When Mark Hanna noticed a snail on the trail at Rock Run Rookery Preserve in Joliet, and a bicyclist barreling down the path in the snail’s direction, the Romeoville resident couldn’t help but intervene.
“I didn’t want it to get smooshed,” Hanna said of the moseying mollusk.
Hanna’s good deed was rewarded when a photo he snapped of the glistening snail and its shell won first place in August’s portion of the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Preserve the Moment photo contest, which began April 1 and continues through Dec. 31 with monthly winners.
“I moved it to safety and went back to my car and got my macro lens, hoping it would still be there,” Hanna said. By the time Hanna retrieved the lens and chatted with another preserve patron, the snail had moved around four feet to a piece of rotted wood, and it was heading south toward the river. But Hanna was able to photograph the snail and its outstretched tentacles before it glided into the vegetation.
Hanna takes photos in many Will County preserves and he came in third in last year’s overall contest with a photo of a green heron. “I’m retired, so I go somewhere every day,” he said of his hobby.
Honorable mentions for the month were awarded to: Jack Woodard of Elwood for his clearwing hummingbird moth at Rock Run Preserve; Greg Johnson of Bolingbrook for a dragonfly at Birds Junction Marsh; Michelle Wendling of Joliet for a sunset at Lake Renwick Preserve; Eileen Capodice of Minooka for a monarch butterfly at Rock Run Rookery Preserve.
All of the contest’s photo entries can be viewed on the District’s Flickr page, Flickr.com/WillCoForests. Photos must be taken by amateur photographers age 18 or older, and they must be snapped in a Will County forest preserve during the contest period. Monthly winners receive $75 gift cards. Overall contest winners will be determined in January via online voting at Facebook.com/WillCoForests. Winners will receive $500, $250 and $150 gift cards for first, second and third place, respectively.
For more contest information and rules, visit ReconnectWithNature.org. The contest is sponsored by The Nature Foundation of Will County.