2016 Friends & Volunteers Appreciation Pot Luck

by Stacy Iwanicki


Ingleside, IL
Volunteers Honored from Volo Bog State Natural Area, Moraine Hills State Park & McHenry Dam

On Thursday, December 8, Illinois Department of Natural Resources staff honored 124 volunteers who donated their services to Volo Bog State Natural Area, Moraine Hills State Park and McHenry Dam in 2016.  Together they contributed almost 6000 hours to these Illinois Department of Natural Resources sites!  

Special Recognition was given to Caryn McAndrews of Woodstock and Steve Domski of McHenry as Volunteers of the Year at Volo Bog State Natural Area and Moraine Hills State Park/McHenry Dam respectively.


Caryn McAndrews of Woodstock was named Volunteer of the Year for Volo Bog State Natural Area.  She began volunteering at Volo Bog in 2014 as a weekday Docent and Interpretive Office Support, greeting visitors in the Visitor Center on Thursdays and helping out in the Friends of Volo Bog’s Tamarack Shop.   She assists with a variety of projects in support of the site’s educational programs and special events including WinterFest, International Migratory Bird Days, International Bog Day and Ghost Stories.  Caryn is the woman in charge of sending out the weekly program announcements for Volo Bog SNA, Moraine Hills State Park & McHenry Dam. In 2015, Caryn joined the Friend of Volo Bog Board of Directors.  She currently serves as the scholarship coordinator and shares membership correspondence duties for the organization.  Caryn contributed 268 hours in 2016.
Steve Domski of McHenry was awarded Volunteer of the Year for Moraine Hills State 
Park & McHenry Dam.  He is a lead player in the Volunteer Veterans Conservation Corps at Moraine Hills State Park, McHenry Dam and Volo Bog State Natural Area.  The VVCC built over 100 new bird houses for the sites and most recently completed construction of a new information kiosk for MHSP’s Whitetail Prairie picnic area.  This winter, the VVCC will be making another new Kiosk – this one for the walk-in entrance to Moraine Hills State Park along River Road across from Miller Road.  Steve is also an integral member of the Run for the Hills steering committee, the Friends of Moraine Hills State Park’s major fund raiser each year.  Winter visitors will find Steve filling the site’s bird feeders, then in spring and fall will find him serving as a docent in the Nature Center.  Steve also assists with special events including International Migratory Bird Days, the FOMHSP Family Fishing Day and Discovery Archery.  Steve serves on the Friends of Moraine Hills State Park Board of Directors.  All these tasks add up with Steve contributing 252 volunteer hours in 2016.

Volunteer-of-the-Year plaques were presented to McAndrews and Domski by IDNR Site Superintendent Greg Kelly and Natural Resources Coordinator Stacy Iwanicki.  Each also received a Certificate of Appreciation and a Centurian Award Plaque which is presented to all volunteers contributing over 100 hours in a given year. 

Also receiving Centurian Award Plaques for contributing over 100 hours each in 2016:


Dave Albright of Crystal Lake
Kevin Click of Wonder Lake
Marie Corns of McHenry
Jerry Donahue of Fox Lake
Judi Downey of Round Lake Beach
Bill Ewert of Ingleside
John Fairgrieve of Hawthorn Woods
Crissy Geary of Ingleside
John Holmes of Lake Villa
Marilyn Huster of Libertyville 
Tom Kearns of McHenry
Michelle “Micki” Noble of McHenry
Robin Pollack of McHenry
Joan Proell of Wauconda
Tracy Rybski of Palatine
Bob Vetter of Grayslake
Neil Whitman of McHenry
Judy Wooderson of Crystal Lake

The following received Certificates of Appreciation for contributing 50 - 99 hours each to Volo Bog SNA, 
Moraine Hills State Park and/or McHenry Dam in 2016:


Julia & Nina Denne of Arlington Heights
Nancy Doughty of Barrington
C. C. Geist of Island Lake
Brian Gilbert of Lake Zurich
Barb Gosh of Ingleside
Doug Foland of McHenry
Andy Ftacek of Wauconda
Dan Haller of Pleasant Prairie, WI
Carol Howard of Cary
Michael Iwanicki of Wonder Lake
John Katzenmayer of Johnsburg
Nicole Kueppers of Lindenhurst
Esther Larson of McHenry
Tom McAndrews of Woodstock
Scott McMillion of Gurnee
Nancy & Randy Schietzelt of Crystal Lake
Ann Shanks of Grayslake
Jill Szywala of Hawthorn Woods
Barbara Zander of Mundelein

Twenty-eight additional volunteers received certificates for contributing between 25 - 49 hours each, with another 54 people offering their help on smaller (often one-time) projects.

Volunteers contribute in numerous ways to educational programming, public relations and habitat restoration at Volo Bog State Natural Area, Moraine Hills State Park and McHenry Dam.  Trained volunteer naturalists lead tours of Volo Bog for individuals and small groups on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. & 1 p.m.  Youth Program Naturalists lead environmental education programs including Bog Life tours.  About 3,000 school and youth group children are introduced to Volo Bog each year. 


Special events such as WinterFest, International Migratory Bird Days, Family Fishing Day, International Bog Day, Run for the Hills and Ghost Stories rely heavily on volunteers.  Volunteer Docents greet visitors in both sites’ Visitor Centers.  Members of McHenry County Audubon “wear two hats” leading Bird Walks at both Volo Bog & McHenry Dam.  Volunteers monitor bluebird trails and tend to demonstration Prairie & Woodland Gardens while the Habitat Restoration & Stewardship Team works to save native species in a variety of habitats at each site.  The Volunteer Veterans Conservation Corps took shape at Volo Bog State Natural Area and has branched out into Moraine Hills State Park.  The VVCC is a group of veterans from different generations and conflicts who come together around a common cause - protection and enhancement of the natural environment in Illinois. 


Many volunteers from the sites are also members of Friends of Volo Bog and/or Friends of Moraine Hills State Park, but membership is not required in order to volunteer for state Department of Natural Resources sites.  The Friends groups are each 501(c)(3) organizations that offer financial and volunteer support to their respective sites.  
Visit them at www.FriendsofVoloBog.org and www.FriendsofMoraineHillsStatePark.org 

Volo Bog State Natural Area is an Illinois Department of Natural Resources site located at 28478 W. Brandenburg Road in Ingleside, Illinois.  Visit https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/Parks/Pages/VoloBog.aspx .  For information on volunteering, contact Natural Resources Coordinator Stacy Iwanicki at 815‑344‑1294 ordnr.volobog@illinois.gov.


Moraine Hills State Park and McHenry Dam are Illinois Department of Natural Resources sites located south of McHenry on River Road between State Highways 120 and 176.  For information on volunteering at Moraine Hills and McHenry Dam, please use Volo Bog contact above.   For general information please phone Moraine Hills’ park offices at 815‑385‑1624 or visithttps://www.dnr.illinois.gov/Parks/Pages/MoraineHills.aspx.

Past Friends and Volunteers Appreciation Potluck