A “wow” nature photo taken by Forest Preserve District of Kane County Naturalist Erica Lemon has won statewide recognition in the category of Integrated Technology.
At Tuesday’s Kane County Forest Preserve Commission meeting, Director of Community Affairs Laurie Metanchuk presented Lemon with a framed copy of Lemon’s photo as well as a plaque showcasing the photo and the first-place award certificate from the Illinois Association of Park Districts and Illinois Park & Recreation Association’s 2016 marketing competition.
The photo was first submitted as part of an annual in-house photo competition Metanchuk established eight years ago. Photos by district staffers are used regularly in print or online, in various marketing pieces ranging from the Forest Preserve District’s annual calendar to district brochures and visual presentations to the TreeLine newsletter.
Lemon captured her award-winning shot of a honeybee pollinating common milkweed June 28, 2016, at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles.
“Instead of choosing an easier angle above her subjects, Erica knelt to capture the image from below,” Metanchuk said. “She focused specifically on the honeybee’s thorax. You can clearly see the individual branched hairs — some loaded with yellow pollen — along with its compound eye, jointed legs, and translucent wings.
“With the shallow depth of field, parts of the flower and remainder of the garden blur and combine, so that the focus is squarely on the honeybee at work, pollinating an important native flower, Common Milkweed.”
The content of the photo is important because of the Forest Preserve District and Kane County Environmental Division’s efforts to encourage native pollinators. Milkweed is a source of food for pollinators. In fact, for the monarch butterfly, milkweed is its only source of food.
The image was used in the Forest Preserve District of Kane County’s 2017 calendar. The photo is featured for the month of July.
“After entering the photo, I took a look at the competition, and it was tough. I was thrilled to check the standings the next day, and see the Erica’s photo earned the district first place in the Integrated Photography category,” Metanchuk said.
“Erica thinks this isn’t a big deal,” she said. “I can tell you that Erica’s wrong. This is a huge deal: important, statewide recognition of the Forest Preserve District, and more importantly, of Erica’s work.”