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.


2023 Nominating Guidelines and Application

Download the Guidelines and Application here: 2023 George and Barbara Fell Award Nomination Form  To receive the form in a WORD document request one from Kim at

Nomination Deadline EXTENDED TO: Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023

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.

The recipient will be recognized at NLI’s Annual Dinner on Wed., April 12, 2023 to be held at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center Rockford, 200 S. Bell School Rd., Rockford, IL  61108.

Past recipients of the George and Barbara Fell Award

  • 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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