NATURE DISCOVERIES | Fun at Home Photo Contest Winners Revealed!

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We LOVED every entry in Tuesday’s Fun at Home Photo Contest so much that we needed to ask a guest judge for help. I called my professional photographer friend Thomas of Portraits by Thomas Balsamo and he picked TWO winners.

The contest theme was NATURE DISCOVERIES and the challenge was to “get outside, explore nature and take a photo of some of your favorite discoveries.” Thomas reviewed all photos and decided there were two entrants that most depicted interactions with nature. Both winners will receive a $50 gift card to Heinen’s Grocery!

The first winner, according to Thomas Balsamo is…two photos submitted by the Wirkus family of Fox River Grove with the caption, “Learning to appreciate all the little things in our very own neighborhood.”

Thomas says he loves the expression on the boys’ faces as they look closely at the tree with sticks in their hands as they dig in the dirt. “Keeping kids engaged and connected with nature is really awesome,” Thomas says. “You can really see the fascination in their faces”

That connection with nature also led Thomas to choose our second winner, which is an entry submitted by the Berg family, also of Fox River Grove. Mom, Melanie Berg snapped this photo of her boys with the caption, “My sons (7yrs and 3 yrs), my husband and I discovered 4 trees in the woods near our house that were in a square formation. We decided it was the perfect spot for a stick fort and have been working hard to build walls and a roof. We added some rugged “decor” to the entryway with spare garden pavers and parts of a found deer skull. (I think we’ve been recently inspired by our current favorite show, the survivalist show “Alone.”) We’ll continue adding to it in the days to come. It’s fun work hunting for tree limbs!

We’re with you, Melanie! We have been binge watching Alone for about a week now. Congratulations to our two winners and thanks to all who entered. Thomas loved all of your images, including the majestic Cooper’s Hawk named “Gerald” captured by the Rudzinski family in Hoffman Estates, the close up of the worm discovered by the Seidel family and our sweet little golden haired friend in the Village of Barrington.

Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you to everyone who entered! There are more chances to win. Here are our themes for the rest of the week…

    With gray skies in the forecast for Wednesday we thought this would be a good day to create something cool! Paint a picture, make a craft, cook a recipe, build a fort or tower. Pull out the craft kit, puzzles, paints and paper that have been sitting in the closet. Grab all the sheets, blankets, boxes and pillows you can find lying around the house and build a giant fort! Have things like blocks, legos, lincoln logs and magna-tiles lying around the house? Build a tower that defies gravity or just looks really cool. Snap a photo and enter again for a chance to win. Did we mention that all are welcome to enter every day?
  • Thursday: SCIENCE FUN
    Since we’re all going to be learning from home next week, we’d like to let YOU be the teacher. Find a (parent approved) science experiment you can do with items you already have at home. Complete the experiment and share a photo plus a caption that sums up what you learned. Enter your photo for a chance to win. We can’t wait to learn from YOUR mad science skills!
  • Friday: PEOPLE & PETS
    Think back to all of the favorite things you found to do at home this week and all of the photos you’ve captured. Is there someone who you loved spending a little extra time with? Did your mom, dad, brother, sister or pet make you smile this week? Snap a photo of that person, people or pet and send it it for a chance to win. If they don’t want their picture taken? Feel free to make them a mask or costume from things you have around the house and take their picture in disguise. Raid the dress-up chest, pull out pieces from past Halloween costumes. Have fun because anything goes and thanks for sharing!

Entering the contest is easy. Simply Upload your photo and caption via our contest entry form and we’ll ask guest judges to help us choose the daily winner (or we may decide to pick our winner at random). We’ll share the photos, announce the winner plus reveal our new theme at the start of the next day. Click here or simply submit your entry with this form…

For more on Distance Learning in Barrington 220, Click here for Barrington 220’s Long-term Distance Learning FAQ.

Click here for helpful advice from Barrington 220’s Coronavirus Planning Guide. For Barrington 220’s recommended reading on how to talk to your kids about coronavirus, click here or here for a cartoon explanation.

And, if you need a new song stuck in your head, give the “Hand Wash Rap” a listen. It’s pretty catchy. Stay healthy and can’t wait to kick off our contest with you next week!

Heinen’s is open and their associates have been working very hard to help meet all of our grocery needs during this difficult season. You can head to the store or order from home at any time. Your favorite Heinen’s products online are just a click away thanks to Heinen’s partnership with Instacart — groceries ordered online and delivered to your door in three easy steps:

  1. Shop for Fresh Groceries Online
    Order Heinen’s fresh produce, meat, seafood, prepared foods and more from your local store, using your computer or mobile device.
  2. Your Personal Shopper Does the Rest
    Instacart’s Personal Shoppers go out of their way to carefully select the items on your list and will follow your optional notes that detail exactly what you’re looking for. Need to make a change to your order? Simply send a message to your shopper!
  3. Groceries Delivered to Your Doorstep
    Your order will be delivered to your doorstep in as little as an hour or whenever you schedule it to be dropped off.

CLICK HERE to shop Heinen’s online today!

Heinen’s Grocery is located at 500 N. Hough Street, between E. Main Street and Route 14 in Barrington, Illinois. They’re open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit

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