Newton Lake Animal Neighbors, Courtesy of Oaklyn Photographer


Rachel Gregory shared this collection of wildlife photographs, captured along the banks of Newton Creek, to aid local conservation efforts.

By Matt Skoufalos

Wood Duck (Male). Credit: Rachel Gregory.

Wood Duck (Male). Credit: Rachel Gregory.

Ever since she can remember, Rachel Gregory has loved to walk the few blocks from her Oaklyn home to Newton Lake Park and photograph the animals that live there.

“I’ve always had a love for nature and the outdoors,” Gregory said.

“I love to take photos of the animals, look at them in their natural habitat, and observe how they interact.

“I could spend hours at the lake watching them,” she said. “As I got older, I realized it was a hobby I enjoyed.”

In addition to supplying her with her first cameras, Gregory’s parents have a large collection of wildlife books that she used to identify her subjects: ducks, muskrats, beavers, foxes and raccoons to turtles, frogs, sparrows, finches, and a number of insects.

Painted Turtles. Credit: Rachel Gregory.

Painted Turtles. Credit: Rachel Gregory.

She shared this collection of images captured along the lake with NJ Pen in the hope of shedding some light locally on the variety of wildlife present in the Newton Creek Watershed.

(Best viewed on desktop. The mini-gallery to the lower right-hand side of the page offers a bigger look at any individual image.–Ed.)

Gregory’s efforts join those of artists like Mark Parker, whose illustrated wildlife map of Haddon Township was issued last year to spread a broader message about the local need for conservation.

“[Newton Lake] is their home and we have to respect that,” she said.

“I’ve noticed some kids not treating the wildlife as they really should, and I think it’s a message that should be pushed more to the general public.”

Gregory is completing an English major at Rutgers-Camden, and works part-time at the Sheehan Veterinary Center in Fairview. After graduation, she wants to attend the Camden County College veterinary technician program.

Green Heron. Credit: Rachel Gregory.

Green Heron. Credit: Rachel Gregory.

“I want people to really just appreciate these animals for their natural beauty, and to really be able to sit and admire them for what they are,” Gregory said.

“These guys are right in our backyard, and if we take the time to sit patiently and look, anyone can really see them.”

Gregory’s photos were shot with a Nikon COOLPIX P510 compact digital camera.

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