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Director Inducted into Outdoor Hall of Fame

September 14, 2022 08:12 AM

Nan Buckardt, director of education at the Lake County Forest Preserves, was recognized for her leadership in the area of natural resources. The Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) Board of Directors inducted Buckardt into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame. 

Since 2002, the ICF has recognized Illinoisans for their significant contributions and unparalleled dedication in preserving, promoting, enhancing or supporting natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities with induction into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame. The induction is a testament to Buckardt's passion for outdoor recreation and conservation, said Colleen Callahan, chair of the ICF Board of Directors and director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. She added that Buckardt has "inspired a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts in Illinois."

“I am humbled by this prestigious honor," said Buckardt, who has dedicated more than 30 years of her career to inspiring people to preserve and protect the natural world. "This honor is the result of my passion to share the Forest Preserves’ commitment to preserve a dynamic system of natural and cultural resources."

"Nan is viewed as a conservation advocate and leader throughout the county and state," said Executive Director Alex Ty Kovach in his nomination letter. "She has played an important role in the formation of Chicago Wilderness, a regional alliance strategy that connects leaders in conservation, health, business, science and beyond to preserve, improve and expand nature and quality of life."

"Nan is a prime example of the dedicated staff that keep your picturesque forest preserves operating on a daily basis," Kovach said. "We've been in the business of caring for and providing access to forest preserves in Lake County for more than six decades. The staff does a remarkable job and takes tremendous pride in what they do."

Buckardt played an active role in the formation of Lake County Nature Network, a collaborative effort to better connect Lake County’s Latino and African American communities to nature-based learning, science, recreation and stewardship activities. 

"Through her career, Nan has made a difference in the thousands of students she has taught and in the programs she has developed and has been committed to improving conservation efforts through the education of future custodians of the open spaces," Kovach said. "Nan’s commitment to education and the environment will have a lasting impact on her community. She has dedicated her life to educating on the importance of the natural world with a focus on inspiring children and leaving them with lasting impressions to be future conservationists."