Congratulations to the Recipient of the 2020 George and Barbara Fell Award: Don Miller.
The nomination guidelines for the George and Barbara Fell Award state that a nominee may have a history of promoting an understanding of the natural world in our region and that the person may have distinguished lifetime accomplishments in several areas including education.
Don Miller certainly fits that bill. Don is known for his 27 years of leadership at Severson Dells Nature Center in Rockford, Illinois and for connecting thousands of children and adults to nature through education and inspirational experiences leading to a better understanding of natural diversity and the importance of protecting nature. He has been described as igniting a spark in people to form a connection with nature, which is essential if they are to care enough about the natural world to protect it. He is an ardent believer in the concept of “no child left inside”.
Don has been on the forefront of educating the public about northern Illinois natural areas, including the importance of native plants, and instilling, a “leave no trace” ethic. He has demonstrated a long term commitment to natural area preservation and preservation of ecosystems.
In 2012 Don received the Malcolm D. Swan Award for Outstanding Service from the Environmental Education Association of Illinois.
His impact has been significant in the lives of young people who have gone on to pursue careers in nature education or resource management.
Since retiring in 2016 he has been able to live his passion for natural areas as a volunteer for Severson Dells, Natural Land Institute, and Boone County Conservation District.
Author of the book, Life Afloat – Stories from Notes from the Dells 1989-2009, one of Don’s stories is featured in Natural Land Institute’s anthology, NATURAL VOICES: Celebrating Nature With Opened Eyes.