New Lenox woman’s crayfish photo wins June’s portion of Forest Preserve photo contest

A crayfish with its claws raised in the air like a triumphant boxer was chosen as champ in June’s portion of the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Preserve the Moment photo contest.

The photo was taken by Meagan Crandall of New Lenox at Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve in New Lenox.

“The crayfish was spotted right after the bridge over the creek not long after I entered the trail,” Crandall wrote in an email after being notified of her win. “It was actually standing like that on the paved path. I had to lay down to position the camera right. It was right after a rain.”

Crandall said she has been taking photos for about a year.

“I started during the pandemic as it was a great way to get out. I also got a new camera from my mom for Christmas and a tripod from my husband; so I’m able to take even better photos this year. I go out at least every other day, sometimes with my brother who taught me some great techniques on capturing photos of birds.”

Crandall said she loves the preserves and being out in nature.

“They are calming and provide a great escape from stress,” she wrote. “My favorite paths are Hickory Creek (Bikeway) and Wauponsee (Glacial Trail). I was excited to see the crayfish right there on the path and didn’t want to bother him too long since it seemed like he was telling me to leave!”

Honorable mentions for June were given to:

  • Ronald Kapala of Shorewood for a photo of a slender glass lizard slithering through the brush at Braidwood Dunes and Savanna Nature Preserve.
  • Michelle Wendling of Joliet for two photos: a misty scene at Hadley Valley and a field of butterweed at O’Hara Woods Preserve.
  • Eileen Capodice of Minooka for a comical deer at McKinley Woods that was sticking out its tongue.

All photo contest entries can be viewed on the District’s Flickr page.

The Forest Preserve’s sixth annual Preserve the Moment photo contest began May 1 and it runs through Dec. 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.

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; and 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 on or after the contest start date. Please read all contest rules and photo upload instructions at before entering the contest.