The George & Barbara Fell Award

The award is named for George and Barbara Fell who founded the Natural Land Institute in 1958 and devoted their lives to the protection of natural areas in Illinois. They were committed to protecting Illinois’ natural heritage so rare and endangered plant and animal species would be here for future generations.


2024 Nominating Guidelines and Nomination Form

Download the 2024 George and Barbara Fell Award Nomination Form here.

If you would like the nomination form in a WORD document emailed to you send a request for this to Kim at

The 2024 Recipient of the George and Barbara Fell Award will be recognized at the Natural Land Institute’s Annual Dinner in March 2024 on a date to be announced. 

The George and Barbara Fell Award recognizes…

  • Accomplishments that have significantly advanced natural area preservation, protection, management and restoration in northern Illinois.
  • Work in any area of activity (natural resource management, education, journalism, law, science) applied to stewardship of natural areas, restoration of natural areas, and the protection and understanding of natural diversity.
  • The best qualities of land conservationists, the qualities exemplified by George and Barbara Fell through their lifelong dedication to the protection of natural areas.

This is an opportunity to give recognition to an individual who has demonstrated distinguished achievement during an entire career or a volunteer who has embodied the values and commitment of the Fells.

Past recipients of the George and Barbara Fell Award

  • 2023 – Kerry Leigh (Oakwood Hills, Illinois)
  • 2021 – Fran Harty (Monticello, Illinois)
  • 2020 – Don Miller (Rockford, Illinois)
  • 2019 – Steve and June Keibler (Dundee, Illinois)
  • 2018 – Debra Carey (Dixon, Illinois)
  • 2017 – George and Marilyn Johnson (Madison, Wisconsin)
  • 2016 – John White (Urbana, Illinois)
  • 2015 – Randy Nyboer (Morrison, Illinois)
  • 2014 – Dave and Nancy Voss (Rockford, Illinois)
  • 2013 – Jerry Paulson (Caledonia, Illinois)
  • 2012 – Judith (Judy) McCleary (Roscoe, Illinois)
  • 2011 – Richard and Karen Gadke (Capron, Illinois)
  • 2010 – Nancy Hamill Winter (Stockton, Illinois)
  • 2009 – William Howenstine (McHenry, Illinois)
  • 2008 – Russell Johansson (Rockford, Illinois)
  • 2007 – Dr. Richard Newsome (Beloit, Wisconsin)
  • 2006 – Lee Johnson (Shirland, Illinois)
  • 2004 – Mark Keister (Winslow, Illinois)
  • 2003 – Tim Keller (Sterling, Illinois)
  • 2002 – Mary B. Bushnell (Stillman Valley, Illinois)
  • 2001 – Jack and Joyce Armstrong (Rockford, Illinois)
  • 2000 – Keith and Mary Blackmore (Forreston, Illinois)
  • 1999 – Bruce Ross-Shannon (Rockford, Illinois)
  • 1998 – Dorothy Wade (Oregon, Illinois)
  • 1997 – Barbara Fell (Rockford, Illinois)
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