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 Commissioners Minutes January 21, 2015

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District


District Headquarters

January 21, 2015


PRESENT                                                                  STAFF

Judy Barnard                                                                Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                              Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                                            Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Gloria Lind                                                                   Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Cheryl Maggio                                                  Mike Durand, Golf Operations

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                           Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Jeff Tilly                                                                       Don Miller, Education



The meeting was called to order at 5:35 PM, by President Barnard. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Audrey Johnson led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES     Minutes for December 17, 2014 were approved.



Bills for January – AJ made a motion, GL seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for January in the amount of $691,329.76. Motion passed unanimously.


Gambling Ordinance – At the November 19, 2014 Forest Preserves of Winnebago County board meeting, the board approved Resolution #14-1106 to allow video gaming at the golf course clubhouses. The General Use Regulations Ordinances have a section that specifically prohibits gambling. Due to the conflict between Resolution #14-1106 and Section 7-4, regulation of sports, games and activities, M. Gambling, the Board must approve a modification to this ordinance in order to allow video gaming at the clubhouses. Ordinance 15-0102 allows for the change in the General Use Regulations Ordinance.


Gloria Lind made a motion, Cheryl Maggio seconded, to pass Ordinance 15-0102 to modify Section 7-4, regulation of sports, games and activities, M. Gambling. After discussion about whether this was in alignment with the Preserves mission, and getting public input on the matter, Mary McNamara Bernsten made a motion to layover until the next meeting. Roll call vote was taken. Layover passed 5-2. Cheryl Maggio and Gloria Lind voted no.


Mike Holan will look into doing a guest editorial and Jamie Johannsen will create a survey that will be sent to all email contacts. The survey will also be available on the website and Facebook. Mike directed the board to email any questions they want on the survey to Jamie.



Natural Resource Restoration Manual –Tom Hartley advised that the 2015 Land Restoration Manual has been completed by him and Mike Groves. He then reviewed the manual and gave each Commissioner a copy, which included the 2014 accomplishments and achievements. It also included a restoration summary, tree plantings and burn maps.


Land Advisory Committee –When Jerry Paulson was appointed to the Committee, one of the things that he wanted to do, and felt it was really important for the Committee, was to have some education and strategic planning to be sure everyone understood the types of land values and had more knowledge and understanding about what the Preserves are preserving, protecting and restoring. At the same time, it would be understood that the Board would be invited to participate in the same training as the Committee. Judy has been seeking funds from outside of the Preserves budget to enable the Land Advisory Committee members and the Commissioners to attend such training. Audrey thinks that the Committee is in an advisory capacity and she doesn’t think the money should be spent going through a strategic plan, especially when the Commissioners have already developed a strategic plan. Those donated funds could be spent better on educating both the Commissioners and Committee members.



2015 Preview – Mike Holan gave a brief overview of the schedule for 2015. He mentioned that Judy would like to have a strategic plan retreat in September, but the date is yet to be determined. Mike and Judy have also talked about having fishing clinics at Four Lakes. Mike and Vaughn are working with IDNR to establish some of those fishing clinics. IDNR is also interested in doing a Bass in the Class program and Mike will be working on getting that started this year.


Don Miller gave an update on Severson Dells’ plans for 2015. In addition to continuing the repeat programs that have been successful in the past years, the staff is working on an Earth Day walk about series with NLI which will consist of 11 walks from Earth Day until the end of June. Also on the schedule is a big predator program a pollinators program, 5 weeks of camps scheduled, canoe convoys on the Kishwaukee River every Monday of the summer, along with a few other canoe trips. There is also an all-day education workshop at the Grove and the staff is also planning another re-opening mid-May.   Mid-summer there will be a nature storytelling festival as well as music story-telling, and a lecture series in September.


Jamie then gave a quick overview of the public special events. In February there is the annual moonlight ski/snowshoe hike, the volunteer open house and volunteer training for frog surveying and invasive species training for volunteers, staff and public; In April there will be a public training and a volunteer training for dragon flies and damsel flies with a regional expert at Severson Dells. Also in April is the Atwood award reception at Klehm, and the Gathering at Macktown. Birdfest, the Nature Fiesta and the GetOutside kick-off will all be in May. In addition to special events and programs in 2015, there is a new volunteer program and training, now known as REAP (Recreation, Education, Appreciation Program) and they will meet every third Saturday of the month of October. All of the events are listed on the website.


Vaughn Stamm reminded Commissioners that the preserve staff helps all programs, with set up clean up and facilitating. He also mentioned that the Preserves are going to try and modify the camping areas in Pecatonica, as they are still under-utilized. People desire more primitive and remote campsites and some of the changes in that area have already been done. Preserves staff is also going to try to continue to facilitate the general use permits and extra permits for different events, including looking at additional permits, within reason.


Mike Durand gave a brief overview of the 2015 golf season, including 4 major tournaments, and partnering with the Rockford Park District to promote an initiative for youth golf development, youth competitive golf and instructional programs. The Preserves will be hosting those programs. He is expecting just as many outings as last year with an additional one or two. As for golf instruction curriculum, the golf lessons in June and July will be changed this year to make it more conducive for competitive golfers. All golf programs and information is on the website on the golf tab. New this golf season will be the sponsored tee signs at all 3 golf courses. In addition, there will be possible bunker removal that will be replaced with turf. The foot golf program will be returning in October for GolftoberFest.


Judy mentioned that she would like to have at least 2 board members at every event in this coming year, as she feels it is very important the Commissioners have a presence.


Forest Preserve Foundation – Judy reminded the Commissioners that establishing a foundation has been discussed throughout the strategic planning process. Judy, Audrey and Mike Holan met last week and have decided it is time to launch the foundation. The Foundation is looking for a larger donation from a corporation or an individual.   This was voted on in May, and it is time to move forward, and get it established, along with the Community Foundation, with an amount determined by the board. A formal press conference will be done in February to kick it off. Mary would like the Commissioners to come up with $1,000 to start the foundation. The Commissioners will personally solicit individuals to raise the funds by February 15 and it will be put on the agenda as an action item in February.



Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report.


Golf Operations – Mike Durand submitted a written report.


Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report.


Marketing and Community Relations – Jamie Johannsen submitted a written report.


Education – Don Miller submitted a written report.


Law Enforcement – Terry Nordberg submitted written report.


Strategic Plan Quarterly Update – Judy would like all Commissioners to review the strategic plan update. Forward any questions about the plan to Mike and he will review it at the next meeting.



Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 7:22 pm. At 8:01 pm, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.



Meeting adjourned at 8:01 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, February 18, District Headquarters



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary