Commissioner Barbara O'Meara — District 5
Barbara O’Meara was elected to the Forest Preserve District board of commissioners in Nov. 2020.
She is a licensed environmental health practitioner with a 30-year career in the environmental health division of public health for the state of Illinois. She is an adjunct biology professor at Waubonsee Community College and a Naperville Public Library District board member.
A 20-year resident of DuPage County, O’Meara believes it’s important to bring people with science backgrounds and advanced science degrees to the Forest Preserve District board of commissioners.
“I bring a career in environmental health, a master’s degree in public health, and 12 years as an adjunct professor of biology,” O’Meara said. “I believe you need to elect people to fit the positions, and with a forest preserve position it should always be about preserving, protecting, and progressing.”
She also wants the Forest Preserve District to commit to solar, electric and wind power whenever possible within the preserves.
O’Meara believes climate change is the most important issue facing the Forest Preserve District and the world, and is responsible for an increase in invasive species and a large extinction of species in DuPage County and worldwide.
“We need to acknowledge this and take action because in 5, 10, or 20 years from now it will be too late,” she said.
She also wants to build more “land bridges” and “habitat corridors” to connect DuPage forest preserves and provide safe passage for native wildlife. She said it will also increase native wildlife populations by providing them with safe access to more animals.
She would like to utilize natural products like garlic to reduce the tick population in DuPage forest preserves, especially at the off-leash dog areas.
“By controlling a disease vector the forest preserve becomes more accessible to everyone,” O’Meara said. “Making things as safe as possible is a high priority.”
O’Meara lives in Naperville. She is married and has three children.
Years of service
Forest Preserve District Commissioner (Dec. 2020 – Present)