Steve and June Keibler received the 2019 George and Barbara Fell Award for their commitment to land conservation. Photo: Jill Kennay

Recognizing Outstanding Land Conservation Efforts

Natural Land Institute (NLI) recognizes outstanding leadership and achievement in land conservation by presenting the annual George and Barbara Fell Award to someone who embodies the spirit of the organization’s founder George B. Fell and his wife Barbara. The Fells dedicated their lives to protecting Illinois’ natural heritage so rare and endangered plant and animal species would be here for future generations

Nominations for the George and Barbara Fell Award will be accepted through January 17, 2020. The land conservation award recognizes accomplis hments that have significantly advanced natural area preservation, protection, management and restoration in northern Illinois.

This is an opportunity to give recognition to an individual who has demonstrated distinguished achievement over the course of many years, which could be in natural resources management, education, journalism, law, or science applied to protection, stewardship or restoration of natural areas, and understanding of natural diversity. Volunteers may also be considered for this award for their efforts in land protection, stewardship and restoration.

For additional details about the nominating guidelines and criteria, and to download the form visit: or call the NLI office at 815/964-6666.

The presentation of the 2020 George and Barbara Fell Award will be at the Natural Land Institute’s Annual Dinner to be held on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center, 610 N. Bell School Rd., Rockford, Ill.  61107.

Past recipients of the G&B Fell Award

  • 2019 – Steve and June Keibler (Dundee, Illinois)
  • 2018 – Deb 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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