Laona Heights Sugar River Colored Sands Sugar River Two Rivers Ferguson Hartley Memorial Trask Bridge Four Lakes Pecatonica River Pecatonica Wetlands Crooked River Grove Creek Seward Bluffs Klehm Forest Preserve Severson Dells Fuller Memorial Cedar Cliff Indian Hill Hinchliff Memorial Kilbuck Bluffs Trailside Kishwaukee Gorge South Kishwaukee Gorge North Rockford Rotary Kishwaukee River Oak Ridge Blackhawk Springs Deer Run Espenscheid Memorial McKiski County Line Kieselburg Roland Olson Stone Bridge Clayton Andrews Ledges Hononegah J. Norman Jensen Millrace Isle Macktown Atwood Homestead Forest Preserve Headquarters

Board of Commissioner Minutes – Feb. 8

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District
District Headquarters
February 8, 2012

Randy Olson – President Tom Kalousek, Executive Director
Judy Barnard
Mary McNamara- Bernsten
Audrey Johnson
Gloria Lind
Cheryl Maggio

The meeting was called to order at 6:03 pm. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE Cheryl Maggio led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The three candidates interviewed were Lee Johnson, Michael Eickman, and Brian Leggero, Randy Olson explained the process to each candidate. They would be asked the same questions that they submitted in writing and given the opportunity to expand on their answers. The Commissioners would then be given the opportunity to ask additional questions.

Lee Johnson
Lee introduced himself to the Board. He is a lifelong resident of Winnebago County and a nature enthusiast. He is interested in the Commissioner position because he has plenty of time since he is retired, loves nature and has spent a big part of his life in these preserves. He has been the business manager at the Natural Land Institute as well as a member of a number of organizations and on various boards. He has had a lot of community experience. Lee also worked for Illinois Bell for 22 years. He was a sales manager and went through the Illinois Bells training program for management. He feels his best management technique is listening first, look at all viewpoints, and then summarize and make a recommendation as to how to proceed. He also worked at Burpee Museum, and while there, he dealt with mostly volunteer staff and was very successful at motivating them to do the job with very little or no pay. He has helped NLI preserve several pieces of property. Because of his outdoors experience, he is able to recognize the value of property from a natural history standpoint. Lee feels one of the major problems with education is the issue of busing. Education is very important and partnerships with other organizations would be helpful for education funding. He was one of the first members of the Bird Club and was the president for many years. He was also on the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts, Sinnissippi Audubon Society, and Rockford Natural History Association. He is impressed by the District’s employees’ commitment, their hard work, and their sincerity. He thinks there is a need for an inventory of what is in the preserves because the District needs to know where their treasures are. Many of the plants and animals that are here do not exist anywhere else and they need to be preserved. He would like to see more outdoor education and additional resources, in addition to more public education to put the District in a better position to receive additional resources. He also brings a lot of teaching and public speaking to groups, and would like to see the District implement a speaker’s bureau. He is dedicated and committed to preservation of the natural world and people being able to enjoy it.

Michael Eickman
Mike introduced himself, thanked the Commissioners for the opportunity to interview, and gave a background of his family-owned business. He is a member of Wild Ones, North Central Illinois Ornithological Society, Illinois Bird Banding Association, President of Sand Bluff Bird Observatory, and on the board of Sinnissippi Audubon. He has been a volunteer at Sand Bluff for 22 years. He wants to work for the people of the County. He was in the first class for the Master Naturals Program through the U of I extension and one of the projects he worked on was at Colored Sands. He has done a program at Severson Dells on bird banding, and he enjoys the benefits available through the District. When asked what he would do to re-open the Pec Ed Center, he recommended having bird walks, utilize other educators for trees and plants education, and do bird banding there. It is a missed educational center, and when the raptors were out there it was a big draw. Education for youth would be immense if that were to re-open. He has served on professional boards for the Illinois Association of Meat Processors, and the American Association of Meat Processors. He feels the District needs to focus on education, communication and public relations, utilizing volunteers, and getting more families into the preserves.

Brian Leggero
Brian introduced himself and gave a background of his recreational experiences in the preserves. He is a volunteer educator, teaching safety classes in boating, snowmobiling, and hunting, and has also taught wildlife management and ethics. Brian came back to Winnebago County from California partly because he missed the foliage and is committed to protecting the environment and promoting forest preserves. He has served on various boards such as the SM&SF Club, Rockford Lithuanian, Guisseppe Club, and Festa Italiana. He feels he could help turn the budget around by cutting any extraneous spending and coming up with more fundraising opportunities. He thinks the District needs to promote the preserves better to get more people in them. He would be honored to be chosen as Commissioner.


Candidate discussion – The Commissioners discussed each candidate from each night. After the discussion was completed, Tom Kalousek took a preliminary poll, and Lee Johnson was the unanimous choice for the Commissioner position. Formal decision will be made on February 15.

4:00 PM meeting on February 15 – Tom Kalousek passed out a draft agenda for the February 15 board meeting. He announced that the board meeting will start at 4:00 PM with a presentation on wetland banking

Clarification of Executive Director search – Tom handed out an Executive Director search proposal from Pam Clark Reidenbach. Tom suggested that two Commissioners meet with Pam to clarify the next steps and the process for the Executive Director search. Judy and Randy will be contacting her to get a time to meet with her for clarification.

Meeting adjourned at 8:08.
Next board meeting 4:00 Tuesday, February 15, District Headquarters.

Ronelle Johnson
Recording Secretary