By on December 4, 2009

Local wildlife lives on in library photo display
by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Visitors to the children’s section of the Sugar Grove Public Library may find themselves eyeball to eyeball with a Chinese Praying Mantis.

The photograph is just one of about two dozen pictures that Sugar Grove Park District employee John Clayton has currently displayed at the library. Clayton’s photos of birds, prairie plants, insects and landscapes were all taken locally.

Clayton said that a year ago, a fellow Park District staff member asked him to take some pictures of the prairie plants in the detention basin behind the Park District building.

“I got caught up in the moment,” he said. “I ended up buying a camera.”

He said he plans to drop off copies of the pictures at the Kaneland John Shields Elementary School, in case the teachers would like to use it to educate their students about the wildlife that exists just outside their classrooms.

Clayton’s pictures were on display at Peck Farm Interpretive Center in Geneva during the month of October. He said he signed up to display his pictures about a year ago when he participated in the Kane County Certified Naturalist Program through the Geneva Park District at Peck Farm.

In the meantime, the library is the beneficiary of Clayton’s creativity.

“We love John’s work,” Library Director Beverly Holmes Hughes said. “It’s colorful, cheerful, refreshing.”

Hughes said the library decided to display Clayton’s work partly because the content was local, but also because it was appealing and familiar, but not often seen by most people.

“It’s a cool thing to be a part of the new library,” Clayton said.

Clayton’s pictures are displayed in the front foyer of the library, leading to the board room and on the wall in the children’s section.

According to Hughes, the library is interested in displaying the work of local artists, given the appropriateness of the content, space and interest in the work. Works from the Kaneland Fine Arts Festival juried show will be on display in April 2010. Interested artists will find application forms at the library.

Photo: A Chinese Preying Mantis is among the subjects of Sugar Grove Park District employee John Clayton’s photographs displayed in the Sugar Grove Library. Courtesy Photos