As Director, Nan Buckardt is responsible for managing education about the environment and Lake County history. She ensures that her staff, along with dedicated and talented volunteers, deliver quality educational and interpretive programming and exhibits to the public.
The primary function of the Education Department is the preservation and interpretation of Lake County's story. This is accomplished in a variety of ways including: educational programming (school field trips, stewardship, general public programs and special events), interpretive exhibitions at our facilities and in the preserves, acquiring and caring for historic collections, and conducting original research.
The Education Department manages the operation of the nationally accredited Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County, the Bonner Heritage Farm, the Adlai E. Stevenson II Historic Home, and the Welcome Center at the Edward L. Ryerson Woods Conservation Area.
Environmental and history education programs and events for school and scout groups are offered at forest preserves throughout Lake County. Resource-based nature programs are designed to help visitors discover and enjoy the natural world, learn how to enjoy the outdoors in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner, and appreciate the role forest preserves play in improving the quality of life in Lake County. History and cultural-based programs help residents relate to their forest preserves through stories about the people, places and events that make Lake County unique. Educational programming for the general public can be found in many forest preserves; our school field trips are available at eight preserves and in schools.
Buckardt received her bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and her master’s in education from Northern Illinois University. She has worked for the Lake County Forest Preserves since 1984. She was an Environmental Education manager before being promoted to Director Education.
Nan is actively involved as a member of the North American Association of Environmental Education, the Environmental Education Association of Illinois, and the Chicago Wilderness Education team. In her spare time, Buckardt enjoys birding and hiking preserve trails. She would like others to know that Lake County's forest preserves are a great resource, providing a place to recreate, rejuvenate and learn.