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Images of Illinois

Winner named in annual Goose Lake Prairie photo contest

Judging of the 7th annual photo contest held at Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area on Aug. 23 was by a panel of experts assembled by the Morris Camera Club.

When winners were announced Aug. 24, it was revealed the top prizes of Best of Show and Best Color Picture went to Don Blecha of Coal City for his “Barred Owl” photo.

The Best Black & White Print was awarded to Denise Rogers of Seneca. Her photo was titled “Stay Off the Board Walk.”

The Prairie Partner Pick was awarded to “Welcome Home,” by Becky Sipple of Morris, while the People’s Choice award went to Gerald LaVault of Morris for “Goose Lake Prairie Corn Crib.”

The Best Youth Division entry, a photo titled “Peak Perch Pedacies,” was entered by Kyle Jones of Morton.

All of the photos were on display at the visitors center through the weekend.

“We are excited by the response to the contest this year,” Goose Lake Partners’ President Susie Johnson said. “The quality of the entries this year was outstanding.”

The response by the public was also very positive, as the visitor count at the center was up 75 percent over a normal August weekend.

“Our visitors were amazed at the professional quality produced by our local amateur photographers,” Johnson said. “We thank those who made donations of any kind.”

The amateur contest is every August at the Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area on Pine Bluff Road, at Jugtown Road, in east Grundy County.

It is orchestrated by the volunteer organization called Goose Lake Prairie Partners, with assistance from the Morris Camera Club.

Photo entries are to depict the flora, fauna and natural environment in the parks in of Illinois. This year, 102 prints were submitted Aug. 18 at the Goose Lake Prairie Visitors Center on Jugtown Road. The majority of participants were from Grundy County.

The Nature Photo Contest judges were Margo McIntyre of the Morris Camera Club, Scott Steinart of the Sandwich Camera Club and Tom Williams of the Streator Pictorial Camera Club.

In addition to the overall winners, the judges also selected the top three entries in each of several categories in both adult and youth divisions.

Those winners in the adult division included:

Color Animals

1st) Proud Buck by Don Blecha

2nd) Squirrel in the Tree by Gene Smyk

3rd) White Tail Deer by Rex Tremain

Black & White Animals

1st) Masked Bandit by Don Blecha

2nd) White Tailed Buck by Don Blecha

3rd) White Tailed Doe by Don Blecha

Color Birds

1st) Barred Owl by Don Blecha

2nd) Green Heron by Don Blecha

3rd) The Next Generation by Gail Peterson

Black & White Birds

1st) Gobbler by Don Blecha

2nd) Double Bands by Don Blecha

3rd) Ascending Mallards by Joshua Kaluzny

Color Insects

1st) Female Blue Damselfly by William Porter

2nd) Northern Katydid by William Porter

3rd) Halloween Pennant by Laverne Guerette

Black & White Insects

1st) Big Pipper Firefly by William Porter

2nd) Crab Spider by Gail Peterson

3rd) Male Redlegged Grasshopper by William Porter

Color Plants

1st) Wild Columbine by William Porter

2nd) Spiderword by William Porter

3rd) Chicory by Laverne Guerette

Black & White Plants

1st) Woodland Aster by William Porter

2nd) Wild Hyacinth by William Porter

3rd) Chicory in Black & White by Denise Rogers

Color Landscape

1st) Sunset on the Foxtails by Denise Rogers

2nd) Sunset at Goose Lake Prairie

Black & White Landscape

1st) Morning Dew by Gail Peterson

Color Goose Lake Prairie

1st) Goose Lake Prairie Cabin by Laverne Guerette

2nd) Sunrise at the Cabin by Denise Rogers

3rd) Fox Squirrel by Rex Termain

Black & White Goose Lake Prairie

1st) Stay on the Boardwalk by Denise Rogers

2nd) Round the Ben by Wendy Rossi

3rd) Prairie Flowers Around Cragg by Wendy Rossi

In the Youth Division, the selected winner were:


1st) Leaf by Leah Rossi

2nd) Platan Strand by Kyle Jones

3rd) Rudbecken by Kyle Jones


1st) Lampropelt Lift by Kyle Jones

2nd) Sciurus Reactus by Kyle Jones

Birds and Insects

1st) Peak Perch Podacus by Kyle Jones

2nd) Monarda Pollinata Xylocop by Kyle Jones

3rd) Spike Abdomenend Fly by Kyle Jones


1st) Cervus Prairie by Kyle Jones

2nd) Walden’s Pond Alga by Kyle Jones

3rd) Rocks at GLP Park by Leah Rossi

Goose Lake Prairie SNA

1st) Wind Power by Joey Sipple

2nd) Day at the Lake by Joey Sipple

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