WEB EXCLUSIVE: Drs. Robert & Sonia Vogl—Where they’ve been

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Drs. Robert & Sonia Vogl—Where they’ve been

By Drs. Robert and Sonia Vogl, President and Vice President Illinois Renewable Energy Association

Drs. Robert and Sonia Vogl earned their Ph. Ds in Resource Planning from the School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan, where they were part of the student network that developed the model for the first Environmental Teach-In, which was the prototype for Earth Day held nationwide the next month.

They are founders and officers of the Illinois Renewable Energy Association, a 501(c)(3) organization that ran the First Illinois Renewable Energy Fair in Ogle County last August. They serve as energy and ecological restoration consultants; fees that they receive for consultantships go into their organization.

The Vogls initiated the first prairie conference in Illinois, which evolved into the North American Prairie Association, which now has thousands of members. They were professors at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb—34 years for Bob, and 22 for Sonia—where they taught courses in environmental quality, energy conservation and alternatives, research, and ecology.

They have worked as consultants for state agencies for nearly 30 years, including the following:

l Institute for Environmental Quality l Pollution Control Board l Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

l Coordinators, Citizen Participation Program in Water Quality Planning

l Illinois Department of Conservation

l Illinois Department of Natural Resources

l Proposed statewide program of water quality monitoring (now the Citizen Eco-Watch program)

l Consultants to the chairperson of the Illinois Commerce Comission

l Conceptualized and initiated the Lake Michigan Federation

l Initiated the first prairie conference in Illinois, which evolved into the North American Prairie Association with thousands of members

l Conceptualized refocusing the Chicago Natural History Museum on natural

history of the Chicago region.

The Vogls also were consultants for the Chicago Board of Education, where they designed both the camping and outdoor education and the environmental education programs.

They manage about 60 acres on natural lands on their own property. They have installed a 1.5-kilowatt solar electric system on a farm building that produces about one-third of their total electric need, and have encouraged and helped several other families to install their own. They encouraged six schools to install solar electric systems and are working with four park districts to do the same.

As residents of the Rock River region, they’d like to make the riverfront a national showplace leading the way into the future.

They are founders and officers of the Friends of the Rock River, which worked cooperatively with other organizations to protect more than 500 acres of natural lands. The Vogls have also been involved with the following:

l Stimulated the IDNR’s program of Local Partnership Councils ;

l Members of the state’s first LPC;

l Coordinated a one year planning; process to develop a plan for protecting environmental quality in Ogle County; concepts were incorporated into the County’s zoning regulations;

l Designed, produced, and marketed at cost a Solar electric Education Kit used in renewable energy programs by schools and museums in the U.S., Canada, Germany, and Russia;

l Provided workshops for educators, naturalists, and adults on renewable energy;

l Presentations at national and international conferences throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Germany, Spain, and Hungary.

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