The Friends Team

At its core, Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves is all about people. Our staff will always be vastly smaller than the network of Friends volunteer organizers and stewards who care for and defend the biodiversity of Illinois.

If you are looking to get involved with the Friends, to start a new local stewardship chapter, or need support for your stewardship work, please contact us!


This is the group that does most of the day-to-day work of the Friends. Anyone who wants to help is invited to make an offer and coordinate through anyone in this group. Connect with us via email at

  • Katherine Accettura
  • Kent Beernink
  • Steve Bohan
  • Anna Braum
  • Michael Campbell
  • Samantha Chavez
  • Pat Coffey
  • Geoff Corriere
  • Tori Cunningham
  • Ben Davies
  • Deanna Deterding
  • Christos Economou
  • Matt Evans
  • Monica Gajdel
  • Chris Hanley
  • Stone Hansard
  • Rebeccah Hartz
  • Karen Horn
  • Justin Hunger
  • Sam Kilgore
  • Mark Kluge
  • Athena Knisley
  • Eriko Kojima
  • Emma Leavens
  • Linda Masters
  • Jillian Neece
  • Don Nelson
  • Espie Nelson
  • Will Overbeck
  • Stephanie Place
  • Adam Rux
  • Jess Sladek
  • John Sullivan
  • Robb Telfer
  • Colin Tirakian
  • Molly Ulrich
  • Nate Ulrich
  • Patti West

Friends Board

Our Friends board establishes our strategic direction, oversees the finances, raises funds, and communicates about and advocates for Friends. If you’d be interested in serving please contact Amy ( or 779-212-2785 for information.

  • Matt Evans, President
  • Fran Harty, Treasurer
  • Stephen Packard, Secretary
  • Jim Herkert
  • Eriko Kojima
  • Kevin Rohling
  • Jack Shouba


Organization names listed are for identification only and do not imply organizational endorsement. 

  • Jerry Adelmann – president, Openlands 
  • Jill Allread – former chair, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission 
  • Brian Anderson – former Illinois Nature Preserves staff director
  • Chris Benda – consultant on botany; Plants of Concern (So. IL)
  • Bernie Buchholz – Middle Rock Conservation Partners
  • Angelo Capparella – Illinois State University & ParkLands Foundation
  • Floyd Catchpole – Forest Preserve District of Will County, IL Native Plant Society
  • George Covington – former chair, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
  • Benjamin Cox – executive director, Friends of the Forest Preserves
  • Donnie Dann – former chair, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
  • Pen DauBach – commissioner, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
  • Abigail Derby Lewis – chair, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission 
  • Harry Drucker – former commissioner, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
  • Trevor Edmonson – Friends of Langham Island, The Nature Conservancy
  • Henry Eilers – steward, Scholl Creek Barrens
  • Matt Evans – Chicago Botanic Garden
  • David Eubanks –Ecologist, Eubanks Environmental
  • Ben Haberthur – executive director, Forest Preserve District of Kane County
  • Ted Haffner – conservationist
  • Fran Harty – retired, The Nature Conservancy, Illinois Department of Natural Resources 
  • Randy Heidorn – former Illinois Nature Preserves staff director
  • Jim Herkert – retired director, Illinois Audubon Society
  • Michael Jeffords – Illinois Natural History Survey
  • Bill Kleiman – former staff biologist and former Illinois Nature Preserves Commissioner 
  • John McCabe – Director of Natural Resources, Cook County Forest Preserves
  • Bill McClain – former staff biologist and current Commissioner
  • Stephen Packard – former staff, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
  • Wendy Paulson – conservationist
  • Arthur Melville Pearson – biographer of George Fell
  • Susan Post – Illinois Natural History Survey
  • Lauren Rosenthal – former Chair, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
  • cassi saari – President, Northeast Chapter of the Illinois Native Plant Society
  • John Schwegman – consultant on botany for southern Illinois
  • Greg Spyreas – Illinois Natural History Survey
  • John Taft – Illinois Natural History Survey 
  • Karen Witter – former Illinois Nature Preserves staff director


Amy Doll

In her role as Friends Director, Amy leads our organization and builds collaborations throughout the state of Illinois to provide support for the Illinois Nature Preserve System.

Katie Kucera
Administrative Manager

Katie Kucera supports the administrative operations of the friends network, as well as coordinating resources for stewardship workdays and more!

Robb Telfer
Advocacy and Communication Manager

Robb helps build deeper connections to Illinois’ highest-quality nature in order to improve its health and prevent its destruction.

Jonathan Sabath
Field Representative

Jonathan facilitates volunteer community stewardship and builds partnerships for increased care and stewardship of Nature Preserves in northeast Illinois.

Jessie Crow-Mermel
Field Representative

Jessie facilitates volunteer community stewardship of Nature Preserves in north-central Illinois.

Ellie James
Field Representative

Ellie facilitates volunteer community stewardship of Nature Preserves in southern Illinois.