All that changes now! The Director job has finally been officially posted and will be filled soon. We should make our voices heard and celebrate this big step forward.
Why is this happening? In part because the Friends and others have raised our voices? In part because our state has a more environment-friendly administration in Springfield?
The assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is John Rogner - a former volunteer steward, and Fish & Wildlife Service regional director, and Chicago Wilderness chair. He cares, and he's good. This is big. It was difficult to achieve. Thank you letters should go to IL Dept. of Natural Resources director Colleen Callahan and to Governor Pritzker.
Personal letters are important.
So are letters representing organizations.
HERE'S A SAMPLE LETTER. BUT WRITE ONE IN YOUR OWN WORDS!
(See addresses, below.)
Dear Governor Pritzker,
Thank you for supporting the restitution of the Director position for the Illinois Nature Preserves System (which was posted June 9 as #6170 – SPSA, Opt 5 – Conservation Director (Exec. Dir., IL Nature Preserves Systems), Sangamon County).
This position had been vacant since 2015 – to the great detriment of our state's globally respected biodiversity conservation program.
The much-admired Illinois approach saves money – in addition to land and nature – in that the State doesn't pay for the whole thing. Instead, local governments, not-for-profits, private landowners, and volunteer stewards all are empowered to carry much of the weight. About half of the more-than-600 Illinois Nature Preserves are locally owned and managed. But they need the expertise, oversight, legal resources, and coordination that come only through statewide leadership independent of politics and bureaucracy.
Previous Governors had let the system deteriorate and weaken. With the director and most other statewide leadership positions long empty, local staff labored heroically to hold the system together – in the face of climate change, invasives, and changing land-use pressures.
Thanks to you, DNR director Colleen Callahan, and asst. director John Rogner, Illinois can once again feel proud and confident that our Nature Preserves will be contributing as they should to quality of life locally and biodiversity conservation globally. Many of us appreciate this important step.
You may contact the Governor by Internet.
Or write a letter with an actual stamp:
Director Colleen Callahan
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Springfield, IL 62702
Springfield, IL 62706