Someone to Know: Keith McClow

What do you do at the Forest Preserve District? How do you see that role support the District?
I am the manager of heritage education and I help the district tell the story of the land. Much of the land owned by the Forest Preserve District was shaped by natural forces but also by people. You can see it as many preserves are named after the farm families that lived and worked that land. I help tell the story of our agricultural heritage by making Kline Creek Farm live as an 1890s farm so the people of DuPage County can experience the past and the story of the land that makes up DuPage County.

To date, what has been the best (or most interesting) part of your job at the Forest Preserve District?
Interacting with visitors is always the best part of my job. People come to Kline Creek Farm for many reasons, but I am sure most do not think they are coming to gain a perspective on their own lives. A young visitor, while touring the farmhouse, observed to her mother, “They do not have a garbage can in the bedroom.” She gained a new perspective about how in the past things lasted for a long time and had multiple uses, in contrast to today’s throwaway culture.

What did you study in college? How do you use that knowledge in your career?
I have a bachelor's degree in business management and a masters degree in historical administration. This training taught management and how to treat our heritage. Our heritage belongs to all of us. It helps us understand where we come from and if it is not cared for it can be lost.

What experience do you bring to your position with the District?
I bring 30 years’ management experience including for-profit businesses, not-for-profit museums and government.

What would you like DuPage County residents and forest preserve visitors to know about our natural areas and resources?
The natural resources we have in DuPage County are amazing and offer excellent educational and recreational opportunities. Get outside and go camping at Blackwell, see the fall colors at Herrick Lake, canoe on the DuPage River, visit a nature center, take your dog for a walk, fly a model airplane and above all go see the farmers at Kline Creek Farm.

How do you see your department working with others at the District?
My department is on the front line making sure visitors enjoy their visit to Kline Creek Farm, but there is a lot of work going on that visitors never see. We need help maintaining the buildings, marketing the programs, keeping the vehicles running and much more. Visitors benefit from the work of the whole District when they come for a visit.

How do you use DuPage forest preserves?
I have hiked or ridden by bike on almost all of the District trails. I have paddled my canoe on many forest preserve lakes. I have taken my children to all of the education centers.

What is your favorite preserve?
Churchill Woods, because I can walk to it from my house.

Why do you enjoy working for the Forest Preserve District?
It gives me a chance to share my love of history with visitors.

What are your personal interests? Do you have any nature-related hobbies?
I love to canoe and camp.

What do you like to do in your time away from work?
For the last 13 years, I have been enjoying being a dad of twins, and they take up a lot of my time.

How do you make a difference in DuPage County?
Our county has changed over the past 150 years and I give visitors a chance to gain a perspective on that change. I hope they use what they learn from our heritage to make good decisions about our future.

What’s your favorite forest preserve animal? Why?
Cows because they are very gentle.

What question do patrons ask you most? What is your answer?
It is a toss-up between “Are you Amish?” and “Where is the bathroom?”

What question hasn’t been asked of you, and why is that important?
I have been asked a lot of questions and in a lot of languages and by people aged 2 to 102. I cannot think of a question that has not been asked yet.

What’s your favorite season in DuPage forest preserves?
All the seasons are important and lead into the next. It is a modern luxury to look at seasons one at a time. One hundred years ago, people had work to do in each season so the next season would be successful. People had a different relationship with the weather, one that few people understand today.

What do you want others to know about you?
I pick up garbage wherever I go.

What three words best describe you?
I have dyslexia and am not good with words.

What inspires you in nature? Why do you like to share that with others?
I like to canoe in wilderness areas and I like to see the religious symbols or pictographs left behind by the people who lived there hundreds of years ago. I do not know the religious significance of the symbols as they were left by another culture, but seeing a 400-year-old hand print lets me know they were there. I hope the heritage that I am working to preserve can have an impact 400 years from now.

Someone to Know: Willowbrook Volunteer Vanessa Galt

Meet Vanessa Galt, an animal care volunteer at the District's Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn.

Someone to Know: Volunteer Bob Young

Bob Young combines his love for nature and the water with volunteering for the District.

