The Forest Preserve District's annual Preserve the Moment photo contest will begin now that the state's coronavirus-related stay-at-home order has been modified and preserve access area parking lots are reopening Friday, May 1.
The 2020 contest will run from May 1 through December 31. Winners will be chosen monthly and eight finalists' photos will vie for top honors in January via public voting on the District's Facebook page.
The contest showcases the beauty of Will County preserves and the flora and fauna they protect. But this year's contest also highlights how photography and being surrounded by nature can provide much needed stress relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. But please take all precautions to stay safe while participating in the contest. (See below.)
Photos from past contests have included birds in flight, stunning sunsets, colorful flowers in bloom, mammals in all of their splendor, visually breathtaking landscapes and even the tiniest of insects.
The top photo in 2018 featured a precious shot of a mother squirrel hugging her baby. Other winning photos captured a toad sitting on a toadstool, a bright red cardinal surrounded by stark white snowflakes and last year's winning shot of a slithery sunbathing snake. All Preserve the Moment photo entries since the contest began in 2016 can be viewed on the District's Flickr account.
Prizes and rules
Every entrant will receive a participation gift, monthly winners will each receive a $75 Visa gift card, and overall contest winners will receive Visa gift cards in these amounts: first place, $500; second place, $250; third place, $150. Photo contest prizes are funded by The Nature Foundation of Will County.
Photos must be taken by amateur photographers age 18 or older, and they must be snapped in a Will County forest preserve after the May 1 contest start date. Please read all contest rules and photo upload instructions before entering the contest.
ENTER YOUR PHOTOS
Stay-at-Home Backyard Nature Photo Contest Concludes
The Forest Preserve's Backyard Nature Photo Contest, which was created during the original stay-at-home order in March, concluded Thursday, April 30. Finalists' photos from that contest will be posted on Facebook in early May and members of the public will vote for their favorites. The top three pictures will receive Visa gift cards valued at $100, $50 and $25 for first, second and third place finishes, respectively.
Follow outdoor recreation guidelines
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Forest Preserve is urging all Preserve the Moment photo contest participants – and all preserve visitors – to follow health mandates and guidelines, which are designed to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
As of May 1, Illinois residents must wear face masks whenever they cannot maintain the required 6-foot social distance from others. For face mask guidance, visit the Illinois Department of Public Health's website.
Here are some additional outdoor recreation tips from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:
- Please stay home if you are sick or feeling any symptoms, such as fever, coughing, troubled breathing, and/or other flu-like symptoms.
- Visit alone or with members of your household.
- Stay local; visit preserves that are closest to where you live.
- If you arrive at a preserve and crowds are forming, please move to another area or return another time/day to visit.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper arm/elbow.
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