Recipients of the 2019 George and Barbara Fell Award

Steve and June Keibler

For many years Steve and June Keibler have been leaders and activists in the preservation of natural areas and open space, restoration of degraded natural areas, and saving endangered species. June is an organizer and leader, while Steve is engaged more in on-the-ground (and in the air) conservation activities. Their work has primarily been focused in Kane County, however they have also protected their land in McHenry County and on land they own in Minnesota.

June organized the Kane County Natural Areas Volunteers, helped found the restoration company, Witness Tree Native Landscapes, was a founding member and later President of the Fox Valley Land Foundation, which later merged with The Conservation Foundation, and served on their board. She organized Dundee Township’s Open Space District, is founder and Co-President of the Northern Kane County Chapter of Wild Ones, and is very involved with the Chicago Living Corridors group.

Steve is very dedicated to saving native plants and restoring natural areas with a focus on Greater Raceway Woods (they are both site stewards here) and Snuffy’s Prairie. He uses his construction skills for just about anything needed to aid in his restoration projects. He has flown his 1946 Piper Cub over natural areas for photographers, hydrologists, botanists, and ecological documentation.

The Keiblers are accomplished naturalists with many interests, and are especially knowledgeable about birds and wildflowers, most notably orchids. They are sponsors of Platanthera leucophaea, prairie white fringed orchid, in the Flora of the Chicago Region by Wilhelm and Rericha.

George and 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.  The 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.

The presentation of the award will be at Natural Land Institute’s 2019 Annual Dinner on Wed., March 13, at Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center. Click here to register and for more information.

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