The McHenry County Conservation District invites the community to see "Endangered Beauty," a nature photography exhibit by award-winning photographer Carol Freeman, on Nov. 4-Jan. 14 at Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. The free exhibit is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. It will be closed Nov. 23-24, Dec. 25-26 and Jan. 1.
Carol Freeman spent three summers tracking down the federally and state-endangered Hine's emerald dragonfly. There's only one little place where you can find this species in Illinois. She walked slowly or stood patiently on the only trail, hoping to glimpse the hovering wings of this rare and beautiful insect. One day a Hine's emerald landed on a cattail after catching a meal, affording her the chance to capture its beauty with her camera. That photograph and those of many other Illinois threatened and endangered species are part of an amazing, unique and breathtaking exhibit, called "Endangered Beauty."
In 2003, Freeman set out to capture some of the 483 threatened and endangered species on camera -- and it became the ultimate labor of love as she photographed everything from rare, obscure, quarter-inch insects to sedges that all seem to look alike to the delicate and beautiful orange-fringed orchid to giant trees.
"It's just amazing that there's still this much diversity in the state," Freeman said. "I photographed mussels, turtles, snakes, wolves, birds, plants, butterflies, dragonflies and fish -- and each has its own beauty."
Some of the photographed species in the exhibit include the swamp metalmark butterfly, short-eared owl, Kirtland's snake and purple wartyback mussel.
"Every species I've photographed has a story," she said, adding her hope is those who view the exhibit will be compelled to help save Illinois' endangered beauty.
An artist reception will be hosted from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, at Lost Valley Visitor Center.
Freeman will share information about the fascinating photographs and answer questions about her project. Photographs will be available for purchase during the reception.
For more information, contact Prairieview Education Center at (815) 479-5779 or visit MCCDistrict.org.