Illinois Prescribed Burn Council’s Spark Award Recognizes High Achievements Early in a Career

This week at the annual symposium of the Illinois Prescribed Fire Council, held at Starved Rock State Park, Zach Grycan, Natural Land Institute’s Director of Stewardship, was presented with the Spark Award. This award recognizes individuals with high achievement early in a career.

As Brad Semel of the Illinois Department of Nature Resources stated on his nomination of Zach Grycan, “His efforts have increased the number and size of fires that have helped natural areas they manage, as well as to increase the overall acres burned by partners. Zach has initiated, in partnership with other conservation groups, prescribed burn training workshops for those interested in learning how to manage their own land and for volunteering for Natural Land Institute and other conservation organizations”.

Grycan has worked for NLI since 2015 as the Director of Stewardship and has led staff and volunteers in land management and restoration activities, as well as supporting the land conservation’s community engagement efforts by leading nature hikes and workshops, and ensuring successful events at preserves.

NLI currently owns 25 preserves totaling 3,100 acres and holds 50 conservation easements on more than 3,800 acres.

About the Illinois Prescribed Fire Council

The Illinois Prescribed Fire Council promotes the safe and continued use of prescribed fire. We are a group of individuals, organizations, land managers and agencies interested in ensuring the safety and effectiveness of prescribed fires in Illinois. Membership is open to anyone. Interested in natural resources, fire protection, public policy, habitat restoration and wildlife?  Visit us on the Web at

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