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Outdoors: ICF appoints new executive director

One of the most important conservation organizations serving Illinois’ youth languished without an active director for more than a year.

The political drought finally is over.

Last Friday, the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) announced the appointment of Eric Schmidt, of Westchester, as the new executive director of the foundation.

“I believe Eric Schmidt will be an outstanding addition to the foundation and I look forward to working with him and the ICF Board on an ambitious plan for the future of the foundation,” ICF board chairman Marc Miller said.

Miller also is the director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

“Eric has a terrific track record in fundraising, especially as regards children and youth programs and education,” Miller said. “I believe that makes him an ideal fit for the ICF as we move forward with building support for natural resources protection, outdoor recreation and advocating for youth conservation education.”

According to the Illinois Office of Communication and Information, Schmidt is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with extensive experience in not-for-profit fundraising and program management.

Focused on education, conservation and children’s welfare, Schmidt has spent more than 15 years raising money for organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, Advocate Children’s Hospital and the Brookfield Zoo.

Schmidt led all fundraising activities surrounding the 2012 Ryder Cup that was held at Medinah, raising funds and awareness for Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Illinois PGA Foundation.

The Illinois Conservation Foundation’s mission, according to the Illinois Office of Communication and Information, “is working in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and others to preserve and enhance the natural Illinois by supporting and fostering ecological, educational and recreational programs that benefit all Illinois citizens.”

ICF youth-oriented programs are based at the Torstenson Youth Conservation Education Center, a 750-acre facility located east of Pecatonica in Winnebago County, along the Pecatonica River.

For more information on the Illinois Conservation Foundation, visit www.ilcf.org or call (217) 785-2003.

I&M Canal Heritage Corridor

An important invitation for anyone who has enjoyed the recreational opportunities made possible because of the I&M Canal Heritage Corridor.

Please consider supporting this wonderful project.

“Dear Friends of the Illinois & Michigan Canal: We are working to publish an illustrated book, ‘Passage to Chicago: Traveling the Illinois & Michigan Canal in 1860.’

“It details a family journeying 96 miles on a mule-drawn canal boat from the towns of LaSalle-Peru on the Illinois River to the bustling city of Chicago by the shores of Lake Michigan. This book will be a wonderful resource for families visiting the canal boat in LaSalle and for local history buffs of all ages.

“The author-illustrator, Tom Willcockson, has worked with us for the last 15 years on various exhibits and interpretive signage and has wanted to do this book that entire time.

“We are running a fundraising campaign online through Kickstarter to finance the printing of the book. We are getting down to the end of our fundraising period, which ends on May 31! If we do not meet our goal, we will receive nothing!

“Please consider donating at Passage to Chicago. If you know anybody who might be interested, please share this with them!

“If you donate $35 or more you receive a signed copy of the book. For $65 or more you receive two signed copies of the book. For $250 or more you receive two signed copies of the book and your name listed as a funder.”

Thank you, Ana Koval, Canal Corridor Association



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