As a Certified Master Naturalist, part of staying active is to do a set amount of educational and volunteer hours in the field, which I have largely focused at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. Natural Resources is one of my favorite areas to spend my time where I am part of various programs. I work with other volunteers in set routes and preserves each year monitoring frogs, dragonflies, bluebirds and more. I also enjoy helping with special events and educational programs where volunteers are needed. I have also done the CERT DuPage training, which was offered to Forest Preserve volunteers to help our community be more prepared in the event of an emergency. I have recently joined the trail watch and river stewardship programs as well. Over the years I have gotten to know many of the staff and volunteers within the Forest Preserve. I feel like I have a good understanding of the needs of departments, employees, and volunteers as well as the residents of DuPage.
Continuing the important work in habitat preservation and restoration as a core Forest Preserve District mission is a top priority. There are many vital projects as part of the Master Plan across all districts of the Forest Preserve that focus on; the removal of invasive woody, herbaceous and invasive plants, converting Eurasian meadows to native grasses and wildflowers, and restoration of marshes, vernal ponds, and creeks as well as floodplains.
Increasing the use of solar energy in the Forest Preserve District to save money and to help the environment.
Advocate for trail improvements and interconnecting trails by supporting projects like the East Branch DuPage River Trail.
Be fiscally responsible by pushing for a 25% pay cut and eliminating healthcare benefits for commissioners. As a position that only requires meeting a few hours per week, I don't feel commissioners should be entitled to health benefits when it is not available to all staff within the forest preserve.
Yes, acquisition and holding lands is a core part of the Forest Preserve Mission Statement. Not all districts have equal opportunities for land purchase, such as here in District 2 which is very built up but I see great opportunities to explore making our Forest Preserves more connected both for people to enjoy our preserves and also for the benefit of wildlife district wide.
Presently, as an elected Trustee for the Downers Grove Township, I audit township expenses, review departmental budgets and recommend efficiencies for the Township to operate more efficiently. My experience in these areas in addition to participating in monthly board meetings gives me the skills necessary to join the Forest Preserve board and work cohesively with the other board members to fulfill the mission statement of the Forest Preserve. Determining the tax levy and intergovernmental agreements are other areas that I am experienced in as part of my township responsibilities. These are items the Forest Preserve also determines, therefore, I have the necessary experience.
I have worked in the corporate world for over 40 years, my skills are highly developed in budget preparation, auditing and human
resources. I also have a bachelors degree from National-Louis in business management.
I know that my current board and work experience can be valuable benefits to the commission
Implementation of the Master Plan is a top priority, it gives the Forest Preserve direction in which to move forward.
A work group of Forest Preserve staff developed a Master Plan that lists 32 "certified projects" to be completed over the next five years and was presented to the board of commissioners and approved. The work group conducted public surveys and received comments and opinions from more than over 6,500 to take into consideration.
Trail development and connectivity are important for our visitors to the preserves. The West Branch River Trail is in final stages and the East Branch DuPage River Trail is currently in planning stages.
As a volunteer at the Danada Equestrian Center for the past 12 years, the volunteers complete many tasks that would normally be done by staff. I would like to see an increased effort to recruit new volunteers at all viable locations. This would provide measurable cost savings to preserve expenses and continue to engage individuals.
The Forest Preserve Mission statement includes the goal of land acquisition and I support this when appropriate..
With over 26,000 acres of land, the Forest Preserve needs to focus on restoration rather than acquisition. Currently, there are very few land parcels available that would dramatically improve preserve holdings. If an opportunity for land acquisition should arise and meet the required Forest Preserve criteria, it should be considered.