Lincoln-Way North High School’s Environmental Action Club recently announced the winners of its 2nd Annual Wild About Photography contest.
Michael McNeil, an amateur photographer from Frankfort, and Leah Hagler, a freshman at Lincoln-Way North, captured the judges’ attention and hearts with their colorful photos of nature.
They were honored at a brief ceremony at the school Friday, Jan. 25.
“One of the goals of the project is to fill a wall at Lincoln-Way North with pictures of plants and animals found in our area,” said Lincoln-Way North science teacher and Environmental Club Sponsor Scott McCreary who helped organize the contest.
“Michael and Leah did a great job capturing the beauty of some of these unique creatures,” he added.
Each year, the Environmental Action Club invites students and community members to submit photos highlighting the beauty of native areas in the Lincoln-Way North/Frankfort Square Park District area.
Their goal is to inspire others to rediscover the beauty and wonder of nature.
This year, McNeil submitted a photo of a bumblebee in motion, hovering over a bright yellow flower. Hagler submitted a photo of a dazzling sunset – just as the sky was turning to shades of pink and purple.
“I saw the colors and took (the photo),” said Hagler, who captured the winning photograph from her home.
McNeil, who enjoys capturing moments not everyone sees, took his photo while walking along a path at Island Prairie -- an area of native Illinois grasses that the Frankfort Square Park District established in 1991.
“When I walk, I bring my camera,” he said.
Trouble is, the amateur photographer ends up taking more photos than steps.
“I get distracted and end up not getting as much walking as I should,” he said.
This is the second year McNeil has won the Wild About Photography community award. Last year, he submitted a landscape photo that captured the judges’ attention.
Both of his winning photos now hang in the main corridor of Lincoln-Way North along with Hagler’s winning photograph and one taken last year by senior Dana Mayfield.
The student award is named after Lincoln-Way North High School Principal Michael Gardner, a former biology teacher who recognizes the biological importance of native plants and animals.
The community award is named after Frankfort Square Park District Executive Director Jim Randall – the driving force behind natural areas in Frankfort Square.
Both Randall and Gardner were on hand Jan. 25 to congratulate McNeil and Hagler as McCreary unveiled their photographs at a presentation ceremony.
Submissions for the next Wild About Photography contest are already being accepted. The deadline to enter is Oct. 31. For more information or to learn more about the Lincoln-Way North Environmental Action Club, visit http://www.lw210.org/prairieproject/index.html.