2018 Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Welcomes Oliver, Banta, Widowski, Grohne, and Beverlin.
The Illinois Outdoors Hall of Fame will welcome as new inductees five individuals with records of exemplary service in and commitments to improving conservation efforts and outdoor recreation opportunities in Illinois.
The Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) today announced the selections of Diane Banta, Jerry Beverlin, David F. Grohne, Sam Oliver, and Steve Widowski for induction as the Illinois Outdoors Hall of Fame's Class of 2018.
The new Hall of Fame members will be recognized during a presentation at Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 18 and again at the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Gala on Friday evening, September 21 in Springfield.
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 Outdoors Hall of Fame.
Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Class of 2017
C.E. (Bob) Becker, Brighton, IL
Bob Becker, a decorated Korean War veteran, was a founding member and longtime officer of the Migratory Waterfowl Hunters, Inc., and later helped found the Illinois Federation for Outdoor Resources (IFOR), one of Illinois's most active and influential advocacy groups, with 75 affiliated organizations and 137,000 affiliated members. Becker served as IFOR president for 18 years, and still serves as its membership chairman at age 87. While his passion is waterfowl hunting, Becker has worked for more than 50 years on behalf of expanding outdoor recreation opportunities and promoting sound conservation practices in Illinois, and has been a foremost advocate for recruiting youth to fishing and hunting through IFOR's annual Outdoor Youth Skills Camp.
David F. Nelson, Barrington, IL
David Nelson, one of the Barrington area's most active volunteers and community advocates, has promoted natural lands conservation and outdoor recreation access in northeast Illinois for five decades. Nelson is a longtime board member and past president of the Barrington Area Conservation Trust, preserving rare and exceptional open space in the region. Nelson is also president of the Lake County Forest Preserve Preservation Foundation, providing funding for land conservation and protection, youth programs, and habitat restoration throughout Lake County. Nelson, a longtime township supervisor and former mayor of Barrington, has also worked to develop and expand local parks and recreation programs.
Michael (Mick) Wanless, Springfield, IL
Mick Wanless learned to hunt and fish, and developed his love of the outdoors, as a young boy. The Springfield businessman has made helping today's youth to develop that same love of the outdoors a mission. Wanless has long been one of the state's foremost supporters of Illinois' Safety Education program. Wanless established the Friends of the Outdoors organization to provide youth outdoor recreation opportunities, including providing a new BB gun range for youth for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Safety Education program. The range is used for Hunter Safety classes, and at Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair. Wanless has provided funding support for youth hunts hosted by the Illinois Conservation Foundation, and is a generous donor to a wide array of sporting organizations.
Glenda Zanders, Evansville, IL
Glenda Zanders grew up in a heritage of trapping, fishing, hunting and shooting sports. She places a very high value on conservation and passing that heritage to the next generation. In her younger years, she commercially fished the Kaskaskia River with her father and namesake Glenn, who had spent a lifetime as a fur buyer and trapper. She has dedicated much of her time, energy and behind-the-scenes efforts to promoting the value of outdoor recreation and conservation stewardship. Glenda Zanders is an executive and owner of Zanders Sporting Goods, Inc., a wholesale sporting goods company her parents founded in southern Illinois. She has supported the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Wingshooting Clinic Program, a program developed to instruct wingshooting enthusiasts from novices to the experienced hunter. Glenda is also a strong supporter of many conservation programs dedicated to promoting youth involvement in the outdoors, including Ducks Unlimited, Boy Scouts of America, Whitetails Unlimited, and the National Wild Turkey Federation. Glenda has contributed to the Illinois Conservation Foundation in support of youth hunts and events, hunter education programs, the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP), Amateur Trapshooting Association's youth program (AIM), and countless other shooting sport activities tailored for youth. Supporting and bequeathing the importance of conservation stewardship and the restoration of our natural resources has always been and will remain a primary focus for Glenda and the Zanders family – evident by four generations that continue to be reliable patrons toward the cause of conservation.