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30 Nature Photos in 30 Days
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The flowers are in bloom, the forest has turned green and the birds, bees and other creatures are out and about, frolicking in nature. 

It's an incredibly breathtaking sight to behold at any of our dozens of preserves, where you never know what surprises you'll see. We're fortunate to get an up-close view every day while we work in the field and often are able to snap some incredible photos along the way.

To help celebrate the launch of our Preserve the Moment photo contest and to also offer up some inspiration, we'll be sharing our favorite nature shots from our staff. 

Each day through June, we published a new photo and also shared it on Facebook and Twitter

The recap:

June 1: Bluebells   

Every spring the arrival of bluebells is a highly anticipated event, when they blanket a number of our preserves in a sea of blue.

(Photo by Cindy Cain)

June 2: Fire in the sky at Monee Reservior

Few things are more peaceful than a sunrise at Monee Reservoir. The sunsets can be pretty amazing as well.

(Photo by Chad Merda)

June 3: Bison at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

The bison are a huge draw, but the bison calves have been known to get the biggest reaction.

(Photo by Juanita Armstrong-Ullberg)

June 4: Luna Moth

This Luna moth was spotted at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve's Plum Creek Nature Center.

The moths have a 4 1/2-inch wingspan and females lay their eggs on the bottom of black walnut leaves.

(Photo by Suzy Lyttle)

June 5: Wild Lupine

The purple Wild Lupine at Braidwood Dunes and Savanna Nature Preserve generally is found in sandy soils and thrives at this site.

(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

June 6: Water Snakes

That's not one water snake, but in fact, two males and one female intertwined in a mating ball at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve.

(Photo by Chad Merda)

June 7: Prairie Smoke

This incredibly attractive and colorful perennial wildflower can be seen at Sugar Creek Preserve.

(Photo by Juanita Armstrong-Ullberg)

June 8: All Eyes On the Frog 

We're not sure who spotted whom first at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve.

(Photo by Chad Merda)

June 9: Black Swallowtail

This Black Swallowtail butterfly larva was spotted at Isle a la Cache. Once it matures into a butterfly, it will have a wingspan up to 8.4 centimeters and are usually found in open fields and parks.

(Photo by Barb Sinicki Ferry)

June 10: Toothwort

Toothwort is one of the many plants that can be seen at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve.

(Photo by Suzy Lyttle)

June 11: Geranium 

After the rain at Sugar Creek Preserve.

(Photo by Tim Good)

June 12: Yellow Lady Slipper

This orchid is so rare, we can't tell you where it's located.

(Photo by Juanita Armstrong-Ullberg)

June 13: Hairy Puccoon

The native plant is found in sandy habitats, including woodlands, sand savannas and upland sand prairies. The flowers attract a wide variety of bees and butterflies and can be found at Braidwood Dunes and Savannah Nature Preserve.

(Photo by Chad Merda)

June 14: The Old Oak

The elder statesman at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve is estimated to be 250 years old. 

(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

June 15: Mother Nature's handiwork

This cluster of downed limbs, which looks like it could double as the framework for a teepee, was found deep in a wooded area of Monee Reservoir. It since has been brought down by the District's Operations Department.

(Photo by Chad Merda)

June 16: Polyphemus moth

This beauty was spotted hanging out at Hammel Woods. The Polyphemus moth is one of the largest, growing to have a 5 1/2-inch wingspan. It has small eyespots on each forewing, as well as larger eyespots on its hindwings.

(Photo by Juanita Armstrong-Ullberg)

June 17: Spangled fritillary butterflies

Milkweed is a butterfly's best friend, and such was the case with these spangled fritillary butterflies at Kankakee Sands Preserve.

(Photo by Juanita Armstrong-Ullberg)

June 18: Purple coneflower

The purple coneflower can be see in abundance at Sugar Creek Preserve.

(Photo by Chad Merda)

June 19: Eastern gray tree frog

This frog was doing its best to blend in at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve, but he apparently needs to try a little bit harder.

(Photo by Bob Breyerton)

June 20: Dragonfly

You can see many insects hanging around Isle a la Cache Museum, such as this dragonfly.

(Photo by Cindy Cain)

June 21: 360-degree view of Monee Reservoir

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, how much is a 360-degree view of Monee Reservoir worth?

(Photo by Chad Merda)

June 22: Spiderwort

Spiderwort is abundant in spring and early summer at Kankakee Sands Preserve.

(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

June 23: Lake Renwick Heron Rookery

The 200-acre lake is home to a number of bird species, including the great blue heron and the great egret.

(Photo by Chad Merda)

June 24: Big Eyed Beetle

This beetle, sometimes referred to as a Click Beetle, was spotted at Romeoville Prairie Nature Preserve

(Photo by Juanita Armstrong-Ullberg)

June 25: Rock Run Greenway Trail

Whether you're running, walking or biking, sometimes it's best to just stop and enjoy the view, such as this one along the Rock Run Greenway Trail.

(Photo by Chad Merda)

June 26: Great blue heron

The great blue heron is just one of many birds that can be seen at a number of our preserves.

(Photo by Jim Kloss)

June 27: Female widow skimmer

The female widow skimmer, as seen at Sugar Creek Preserve, has a wingspan of up to 8 inches with wings that have a stripe-like pattern. They often are found in groups so they can defend their territory.

(Photo by Chad Merda)

June 28: Black-eyed susan

An incredible number of native prairie plants can be seen at Sugar Creek Preserve, such as this black-eyed susan prior to blooming earlier this month.

(Photo by Chad Merda)

June 29: Dun skipper butterfly

This dun skipper butterfly was spotted at Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve. The butterfly can be found in a variety of habitats but is most common along woodland edges and trails.

(Photo by Paul Dacko)

June 30: Robin fledgling at Hickory Creek Preserve

It's fledgling season, so during this time of year, visitors to Hickory Creek Preserve  as well as in other locations may see more young birds on trails as they learn to fly. It's important to not attempt to move or rescue them, as it's a natural process. As soon as our interpretive naturalist left, its mom and dad came by to feed it and it hopped away with the rest of the birds. 

(Photo by Suzy Lyttle)
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