By Susan Johnson
The Rock River Times (TRRT) interviewed Larry McPheron, vice president of the Sinnissippi Audubon Society, about their selection of TRRT Editor and Publisher Frank Schier as the recipient of the 2011 Conservationist of the Year Award.
TRRT: How did you select Frank Schier for the award this year?
Larry McPheron: We really appreciate all the press he gives to us as well as other conservationists – the articles he publishes each week and the support he gives to the Rock River gathering in June. He has never really been recognized for the publicity he provides and as a voice for environmentalists in the area. The Four Rivers [Environmental] Coalition and the Audubon Society all appreciate the work he does. We do bird counts of migrating birds in December and January. We have different areas in the county…there will also be one in April, the Backyard Bird Count, which is a national bird count.
TRRT: Who nominated Schier?
McPheron: I did. I’m a biology instructor at Boylan High School and vice president of the Sinnissippi Audubon Society. I help out with Four Rivers Coalition, and I send volunteers from my classes to the Natural Land Institute and Severson Dells. We are involved in environmental education in the county. I also do adjunct professor duties at Rock Valley College.
TRRT: What are the criteria considered for this award?
McPheron: [The person] has to do some outstanding work in the field of conservation. His work is getting the word out.
TRRT: How many previous winners have there been?
McPheron: We’ve [Sinnissippi Audubon] been doing it since 1972. I’m trying to compile a list. I won it about five years ago. As long as Sinnissippi Audubon has had a charter, we’ve done it every year.
McPheron later submitted a partial list of some previous winners of this award: 2010 – Tim Lewis; 2010 – Sally Leaf, youth; 2009 – Rick Rudy, limnologist, Kent Creek study; 2008 – Lee Green, hummingbird and butterfly plant expert; 2007 – James Howell, youth; 2006 – Maggie Hoff; 2002 – Green Club, Boylan High School; 2001 – David Clutter, Natural Land Institute; and 2000 – Kevin Kaltenbach.
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From the March 9-15, 2011, issue