Announcing the Recipient of the George and Barbara Fell Award to be presented at NLI’s Annual Dinner

Natural Land Institute (NLI) is pleased to announce that Don Miller will receive the 2020 George and Barbara Fell Award at their Annual Dinner on March 24, 2020. Don is known for his 27 years of leadership at Severson Dells Nature Center in Rockford and for connecting thousands of children and adults to nature through education and inspirational experiences leading to a better understanding of natural diversity and the importance of protecting nature. Since retiring in 2016 he has been able to continue his passion for natural areas as a volunteer for Severson Dells, Natural Land Institute, and Boone County Conservation District. In 2012 Don received the Malcolm D. Swan Award for Outstanding Service from the Environmental Education Association of Illinois.


NLI’s 2020 Annual Dinner will be held at Giovanni’s Restaurant, 610 N. Bell School Rd., Rockford, Ill. The social hour and silent auction start at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30 and program at 7:15. The program includes a welcome and opening remarks from Executive Director, Kerry Leigh, the award presentation, and a special 20th Anniversary Celebration of Nygren Wetland Preserve. The guest speaker will be Andy Bacon, former NLI Director of Stewardship, and there will be the premier of a video telling the story about the acquisition and the 20 year restoration process of Nygren Wetland and what it will take to keep it protected for the future.


EVENT SPONSORS: Presenting ($5,000) – Dave and Nancy Voss; White Oak ($1,500) – Midwest Packaging and Container; Table ($1,000) – Paul &Teri Baits, Jon & Joy Duerr, Ed & Vicki Eggers, Jay & Jane Evans, Applied Ecological Services, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, KERRY; Swamp White Oak ($500) – John & Marcia Cook, Gary W. Anderson Architects, Boone County Conservation District, Davey Resource Group, Gibbons Electric, Nicor Gas, Viking Chemical, Red Buffalo Nursery




Cost: $45 per person, NLI members; $60 per person non-members (includes a one-time, one-year introductory membership to Natural Land Institute); Tables of 10: $450 for NLI members, $600 for non-members. Table Sponsorships: $1,000, includes a table for 10, recognition in the program and 2 bottles of wine. 


For more information call: 815/964-6666 and to register online visit:


About the Guest Speaker Andy Bacon

For the past 10 years Andy Bacon has been overseeing the conservation programming for the Michigan Nature Association, a state-wide land conservancy. He worked for Natural Land Institute from 2001 – 2010, directing land stewardship, with the primary project being the complete restoration of the 721-acre Nygren Wetland Preserve from farm fields to a wetland and prairie complex.


About the George and Barbara Fell Award

The land conservation award is named for George Fell, who founded the Natural Land Institute in 1958, and his   wife, Barbara. They devoted their lives to the protection of natural areas in Illinois and were committed to protecting Illinois’ natural heritage so rare and endangered plant and animal species would be here for future generations. 


About the Natural Land Institute

The Natural Land Institute, an accredited conservation land trust, is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization based in Rockford, Illinois, which has protected more than 17,300 acres of natural land in Illinois since 1958. The current service area covers twelve counties in northern Illinois. NLI’s mission is to create an enduring legacy of natural land in northern Illinois for people, plants and animals. For more information and to donate:  


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