Late prairie preservationis to be inducted into Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame

Chicago
By Chicago 2 Min Read

CHAMPAIGN — For a life dedicated to “educating the public about the importance of prairie conservation,” the late David Monk will receive the Illinois Conservation Foundation‘s highest honor.

Sometime in the spring of 2024, Champaign’s beloved prairie preservationist will be inducted into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame, part of a five-person class.

“Illinois is better because of each of them,” Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Natalie Phelps Finnie said of a class that also includes Plano environmental educator Deanna Bazan, Springfield park district veteran Peter Murphy, Montgomery forestry supervisor Ed Pfaff and Coulterville outdoors photographer Gretchen Steele.

Of Mr. Monk, who died in December, judges wrote: “Through his impactful public access radio show on WEFT 90.1 FM, ecological landscape art classes at the Chicago Art Institute and creative outreach endeavors like towing native prairie plants in the Champaign-Urbana Fourth of July parade, (his) passion for environmental education and stewardship resonated deeply.

“His instrumental roles in saving Busey Woods, advocating for interagency cooperation, restoring urban prairie pockets and spearheading the Kickapoo Rail Trail exemplify his commitment to preserving endangered prairie habitats.

“His kindness, humility and enduring contributions have left an indelible mark on the conservation landscape, making his induction a fitting tribute to his legacy.”

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This story appeared in ‘Meeting Minutes & More,’ a weekly, six-page special section in the print editions of Friday’s News-Gazette reported and written by Editor Jeff D’Alessio and designed by News Editor Joel Leizer. Click here to read an electronic version of this week’s section. Click here to subscribe to The News-Gazette.

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