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NLI’s 2024 Annual Dinner and Presentation of the George and Barbara Fell Award

April 4 @ 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

$60 – $65

Nearly 300 people from around the region and state attend this annual celebration of NLI’s land conservation work, which includes landowners, individuals, community and business leaders, and elected officials who care about the natural environment and enjoy networking with like minds.

The Annual Dinner, located at The Radisson Conference Center (200 S. Bell School Rd., Rockford, IL), starts with the social hour at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30 and program at 7:15 with comments from Executive Director, Alan Branhagen, about NLI’s accomplishments and goals, the presentation of the George and Barbara Fell Award to Dan Kane, and a presentation by Branhagen called, “What’s Up With Trees?” Branhagen is author of three books. Two will be on sale at the dinner and he will be available to sign them: Midwest Native Plant Primer and Native Plants of the Midwest.

About Dan Kane, 2024 Recipient of the George and Barbara Fell Award

Dan Kane recently retired after serving 23 years as Executive Director of the Boone County Conservation District (BCCD). As a geologist, Dan began his career in the oil and gas industry, but realized it was not for him and migrated over to the Boone County Soil and Water Conservation District to pursue the protection of natural resources. In 2000, he began his illustrious career at BCCD, which held more than 1,700 acres of land. By his last day he had more than doubled BCCD’s holdings (at more than 4,200 acres) and created 22 additional conservation areas, primarily by acquiring grants. As the BCCD Resolution No. 07-2023-A states, “DAN KANE is King of the Grant community!” The following conservation areas have been protected by BCCD — Ballard, Distillery Annex, LIB Annex, Sewell, Funderburg North and South, Piscasaw Fen, Rainbow Gardens, Nelson Ford, Newburg Village, Ipsen, Savanna Oaks, Beaver Bluffs, Silberhorn, Youssi, Smeja, Schneeman/Leeson, Winding Creek, East County Line, Kishwaukee Valley, as well as Lucky and Morrall LPT Annex, Thunder Pavilion, Brown Conservation Park and McKiski Fen. His successor, Joshua Sage, commented that “George and Barbara Fell would be proud of how Dan was able to squeeze blood out of a turnip in the name of land protection.”

The George and Barbara Fell Award recognizes outstanding achievements in land conservation primarily in northern Illinois and is named after Natural Land Institute’s founder, George B. Fell, and his wife, Barbara. The Fells devoted their lives to the preservation of natural areas in Illinois so rare and endangered plant and animal species would be here for future generations. For more about the award and to see past recipients visit here.

Dinner Entree Choices: (select one when ordering your ticket/s)

    With White Wine Garlic & Shallot & cracked black pepper cream sauce. Red Roasted potatoes and Roasted House Vegetables.
    Atlantic Freshwater Salmon seared to perfection and coated in citrus lemon basil butter sauce. Red Roasted potatoes, and Roasted House Vegetables.
    Penne Pasta, served with fresh sauteed garden vegetables and herb parmesan cream sauce.


Register by March 25th:

  • Benefactor (Special Host) Table of 8: $1,000 – Includes table of 8 with preferential seating, a card size ad in the program, two bottles of wine

Register by March 29th:

  • $65 per person (non NLI member), $60 per person (NLI member)
  • $520/table of 8 (non NLI members), $480/table of 8 (NLI members)

Registration Form Below the Sponsors

Registration Form


April 4
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
$60 – $65
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Natural Land Institute
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The Radisson Hotel & Conference Center Rockford
200 S. Bell School Rd.
Rockford, IL 61108 United States
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