SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) Board of Directors is announcing the selections of Doug Aller, Nan Buckardt and Eileen Rice for induction into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame.
Since 2002, the ICF has recognized Illinoisans for their significant contributions and unparalleled dedication in preserving, promoting, enhancing or supporting natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities with induction into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame.
The formal inductions for this year will occur during the annual Illinois Conservation Foundation Gala in the spring of 2023.
“It is an honor to welcome Doug Aller, Nan Buckardt and Eileen Rice into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame. Their induction is a testament to their passion for outdoor recreation and conservation,” said Colleen Callahan, chair of the ICF Board of Directors and director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “Not only have they demonstrated their own personal love of nature, but they have instilled this passion in others, inspiring a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts in Illinois.”
Doug Aller, Berwyn
Excerpts from Doug Aller’s nomination letter written by Sherri Long:
Doug has been an avid outdoorsman since 1967, when he participated in his first family Opening Day hunt in Keota, Iowa. Since then, Doug has been a lover of the outdoors, yearly hunting pheasant and duck.
Fast forward 55 years [to when] Doug’s company, New Concept Benefit Group, hosts events (...) that introduce the outdoors to children of all ages, in particular Chicago’s youth that wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to experience the great outdoors. Doug has also hosted several Honor Hunts in Fort Dodge, Iowa, with Chicago First Responders. Doug’s most notable events are “Fishing with a First Responder” at Columbus Park and “No Child Left Indoors/Family Outdoor Day” at William Powers State Park.
As you can see (...) Doug has a passion for the outdoors and loves to share it with others. He is a true example of an Outdoor Hall of Famer.
Nan Buckardt, Libertyville
Excerpts from Nan Buckardt’s nomination letter written by Alex Ty Kovach:
From her current role as the director of education to her past role as an environmental educator, Nan has dedicated the last 30-plus years of her career to inspiring thousands of people to preserve and protect the natural world.
Nan is viewed as a conservation advocate and leader throughout the county and state. She has played an important role in the formation of Chicago Wilderness, a regional alliance strategy that connects leaders in conservation, health, business, science and beyond to preserve, improve, and expand nature and quality of life.
Nan also played an active role in the formation of Lake County Nature Network (LCNN), a collaborative effort to better connect Lake county’s Latino and African American communities to nature-based learning, science, recreation and stewardship activities.
Through her career, Nan has made a difference in the thousands of students she has taught and in the programs she has developed and has been committed to improving conservation efforts through the education of future custodians of the open spaces. Nan’s commitment to education and the environment will have a lasting impact on her community. She has exemplified the mission of the forest preserve and has positively impacted the people of our county and throughout the state. Nan has dedicated her life to educating on the importance of the natural world with a focus on inspiring children and leaving them with lasting impressions to be future conservationists.
Eileen Rice, Des Plaines
Paraphrased from Eileen Rice’s nomination letter written by Chauncey Niziol
Eileen discovered her passion for the outdoors when she was a sophomore in high school and her stepfather took her fishing. Later in life, when she was teaching first grade at a Catholic school on the northside of Chicago, Eileen would sing songs with the children about fish and fishing. She even incorporated fishing into other daily lessons and developed a conservation program for her classroom. In 1994 Eileen started teaching at Hooper Elementary school in Gurnee, Illinois. At Hooper she was able to grow and expand her conservation program, sharing it with over 320 students.
In the first-grade classrooms of East Prairie School in Skokie, Illinois, where she now teaches, Mrs. Rice is also known as “the fishing teacher.” Her classroom invites children to imagine life underwater, from the student-made “Chain of Life” that hangs from the ceiling to the homemade seaweed that adorns the walls. Her room is filled with pictures of fish and mounted fish that hang from the walls, so children see the actual fish they are learning about. At recess she teaches students how to cast a spinning reel, including safety items like looking left, right, and behind to make sure no one gets hooked. Through her unique approach and immersive techniques, Eileen has introduced thousands of children and their parents to the joys of fishing and outdoor exploration in Illinois.
The Illinois Conservation Foundation is an IRS 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation established in 1995 to support the programs of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. For more information on the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame and the ICF, visit www.ilconservation.org.