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Our Fave Photos from the 'Take 5' Photo Contest

We received more than 4,000 entries in our “Take 5” photo contest, which asked people to show what five minutes in a DuPage forest preserve meant for them. Your amazing photos showed us what awes and inspires you in our 60 forest preserves. Four photographers and five random-drawing winners received outdoor-recreation-related prizes.

Three photographers won awards based on technical merit, visual appeal and category appropriateness as determined by District staff with expertise in photography and backgrounds in journalism, marketing and natural resources.

Bullfrog at SJF 505x290
Mia Majetschak of Woodridge won grand prize for her photograph of a bullfrog at St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville. “The wonders of nature at our forest preserves bring pure joy and happiness,” said Majetschak, who won a paddling package with a one-person kayak, paddle and life jacket.

B&W dragonfly SJF 505x335
Kevin Rodde from Westmont won the plants, animals and scenery category with his black-and-white image of a dragonfly taken at Pratt’s Wayne Woods Forest Preserve in Wayne. He often stops by the preserves before work and during his lunch break, saying, “I find that taking that time to relax and get into nature helps me separate myself from the hustle and bustle of my high-stress job.” Rodde won a four-person tent and a tandem sleeping bag.

Kids fishing at Herrick Lake 505x335
Debbie Yaun of Wheaton won the people, places and things to do category with a photograph of three children with fishing gear in hand at Herrick Lake Forest Preserve in Wheaton, which she took during her children’s first fishing outing. “Our trio enjoys watching the boats at Herrick Lake, and I enjoy watching their sibling bond grow,” said Yaun, who won weather-resistant binoculars and a field guide.

Mallard Lake sunset 505x375

A fourth photographer, Hanover Park resident Ana Sprague, won the voter’s choice award for being the top vote-getter on the District’s website and Facebook page. Her sunset at Mallard Lake Forest Preserve in Hanover Park received nearly 2,000 votes. “The peacefulness of the setting sun over Mallard Lake every night with its beautiful reflections is like meditation to me,” said Sprague, who won an assortment of fishing gear.

And here's a sampling of 20 our favorites favorites from the contest.

Kid and caterpillar 505x338
Katarzyna A. from Roselle took this shot at Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve in Oak Brook. “Great nature lesson for kids!”

Herrick Lake 505x338 

Addie S. from Wheaton took this shot at Herrick Lake Forest Preserve in Wheaton. “The forest preserves offer a place for me to stop and appreciate nature despite being in the middle of the suburbs.” 

Girl taking photos 505x335

Barbara I. from Carol Stream took this shot at West Branch Forest Preserve in Bartlett.

great blue heron with fish 505x335 

Laurel A. from River Forest took this shot of a great blue heron at Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook. “A chance to relax, explore and enjoy nature and birds throughout the year! Birding in the preserves is my therapy!” 

Cedar waxwing FBW 505x390 

Laurel A. from River Forest took this shot of a cedar waxwing at Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve in Oak Brook. "Exploring the different forest preserves, encountering and photographing birds and wildlife is most relaxing and enjoyable. There is always something new to see, around the next curve in the path."

dragonflies mating 505x335
Darlene D. from Carbondale took this shot at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville. “These Green Darners are always a welcome sight at the DuPage County forest preserves, from early spring through summer.”

Calico pennant dragonfly 505x335
Darlene D. from Carbondale took this shot at Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn. “What a surprise to see this Calico Pennant dragonfly as I was enjoying the pond at this preserve.” 

hawk at McKee Marsh 375x505
Enver A. from Wheaton took this shot at McKee Marsh at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville.

Graue Mill 505x335
Eric H. from Countryside took this shot at Graue Mill at Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook. “Clear my thoughts to hear what's really important.” 

Maple Grove fall 505x339 

Lisa F. from Naperville took this shot at Maple Grove Forest Preserve in Downers Grove.

Dogs at Springbrook Prairie 505x360
Gill B. from Naperville took this shot at Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve in Naperville. “Springbrook is THE best dog park for miles around. And who wouldn't be cheered up by seeing these two having fun? Just 5 minutes of them running free, off leash always brings a stress-relieving smile to my face.”

baby birds 505x380
Joyce M. from Winfield took this shot at McKee Marsh at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville.

Snake at Danada 505x340 

Joni E. from Wheaton took this shot at Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton.

Herrick Lake boats 505x235 

Kirk S. from Wheaton took this shot at Herrick Lake Forest Preserve in Wheaton. “It helps me to relax and enjoy nature. I am an avid amateur photographer and it allows me great time to practice.”

Mallard Lake 505x200
Kevin R. from Westmont took this shot at Mallard Lake Forest Preserve in Bartlett. “I often stop by Mallard Lake (as well as the other numerous forest preserves) before work and during my lunch hour. I find that taking that time to relax, get into nature and separate myself from the hustle and bustle of my high-stress job.” 

deer at Springbrook Prairie 505x755 

Mark S. from Naperville took this shot at Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve in Naperville.

Blacksmith 335x505 

Mark W. from Winfield took this shot at Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago. “Kline Creek Farm and the volunteers have provided a great and friendly learning environment.”

Milkweed gone to seed 505x505 

Nisha K. from Naperville took this shot at Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve in Naperville. “Enjoy walking and photographing nature.”

Indigo bunting SJF 505x380 

Michael C. from LaGrange Park took this shot of an indigo bunting at St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville.

Mallard Lake 505x325 

Vince F. from Roselle took this shot at Mallard Lake Forest Preserve in Bartlett. “Sunrise bike rides start the day right!" 

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2016 Stories
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