Illinois Conservation Foundation Hall of Fame Class of 2016

 

The Illinois Outdoors Hall of Fame is welcoming three individuals with lifelong interests in outdoor recreation and conservation advocacy. James Grandt, Jim Scheer and Les Winkeler have been selected from among dozens of nominees submitted by citizens from throughout Illinois for induction as the Class of 2016 for the Illinois Outdoors Hall of Fame.

The Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) will introduce the new Hall of Fame members during a presentation at Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 20.

Since 2002, the ICF has recognized Illinoisans for their significant contributions and unparalleled dedication in preserving, promoting, enhancing or supporting natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities with induction into the Illinois Outdoors Hall of Fame.

James Grandt, Arlington Heights

Jim Grandt has served as president of Grandt Industries, an Illinois-based outdoors equipment manufacturing, engineering and marketing firm, for 34 years.  The company is best known for its American-made custom fishing rods and golf clubs.  Grandt is also a supporter of countless conservation causes, including Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Trout Unlimited, Salmon Unlimited, the Illinois Conservation Foundation, and Safari Club International, with an emphasis on programs for promoting youth involvement in conservation and the outdoors.  He also provides equipment giveaways for youth and sponsors food drives in the community. On Grandt’s dedication to youth conservation education, one nominator wrote: “He realized early on that the future of our great outdoors lies in the hands of our youth, and that education and hands on experience is what seals the deal with our upcoming generations.”

Lewis (Jim) Scheer, La Grange

Jim Scheer is one of Illinois’ best-known advocates for efforts to conserve and expand duck habitat and improve duck hunting opportunities in Illinois.  Scheer is a former chairman of Ducks Unlimited in Illinois, and a longtime board member of Delta Waterfowl, promoting programs and projects to produce ducks and conserve breeding duck habitat.  Scheer is credited with drafting legislation in the 1970s that implemented Illinois’ Duck Stamp to provide funding directly from hunters for those endeavors. He also served as a director of the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum.  Scheer has also been a tireless fundraiser for conservation and youth hunting programs in Illinois.

Les Winkeler, Harrisburg

Readers of the Southern Illinoisan newspaper, published daily in Carbondale, have enjoyed Les Winkeler’s coverage of outdoor recreation, the environment, and the breathtaking beauty of southern Illinois for four decades.  Winkeler has served as the paper’s outdoor writer since 1989, and added the title of sports editor of The Southern 10 years ago.  His outdoors coverage has earned Winkeler numerous awards from the Illinois Press Association and the Associated Press. Les Winkeler, who grew up in Beckemeyer in southern Illinois, earned a degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University.  He served as a longtime member of the Southern Illinois Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Days Committee, and was inducted into the Sesser-Valier Outdoorsman Club Hall of Fame.

Congratulations goes out to all of the ICF inductees.  I am proud to say I know two of this years ICF Hall of Famers; Jim Grandt and Les Winkeler.   Very deserving.

The Illinois Conservation Foundation is an IRS 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit corporation established in 1995 to support the programs of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  The ICF inspires today’s youth – tomorrow’s leaders – by providing quality outdoor education and programs that instill interest in conservation, ecology and sustainability.  Contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. For more information on the Illinois Outdoors Hall of Fame, check the ICF website at http://www.ilcf.org/portal/hall-of-fame

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