Our Favorite Nature Photos of 2021

We're fortunate to spend a lot of time in the preserves, and we see some pretty amazing things

One of the best ways for us to tell the stories of what's going on in the forest preserves is through photos, and we're fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors so we can do just that.

Whether it's trying to frame a cool sunset shot, grabbing the macro lens to see the eye-popping detail on some insects or hanging back at a safe distance to photograph some bald eagles, there are so many opportunities to capture those moments and share them across our social media channels.

While we often use these photos to educate people about the subject matter, we'll keep it simple for our year in review and let the photos speak for themselves. Hopefully this serves as a bit of an inspiration to get outside more in the coming year and see what you can find, whether it's to get it on camera or just take it all in at the moment.

Here's a look back at some of our favorite photos we've taken in 2021: 

The big bridge at Goodenow Grove

(Photo by Chad Merda)

Grasshoppers at Rock Run Rookery

(Photo by Anthony Schalk)

Giant robber fly at McKinley Woods

(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

Green heron at Rock Run Preserve

(Photo by Anthony Schalk)

Dimorphic jumping spider at McKinley Woods

(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

Bald eagle flying in with nesting material

(Photo by Chad Merda)

Barn swallow at Rock Run Rookery

(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

Pileated woodpecker at Messenger Woods Nature Preserve

(Photo by Chad Merda)

Northern water snake at McKinley Woods

(Photo by Chad Merda)

Fall colors at Messenger Woods Nature Preserve

(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

Great blue heron at Whalon Lake

(Photo by Anthony Schalk)

Milkweed bugs at McKinley Woods

(Photo by Chad Merda)

Green heron at Rock Run Preserve

(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

An up-close look at cup plant at Hadley Valley

(Photo by Chad Merda)

Pelican at McKinley Woods

(Photo by Chad Merda)

Sunset at Rock Run Rookery Preserve

(Photo by Chad Merda)

Northern cardinal along Centennial Trail

(Photo by Anthony Schalk)

Bluet damselfly at Rock Run Rookery Preserve

(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

Bald eagle at Hammel Woods

(Photo by Anthony Schalk)

Funeral bell mushrooms at Hunters Woods

(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

Lead image of a margined caligrapher fly at Monee Reservoir by Glenn P. Knoblock

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