A shaggy mane mushroom capped off the September portion of the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Preserve the Moment photo contest with a win for Joliet resident Martha Sojka.
The picture, which resembles a woman’s bonnet perched on a pedestal, was snapped at Hadley Valley Preserve. Judges admired the angle of the picture and the contrast between green grass blades and the soft cream-and-brown tones of the feathery fungus top.
Sojka said via email that she often walks and runs the trail at Hadley Valley to train for a race or to clear her mind.
“Regardless of what gets me out there, it never disappoints,” she said.
She said the photo contest gives her an opportunity to connect more closely to the changes of the season.
“And September was fun, because I love mushrooms,” she explained.
Honorable mentions were awarded to fungus photos taken by: Michael Fagan of Frankfort for a cascading pyramid of golden scalycap mushrooms at Hickory Creek Preserve; Trevor Freeh of New Lenox for puffs of white coral fungi clinging to a dark brown tree trunk at Hickory Creek Preserve; Jamie Travis of Monee for a jaunty yellow fly agaric fungus nestled on the forest floor at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve; and Chuck Medrano of Mokena for a creamy dessertlike fungus garnished with an exploratory slug at Hickory Creek Preserve.
Three more monthly winners will be chosen before the contest concludes on Dec. 31, and overall contest winners will be selected in January. For rules and additional details, including monthly photo categories, visit ReconnectWithNature.org.