Hardwick won first place in the amateur division of the Connecting People and Nature category of the 38th annual photo contest by the National Wildlife Federation.
This year's pool of contestants had more than 55,000 entries in its six categories.
Hardwick's photo that was taken on her property features her three-year old son and a friend reveling in the splashes from her husband's vigorous rowing. The scene takes place on a pond on the Hardwicks' property.
"My husband grew up swimming in that pond," she said in her contest entry. She claims it is one of the reasons they bought the property in Putnam County, where both she and her husband grew up.
Hardwick's photo can be seen in the December/January 2009 edition of National Wildlife Federation's magazine, which is on the newsstands now. You can also access it online at www.nwf.org/photozone.
Other categories in the contest were Mammals, Birds, Other Wildlife, Landscapes and Plant Life and Backyard Habitats. The grand prize winner received a $5,000 cash award.
Next year's contest opens in January and offers $25,000 in cash prizes along with two $5,000 grand prizes. Photographers can submit up to 20 photos in the contest. See the National Wildlife Federation Web site for more information on the contest.