Someone to Know: Kline Creek Farm Volunteer Linda Frey

Linda Frey is a domestic arts interpreter for Kline Creek Farm, where she gets to bring history to life for visitors.

Someone to Know: Keith McClow

Keith McClow brings history to life as heritage education manager for the District.

Someone to Know: Dan Hebreard

District ranger loves sharing his passion for nature with visitors.

Someone to Know: Wayne Zaininger

As site manager for Danada Equestrian Center in Wheaton and St. James Farm in Warrenville, Zaininger's work is centered on horses and the people who care for them.

Someone to Know: District Ecologist Dan Thompson

District ecologist has the perfect job to feed his love of nature and wildlife.

Someone to Know: Fullersburg Woods Volunteer Joan Schultheis

Retired teacher taps her love of nature at Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center.

Someone to Know: Wayne Hill

Wayne Hill gets to step back in time in his role as heritage interpreter at Kline Creek Farm, an 1890s living history farm in West Chicago.

Someone to Know: Mark Dyer

Mayslake Community Outreach Specialist Mark Dyer wears many hats while helping ensure the numerous nature and cultural programs run smoothly at the Oak Brook estate.

Someone to Know: Austin Kopp

Golf Services Supervisor Austin Kopp makes sure every trip to the District's three golf course is on par with customer's expectations.

Someone to Know: Leigh Korreck

Willowbrook naturalist Leigh Korreck loves being able to connect people to nature and help them learn how to live in harmony with native wildlife in DuPage County.

Someone to Know: Dennis Buck

How would you like stepping back into a different century every day at work? That's what Kline Creek Farm heritage interpreter Dennis Buck does each day.

Someone to Know: Kim Riehm

From taking calls to reserving a picnic shelter to answering questions about forest preserves, no two days are alike for Visitors Services staff assistant Kim Riehm. And she wouldn't have it any other way.

Someone to Know: Cindy Hedges

Cindy Hedges is all about connecting people to nature in her role as stewardship program coordinator. She also oversees the District's volunteer monitoring programs and the Native Plant Nursery at Blackwell Forest Preserve.

Someone to Know: Kendra Strubhart

As Mayslake's heritage interpreter, Kendra Strubhart is responsible for programming at the historic Oak Brook mansion.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Chris Aquino

When he's not teaching cinema studies at Wheaton Warrenville South High School, he's helping folks hone their photography skills at Mayslake Peabody Estate.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Fred Drury

Award-winning photographer Fred Drury brings his 50-plus years of photography expertise to you through his photography classes at Mayslake Peabody Estate.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Hank Erdmann

Hank Erdmann specializes in nature photography, especially in the midwest. His primary areas of interest include midwestern prairies and hardwood forests.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Will Clay

Will Clay's photography has been published in nine books and numerous natioanl publications, and now he brings his photographic expertise to you through his photography classes at Mayslake Peabody Estate.

Someone to Know: Eric Poggenburg

No two days are alike for ranger Eric Poggenburg, who enjoys connecting to nature even on his days off.

Someone to Know: Dr. Jennifer Nevis

Willowbrook staff veterinarian fuels her passion for animals and mentoring.

Someone to Know: Nikki Dahlin

District naturalist Nikki Dahlin's love of bugs may have started by accident, but it's been fueled by passion.

Someone to Know: David Sima

Senior ranger David Sima leads programs that teach skills for enjoying the great outdoors.

Someone to Know: Stephanie Touzalin

Wildlife enthusiast and artist Stephanie Touzalin is a naturalist at Willowbrook.

Someone to Know: Ron Skleney

Naturalist Ron Skleney loves birds and heads up our raptor program at Willowbrook Wildlife Center.

Someone to Know: Natural Resources and Grounds Management Crews

Our crews manage invasive and nonnative vegetation over the coldest months of the year.

Someone to Know: Chris Gingrich

Get to know Education Outreach Specialist Chris Gingrich.

Someone to Know: Marty Jandura

Ranger Marty Jandura is an avid fisherman and offers up some fishing tips.

Someone to Know

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