properly.) We’ll see how that goes.

      I’m glad that you’re a fellow lover of great blue herons and egrets, too. Thanks so much for commenting on my style of capturing them, I value your opinion. I’m glad to have found your blog and love the variety of birds you photograph, not to mention the quality of your work – always so clear and sharp.

      Thanks again for your kind words. Merry Christmas! Best, Babs

  3. Merry Christmas! Pawkiss 🙂

  4. I enjoyed your thoughtful presentation on awards and commendations. We have an amazing community that shares knowledge and ideas – which is what makes life all the more exciting and interesting. All the very best going forward into a new year of blogging adventures!

    • Many thanks for your kind comment, much appreciated! You’re so correct – this is an amazing community and I am blown away on a daily basis by the quality of people’s efforts. Wishing you wonderful adventures in the coming year, too!

  1. Pingback: I’m NOT Featured On Freshly Pressed Award, thanks Horty! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: