OUR BOARD

Jeff O'Connor - Chairman

Jim Frogge - Vice Chairman

Alan Wissmiller - Secretary

Larry Kirchner - Treasurer

Ed Brown - Director

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR

John Settle

OUR STAFF

Crystal Sauder - Resource Conservationist

Emilie Watkins -  Remote Grant Write & Project Manager

Linda Settle - Administrative Coordinator

Maddie Hanson - Outreach Coordinator

Megan Schroeder - Summer Outreach & Website Development Intern

See our Staff Bios below!

CRYSTAL SAUDER

Resource Conservationist & District Manager

I grew up on my family's farm right outside of Roanoke. My passion for conservation has been influenced by growing up in an agricultural community and my experiences at Olivet Nazarene University. In May of 2019, I graduated from ONU with a B.S. in Zoology.​

I am the Educational Coordinator for the district and work in Educational Outreach, Urban Conservation, and am in the process of learning how to write grants. I help teachers bring current, and important, conservation topics into their classrooms.  I am working on expanding our Urban Conservation programs to reach members of the community. I am also learning how to write grants to bring additional funding to the district.

During my free time, I enjoy birding, hiking with my dog, Ducky, drinking coffee, sewing/quilting, and working on my forever growing insect collection! 

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EMILIE WATKINS

Remote Grant Writer & Project Manager

My roots are anchored on a five acre hobby farm in the rural outskirts of Peotone. Growing up surrounded by fields and forest instilled in me a passion for the outdoors, and an appreciation for the agricultural community. In 2016, I graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with a B.S. in Zoology.

 

In addition to serving as the RC and managing the Kankakee County SWCD, I work as an adjunct lab  professor for the biology department at ONU. I have a passion for conservation and community outreach, and feel blessed that I have the opportunity to serve and grow in my local community.

 

In my free time, I enjoy hiking, macro photography, birding, and forever expanding my nerdy insect collection! 

MADDIE HANSON

Outreach Coordinator

I have had the privilege to grow up on my family’s cattle farm in Danforth. I am a 5th generation beef producer on both sides of my family. Since I have such a strong Ag background, I decided to attend Lake Land College. It is known for its excellent Agriculture program. I received an Associates Degree in Ag Business and graduated in May of 2021. 

 

I am the Outreach Coordinator for the district. I work with farmers, youth, and the community to educate them about soil health, water quality, and the importance of conservation. I also assist the District staff and NRCS with managing conservation programs and the daily operations of the District. 

 

In my free time, I enjoy working on the farm, showing/working on show cattle, detailing my truck, cooking/baking, and spending time with my family.

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MEGAN SCHROEDER

Summer Outreach & Website Development Intern

I've grown up as a local to the Kankakee area, living in Bourbonnais for most of my life. Throughout my childhood, I've been fascinated by the outdoors, which eventually developed into my passion to protect the environment. I'm currently studying environmental science and civil engineering at Olivet Nazarene University as a member of the women's swim team. 

 

As the Outreach Intern, I am excited to help others find the same excitement and joy from the world that I grew up with. I am learning about both conservation and restoration, and hope to use this knowledge to give back to the community I grew up in. 

 

I enjoy camping, hiking, swimming, or cooking with fresh food from my garden in my free time! 

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What we do...