Preserving Land — Now & Forever

Steve Barg, Director

Before coming to JDCF in 2013, Steve Barg lived and worked in northeastern Illinois nearly his entire life. Steve began his career in conservation in 1986 at the Heller Nature Center, serving first as a teaching naturalist, later as the center's director. From 1998 to 2003 Steve served as the Director of Education for Lake Forest Open Lands Association, where he grew their environmental education program and helped open the Lockhart Family Nature Center. It was there that Steve became interested in the public benefits of private land conservation, and this led him to pursue work in non-profit land conservation and restoration.

For the past ten years he served as the Executive Director of Conserve Lake County (formerly known as Liberty Prairie Conservancy). Steve helped grow the organization from a local advocacy focused on the Liberty Prairie Reserve to a county-wide land trust that protects and restores natural areas and farmland for the benefit of people and wildlife.

Steve and his wife Susan have been married for 29 years. Susan is a licensed massage therapist and triathlete. They have a college age daughter, Hannah, and together they enjoy camping, canoeing, bicycling, and spending time with their golden retriever, Laredo.

Paul Bane, Invasive Plant Strike Team

A member of the Strike Team, Paul Bane grew up near Champaign, IL, in the rural community of Sidney. He went to Tolono Unity High School.

"My love of nature stems from many vacations to northern Minnesota, where my family and I would hike, camp, fish, kayak, and ski. I began college at Parkland Community College, where I received an Associates' in Science. I then transferred to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where I received a bachelor's degree in Forestry with a specialization in Natural Resource Management. Working for JDCF has been a great opportunity for me, and I enjoy every second of it! When I'm not controlling invasive plant species, I enjoy playing and watching sports. My favorite teams are the Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, and St. Louis Carindals. I also enjoy camping, hiking, kayaking, and hanging out with friends."

David Crady, Invasive Plant Strike Team

A member of the Strike Team, David Crady grew up in Germantown Hills, IL. He went to high school at Metamora Township High School.

"I have a Bachelor's of Science from Eureka College in Environmental Science. I also played soccer at Eureka. I have been interested in the natural world ever since I could walk. I would most often be found in the woods and creeks near my house searching out different reptiles and amphibians. This love of nature is what brought me to ask questions that led me to studying Environmental Science in college. I feel extremely fortunate to be working where I am today, with JDCF, and to have past work experiences at Nachusa Grasslands and Richardson Wildlife Foundation. In my free time I enjoy snowboarding, fishing, hiking, and watching the Chicago Cubs."

Carrie Haas, Outreach Coordinator

Carrie Haas joined JDCF in the fall of 2012. Carrie and her husband Brad live in Elizabeth along with their three sons: Jacob, Nathan, and Wesley. Carrie has a bachelor's degree in marketing from Upper Iowa University plus several years of sales, marketing, and leadership experience.

A lifelong resident of Jo Daviess County, Carrie is very excited to be joining the team at the Conservation Foundation. She has a great passion for many great natural resources that this area has to offer. Carrie is looking forward to working with JDCF's wonderful volunteers and joining them in achieving goals.

Jeff Horn, Director of Land Stewardship

Jeff Horn implements land management plans, maintains sites for public access, and coordinates projects with volunteers. In September 2009 Horn came to JDCF from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, where he was part of the Natural Heritage Residency program.

Jeff completed his Master of Science from the University of Illinois in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences in 2009. Before going back to graduate school, he worked with several different agencies, including the Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, and the Nature Conservancy. Jeff enjoys hunting, fishing, golf, baseball, and spending time with his family.

Jim Johannsen, Land Protection Specialist

In the summer of 2012 Jim Johannsen joined the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation as its new Land Protection Specialist. Jim works with JDCF staff, volunteers, and local land owners to establish new protected natural areas and ensure that the natural and scenic treasures of Jo Daviess County are here to enjoy for generations to come.

Jim graduated from Augustana College in 2011 with degrees in English and religion. Before coming to JDCF, Jim spent five years as an environmental educator at the Atwood Environmental Center. He later worked as Assistant to the Director at the Natural Land Institute in Rockford, Illinois, where he worked on conservation easements and other land protection projects. He is a founding board member and the first president of Friends of the Kishwaukee River, a citizens' group dedicated to the preservation and safe use of the Kishwaukee River in Winnebago County. He spends his spare time reading, canoeing, writing, gardening.

Deb Kelly, Communications Coordinator

Deb Kelly joined JDCF in early 2008 following many years with the Equestrian Land Conservation Resource as the Director of Equestrian Partnership. Kelly assists JDCF staff with the production of all printed and electronic communications — newsletters, press releases, informational brochures, and specialized reports.

When not in the office, Deb teaches riding lessons as well as exercises a variety of horses for local clients. She lives at home with her husband Mike, three cats, three basset hounds, and six pasture ornaments. She also has two horses that earn their keep in the world of eventing.

Shauna McLane, Bookkeeper

Shauna McLane, born and raised in Elizabeth, IL, joined the staff in the fall of 2012. After going to school and working in Wisconsin, she moved back to Elizabeth with her husband, Dustin, who is also originally from Elizabeth. She has worked for a wide range of businesses — from a small, family-owned general contractor to a nationwide food distributor. She started her career as an administrative assistant and worked her way up to finance manager of a government contractor.

Shauna enjoys playing volleyball, hiking, camping, traveling, and spending time with her husband, her daughter, Skey, and two dogs, Thule (black lab) and Oliver (boxer). She also belays for the rappelling wall at the Girl Scout Camp in Hanover, IL, where her husband works.

Christie Trifone-Simon, Director of Development

Christie Trifone-Simon joined JDCF in 2007, coming to the Foundation with a flavored background and experience base, having offered service to Iowa DNR (parks & fisheries), Army Corp of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a Soil & Water Conservation District in MN, and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium.

For JDCF, Christie develops and administers a plan that interacts with donors and builds relationships with them. She works to increase the assets of the Foundation by conducting special events, securing business partnerships, and acquiring in-kind gifts that meet a need of the Foundation. In her spare time, Christie enjoys spending time with her family and loves to hike, bike, and camp, fish, garden, and bake goodies!

Conservation Guardians of Northwest Illinois

A Division of JDCF

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