"In presenting these awards
each year to landowners committed to improving their natural
habitat, we offer congratulations to the winners and encouragement
to other landowners," Brunsvold said. "The award program highlights
outstanding accomplishments of individual landowners in improving
wildlife habitat, enhancing forests and protecting the investments
they have made in their property."
The statewide awards for the
Illinois Wildlife Landowner of the Year and the Illinois Outstanding
Tree Farmer were presented during Agriculture Day activities on Aug.
17 at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.
Illinois Wildlife Landowners of the Year for 2004
The Illinois Department of
Natural Resources has selected Don and Susan Meador of Larnark as
the recipients of this year's Illinois Wildlife Landowner of the
Year award. The Meador family has been farming in rural Carroll
County since the early 1940s.
In 1962 Don Meador took over
the family farm operation, which at one time included more than 900
acres of cropland. Having been born and raised in Carroll County,
Don Meador witnessed firsthand the transformation of the traditional
smaller, diverse farming operations to large, intensively managed
corn and soybean farms of today.
"Each year there were fewer and
fewer fence rows, pastures and set-aside acres that I knew wildlife
needed. When the farm next to ours changed hands and the new owner
dozed out a windbreak that I helped plant as boy, I knew I needed to
do something," said Don Meador.
The Meadors first started
working with Department of Natural Resources staff in 1999, when Don
signed up about 70 acres into the federal Conservation Reserve
Program. Filter strips, field border strips, windbreaks, shrub
thickets and food plots were established, as well as one farm pond
and one shallow water wetland.
At the same time, Don Meador
got involved with the Carroll County chapter of Pheasants Forever
and soon thereafter took on duties as the group's habitat chairman.
"Don's working knowledge of
farmland management, plant communities, farming equipment and other
farm operators in the county has greatly enhanced both Pheasants
Forever's and the DNR's habitat efforts," said Scott Schaeffer, the
Department of Natural Resources district wildlife biologist who
nominated the Meadors for the award. "Don and Susan graciously share
their farm with other landowners interested in establishing wildlife
habitat. We run our seed, planters and other equipment out of Don's
farm, making it easy for landowners during the busy spring planting
season to get the help they need."
The Meadors added an additional
54 acres of habitat last spring, highlighted by three additional
shallow water wetlands that Don engineered and constructed.
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Illinois Outstanding Tree Farmers for 2004
Rollie and Lois Spaniol of
Charleston are recognized as the Illinois Outstanding Tree Farmers
of the Year for outstanding management of the forest resources at
their Coles County tree farm and for many years of outreach with
other landowners and the public in encouraging land conservation
efforts. Rollie Spaniol makes very clear that when it comes to his
tree farm, "I like to show it off."
Rollie Spaniol retired from
Eastern Illinois University, capping a 38-year teaching career, but
has continued educating other landowners about the benefits of being
good land stewards. He has been an active member and president of
the local Lincoln Heritage RC&D conservation and development
organization, along with the Coles County Soil and Water
Conservation District, the Embarrass River Management Association
and the Illinois Walnut Council. The Spaniols host meetings on farm
stewardship and forest resources, welcoming school and community
groups to their tree farm -- 208 acres of which have earned them the
statewide Outstanding Tree Farmer designation.
Rollie and Lois Spaniol have
improved the quality of their woodlands by working with Illinois
Department of Natural Resources foresters and professional forestry
consultants. They and their family have taken advantage of products
produced from trees grown on their property and have produced and
sold mature timber. Nominators report that dozens of neighboring
landowners in Coles County and throughout the region have been
influenced and inspired to better forest stewardship by the Spaniols'
Illinois is home to 1,107 tree farmers managing 92,529 acres of
forest land producing wood, wildlife and recreational benefits
throughout the state.
Department of Natural Resources