Illinois Outdoors Hall of Fame
The Illinois Outdoors Hall of Fame is welcoming three individuals with lifelong interests in outdoor recreation and conservation advocacy. James Grandt, Jim Scheer and Les Winkeler have been selected from among dozens of nominees submitted by citizens from throughout Illinois for induction as the Class of 2016 for the Illinois Outdoors Hall of Fame. The Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) introduced the new Hall of Fame members during a presentation at Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 20.
James Grandt, Arlington Heights
Jim Grandt has served as president of Grandt Industries, an Illinois-based outdoors equipment manufacturing, engineering and marketing firm, for 34 years. The company is best known for its American-made custom fishing rods and golf clubs. Grandt is also a supporter of countless conservation causes, including Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Trout Unlimited, Salmon Unlimited, the Illinois Conservation Foundation, and Safari Club International, with an emphasis on programs for promoting youth involvement in conservation and the outdoors. He also provides equipment giveaways for youth and sponsors food drives in the community. On Grandt's dedication to youth conservation education, one nominator wrote: "He realized early on that the future of our great outdoors lies in the hands of our youth, and that education and hands on experience is what seals the deal with our upcoming generations."
Lewis (Jim) Scheer, La Grange
Jim Scheer is one of Illinois' best-known advocates for efforts to conserve and expand duck habitat and improve duck hunting opportunities in Illinois. Scheer is a former chairman of Ducks Unlimited in Illinois, and a longtime board member of Delta Waterfowl, promoting programs and projects to produce ducks and conserve breeding duck habitat. Scheer is credited with drafting legislation in the 1970s that implemented Illinois' Duck Stamp to provide funding directly from hunters for those endeavors. He also served as a director of the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum. Scheer has also been a tireless fundraiser for conservation and youth hunting programs in Illinois.
Les Winkeler, Harrisburg
Readers of the Southern Illinoisan newspaper, published daily in Carbondale, have enjoyed Les Winkeler's coverage of outdoor recreation, the environment, and the breathtaking beauty of southern Illinois for four decades. Winkeler has served as the paper's outdoor writer since 1989, and added the title of sports editor of The Southern 10 years ago. His outdoors coverage has earned Winkeler numerous awards from the Illinois Press Association and the Associated Press. Les Winkeler, who grew up in Beckemeyer in southern Illinois, earned a degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University. He served as a longtime member of the Southern Illinois Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Days Committee, and was inducted into the Sesser-Valier Outdoorsman Club Hall of Fame.
Since 2002, the Illinois Conservation Foundation has recognized several Illinoisans for their life-long dedication to promoting and enhancing outdoor recreation and natural resources conservation by selecting them for induction into the Illinois Outdoors Hall of Fame. Selection to the Hall of Fame is reserved for those individuals that have made significant contributions to or exhibited unparalleled dedication in preserving, promoting, enhancing or supporting natural resources or outdoor recreation opportunities.
Some inductees have touched the lives of thousands of youth and adults who can enjoy outdoor recreation in by promoting fishing, hunting, conservation, and safety education. Others have spearheaded efforts to preserve or enhance fish and wildlife habitat or protect and restore lakes and rivers. Yet others have been national and international leaders in efforts to understand our natural world.
Hall of Fame inductees are recognized each year at a presentation at Conservation World at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The ICF will begin hosting a biannual fundraiser with the proceeds used to support the annual Scholarship Achievement Program and programs at the Torstenson Youth Conservation Education Center.
Nominations must be submitted on the official Hall of Fame Nomination Form. Nominations are accepted throughout the year, but must be received in the ICF office by May 31st to be considered for that calendar year's induction class.
For more information on the ICF Hall of Fame Banquet, contact the Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271- (217) 785-2003.