A picturesque photo of a snow-covered bridge at Hickory Creek Preserve won the December portion of the Forest Preserve Districtís Preserve the Moment photo contest.
The picture, snapped by Chuck Medrano of Mokena, depicts the serene natural settings that can be observed year-round in the preserves. The judges were impressed with the contrast between the freshly fallen snow and the dark bridge timbers and tree trunks.
"It's really an honor," Medrano said of the December win. "Yours is the first photo contest Iíve ever entered."
Medrano said he spends a lot of time in Hickory Creek Preserve in Mokena and New Lenox because itís near his home. The winning shot was taken after the first snow of the season, he explained.
"Everything looks better in the fresh snow," Medrano said. "It was a bit of a trek Ö but it was worth it."
Honorable mentions were awarded to: Jerry Janicki of Worth for a portrait of a cardinal perched on a branch at Isle a la Cache preserve in Romeoville; Sandra Melovic of Lockport for a colorful snapshot of a monarch butterfly at Runyon Preserve in Lockport; and John Sullivan of Crest Hill for a wintry photo of a owl nestled in the crook of a tree at Lake Renwick Preserve. Photos had to be taken between June 1 and Dec. 31 to be eligible for judging.
Medrano's December photo will compete for overall contest honors with six monthly winners from June through November. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place photos after the online voting session by members of the public via Facebook. Online voting will begin on January 10 and conclude on January 20.
To see all of the photo entries submitted from June 1 through December 31 visit the Forest Preserve District's Flickr page