Minooka woman’s woodpecker shot wins top spot in Forest Preserve’s photo contest

Minooka resident Eileen Capodice’s photo of a male woodpecker feeding a regurgitated meal to its nestling was voted the top photo in the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s 2021 Preserve the Moment Photo Contest.

After around 1,500 votes were cast in the final round of public voting on the Forest Preserve’s Facebook page, Facebook.com/WillCoForests, the action shot of the pileated woodpeckers at McKinley Woods came out on top. Capodice will receive a $500 gift card for placing first.

After being notified of her win, Capodice said she was honored to have had her photo included with so many beautiful entries. Participating in the contest was therapeutic during 2021, she added.

“It was a difficult year after losing my mom,” she said. “She passed away several weeks before I spotted this pileated woodpecker excavating the nest. My mom and I shared a special bond and passion for photography and nature photos …. l know she would have just loved this photo in particular because she loved the bird photos the most, and she knew I was looking for these woodpeckers in the prior season. So that makes this an even more meaningful accomplishment for me personally.”

Second place went to Bob Bruining of Lockport for a photo of the earthy brown forest floor with a stand of golden sugar maples in the distance at Messenger Woods. Third place went to Meagan Crandall of New Lenox for her shot of a triumphant crayfish with its claws raised in the air at Hickory Creek Preserve. They will receive $250 and $150 gift cards, respectively.

The final three photos were chosen from among eight monthly winners via two rounds of online voting on Facebook. Monthly winners each received $75 gift cards, and three random winners were chosen from among all the entries to receive $75 gift cards. Those winners were: Greg Kordas of Tinley Park, Jennifer Mathews of Joliet and Matt Odum of Darien. All participants also received a gift for entering the contest.

All prizes were funded by The Nature Foundation of Will County.

More than 800 photos were entered in the contest and 188 people participated. Around 3,700 votes were cast on Facebook during the two rounds of public voting.

“This is the sixth annual Preserve the Moment Photo Contest, and it remains popular because people enjoy being outdoors and capturing the beauty of nature with their cameras,” said Cindy Cain, the Forest Preserve’s public information officer. “These amazing glimpses of creatures in the wild, plant life flourishing and luscious landscapes helped us all make it through a tough year. We thank all who entered the contest, and we are looking forward to seeing more stunning photos in 2022.”

To view all the 2021 photo contest entries, please visit the Forest Preserve’s Flickr page, Flickr.com/WillCoForests.