Former Burpee director replaces Ferraro as Forest Preserve District commissioner
Online Staff Report
Lee Johnson, former director of Rockford’s Burpee Museum of Natural History, has been chosen to replace Jay Ferraro as a Winnebago County Forest Preserve District (WCFPD) commissioner.
According to WCFPD Board President Randy Olson, Johnson, 80, was selected by a unanimous vote.
Johnson served as director of Burpee Museum from 1984 to 1998. He has served as a board member for the Natural Land Institute, North Central Illinois Ornithological Society and Sinnissippi Audubon Society. He also started bird banding at Sand Bluff Bird Observatory.
“Lee’s enthusiasm and desire to serve was clearly obvious in his answers and presentation,” Olson said in an e-mail. “He spoke about his 40-plus years of conservation history, but it was clear he still has an overwhelming passion to continue to preserve our local heritage.”
Johnson will be sworn in at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the WCFPD headquarters, 5500 Northrock Drive, Rockford.
Six individuals had applied for Ferraro’s seat, which was vacated in December after Ferraro moved out of the district. Five of the six applicants had also run for the office in November 2010, when 35 candidates sought seven seats on the first independently-elected WCFPD Board.
The six who applied for Ferraro’s open seat included Lenae Weichel, Donald Shriver, Johnson, Michael Eickman and Brian Jenkins Leggero, who all ran in 2010, and Steven French.
The WCFPD oversees 40 individual forest preserves with more than 9,500 acres and three golf courses. Johnson will join board members Olson, Mary McNamara Bernsten, Gloria Lind, Judith Barnard, Cheryl A.Maggio and Audrey L. Johnson.
WCFPD is a legally separate organization from Winnebago County and retains its own taxing authority and fiscal year.
According to its website, the WCFBD Board is “responsible for addressing priorities of long-range planning, approving budgets and developing policies for the district’s facilities.”
The board meets at 5:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at its headquarters, 5500 Northrock Drive, Rockford. The next meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 15.
Posted Feb. 10, 2012
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