The Woodbury County Conservation Board and Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center recently recognized two very special individuals for their outstanding service.

Kim Handke of Anthon was recognized for the “Conservation Educator” award.

Handke has taught at Anthon-Oto Elementary School for nearly 30 years. She developed a passion for conservation as a young student and has continued to pass along that to her own classes. Handke’s students participate in volunteer projects and take field trips to learn how they can help our environment.

The “Friend of Conservation” award was presented to Bill Zales of Westfield. Zales taught botany and biology at Joliet Junior College for 34 years.

Since retirement, Zales has be actively reconstructing and restoring Loess Hills prairie on his land. He has enhanced our teaching collection with his taxidermy skills and continues to share his knowledge of natural history with others.

This is the 30th year the conservation board has recognized outstanding conservation efforts. Volunteers provide such a vital service to the nature center and county parks. Last year, more than 2,900 hours were logged by volunteers.

The Woodbury County Conservation Board also recognized more than 174 volunteers for the hours of service they provided the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center and Woodbury County Parks in 2018. This includes 19 Junior Volunteers, ages 12-17, and three younger volunteers who helped with parents or guardians.

Volunteers assist with educational programs, trail maintenance, playscape construction, gardening, special projects, fund raising, trail patrol, summer camp assistants, animal care, campground hosts, range safety officers and other duties at the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center and Woodbury County Parks.

For more information on volunteering, contact Betty West, Volunteer Coordinator, at 712-258-0838 or woodburyparks.org.

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