Someone to Know: Kendra Strubhart

Ever wonder who's behind the fascinating programs offered at Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook? Mayslake heritage interpreter Kendra Strubhart said she taps into her passion for making history fun for all when lining up programming at the historic Tudor Revival-style mansion. It helps that she’s a history buff, too, when planning programs in a registered national historic landmark. She credits her coworkers for making her job enjoyable every day.

She especially enjoys both the granular and the grandeur of nature on display in all DuPage Forest Preserves.   

What do you do at the Forest Preserve District? How do you see that role support the District?
As the heritage interpreter at Mayslake Peabody Estate, I am responsible for planning and executing the cultural and educational programs tied to Mayslake Peabody Estate. Our programs range from music concerts and theater performances, art classes and exhibits, history-based lectures, tours and first-person portrayals. I try to develop programs that give visitors the opportunity to be inspired by nature in unexpected ways and tie the history and culture of the historic estate to the natural world that the District works so hard to preserve and protect.

What did you study in college? How do you use that knowledge in your career?
I double majored in history and studio art and minored in Russian language. More specifically, I studied the way folk art techniques were used in early Soviet propaganda, which tied all three of my areas of study together. While I don’t focus on Soviet history or create art daily for the District, I still use the skills I learned in college in my career. I learned to examine historical information objectively and interpret it, and I use the artistic techniques I studied to develop fun programs. Unfortunately, I’ve lost most of my Russian due to lack of use. I can still manage to say hello and point people to the bathroom if needed, though. 

How do you use DuPage forest preserves?
I live all the way up in Morton Grove, so, sadly, I don’t get out into many of the preserves as often as I would like to. I do, however, love taking advantage of working in such a beautiful environment and try to get out on my lunch break as often as possible. I came to the District after working for several years in a small cubicle downtown, so the natural setting is a huge perk of the job!

What is your favorite preserve? Why?
Mayslake was the first DuPage County Forest Preserve I was exposed to and is a wonderful place to work, so it will always have a special place in my heart. I’m also a history nerd, though, so I really enjoy visiting Kline Creek Farm and St. James Farm

What makes you excited to go to work every day?
My co-workers are amazing. I have never worked with a group of people as enthusiastic about what they are doing or willing to dive in to get the job done (no matter how undesirable the task). They are also just really pleasant people who make coming to work and doing my job easier and more enjoyable.

What three words best describe you?
Perceptive, goofy and relaxed.

What inspires you in nature? Why do you like to share that with others?
The grandness and minuteness of nature is inspiring to me. Nature is everywhere, and yet, we often miss the small things taking place in nature every second of the day. It has been amazing to watch my daughter experience this for the first time. She sees a bug for the first time and an entirely new world opens up to her. Watching that makes me want to learn more about nature so I can answer her questions and foster her interest.

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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