Board of Directors

Frances Rivoire, President

Frances Rivoire

Frances recently retired from a long career in Fortune 500 Corporate Sales in Information Systems areas. Her field was Data Protection, Data Security, Expert Systems and analysis. But even before retiring, she and her husband Bob both found niches at JDCF when they moved to the Driftless Area in 2007. Frances credits the Conservation Foundation and the Guardians with being their initial resource for information as new residents. Having had an award-winning perennial garden back in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, she was delighted to be able to turn to a whole new level of “gardening” in 2008 by eliminating 22,000 square feet of formerly mowed lawn and recreating a shortgrass prairie and a small savanna at her home in the Galena area. Getting acquainted with JDCF and our members was easy for Frances and Bob as they attended a JDCF-sponsored seminar in 2008 in Elizabeth, Illinois, to learn about bluebirds, and more than once went on the Frog Walk and the Spring Wildflower Walk at Schurmeier led by then-Director of Public Lands, Christie Trifone. They paddled their canoe on the Galena River to work at River Clean-Up Day, attended Green Fairs and Green Fair Fares, seminars on invasive plants and attended and contributed to the Annual Guardian’s Dinner and Auction at the Patinkin Barn.

Being so involved with JDCF from the classroom to the field, as a contributor and as a fundraiser, serving on the JDCF Board of Directors will provide an excellent channel for Frances’s efforts and benefit JDCF in all her areas of interest. Having watched the JDCF grow since her first meetings with us in the fall of 2007, and having witnessed the always-improving professional level of our organization, the tremendous growth and maturity we have achieved, and the significant accomplishments of the JDCF, she has accepted the challenging position as President of the JDCF Board of Directors.

Fran Peterson, Vice President

Fran Peterson

Fran Peterson

Fran was born and raised in Decatur, Illinois. She graduated from Millikin University, then worked for Archer Daniels Midland as an accounting manager. She was married to Dick Peterson for almost 45 years before his passing in 2012. Fran has two fabulous daughters and four fantastic grandchildren who all live in the Midwest. She and Dick both lived in Decatur all of their lives until they moved to Galena, whereupon they almost immediately became involved with the Guardians and the Conservation Foundation. The beauty of the region was so different from central Illinois, and they both loved it and wanted to do what they could to preserve and protect it. Fran feels strongly that educating children to feel the same way is essential to the future of our natural community, and says that the Conservation Foundation does this so well.

Christine Larson, Treasurer

Chris Larson

Christine Larson is semi-retired and actively involved in not-for profit, conservation-oriented work. From 2006 through 2008, she served as Executive Director of the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation, and is presently Treasurer and a board member of that organization. She brings over 20 years of corporate experience in marketing, business development and management. Her for-profit corporate life ended in 2006 with CCC Information Services, Inc., a software services firm, where she was Director of Operations for four years. The majority of Chris’ career includes executive and management positions with such telecom and technology companies as Ameritech, Motorola and AT&T. Larson holds a Masters in Management from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Bret Johnson, Secretary

Bret Johnson

Bret Johnson

Originally from Naperville, IL, Bret moved to Galena when he was in grade school. After graduating from Galena High School in 2003, he attended Western Illinois University and earned degrees in finance and economics. While at Western, he also played for the Leatherneck baseball team and interned at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. After college, Bret worked for Galena State Bank/Heartland Financial while earning an MBA from the University of Dubuque in their graduate night program. Bret now works as a financial consultant for Long, Snell, & Johnson; an independent wealth management group with offices in Bellevue, Maquoketa, and Dubuque, Iowa.

Brett recently built a house in the Galena Territory and thoroughly enjoys the area and all its amenities.  He enjoys golfing, fishing, reading, following sports (especially Purdue athletics), and being around friends and family.  “I am very excited about joining JDCF and doing all I can to help maintain the pristine environment I was so fortunate to grow up in.”

 Barbara Baird

Barbara Baird

Barbara Baird

Following a land surveyor internship in 1967, Barbara became active in this profession for over 30 years, retiring from land surveying in 2003. She was a licensed surveyor for the States of Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. She also founded Baird & Company as Principal and President in 1977 and Baird Land Surveyors Ltd. in 1984, with clients including Illinois Department of Transportation, City of Chicago, Forest Preserve District of Will County, Chicago Transit Authority, METRA, Pace, and Ameritech, and services including ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys, Land Acquisition, Topographic Surveys, Railroads/Bridges/Commercial and Residential Boundary Surveys. She commenced with freelance art and photography, and founded In Touch with Nature in Galena, Illinois, in 2005. Barbara joined the JDCF Board in 2008.

 Lois Gordon

Lois Gordon

Lois Gordon

Lois received a B.S. in Education, Northern Illinois University (NIU), DeKalb, IL, an M.S. in Education, NIU, and a Masters in Public Administration, NIU. She attended Executive Development School, University of Indiana, Bloomington, IN and Revenue Resource Management, University of North Carolina. Her professional experience includes Physical Education Teacher, Director of P.E. and Coach, in IL, NY, and Japan, Executive Director of the Glen Ellyn, IL Park District, Carol Stream Park District Project Manager & Planner, and Park District Consultant for Long Range Planning, Financial

Management & Grant Writing. Her community service, in addition to serving on JDCF’s board, includes Elected Park Commissioner Wheaton IL, Board Director for Western DuPage Recreation Association, DuPage Conservation Foundation, Greenway Committee, Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC), League of Women Voters, Wheaton, Glen Ellyn Rotary, Glen Ellyn, IL, Friends of the Library, Galena, IL, Former Habitat for Humanity in Galena, IL, Long Range Planning Committee, Galena Territory Association (GTA), and Architectural Review Committee, GTA.

Susan McDonald

Susan McDonald

Susan McDonald

Susan McDonald grew up in a farming community in Iroquois county and now resides in Palatine IL. She has had a second residence in Apple Canyon Lake for over twenty-five years where she developed a great affection for this unique and beautiful area of Illinois.  She has been in marketing and sales for the last thirty years.  In this capacity, she oversees a geographical sales area, manages sales reps and support staff, and is a part of a management team.  She continues to work as Regional Sales Manager for Inteplast. With her background in sales and marketing along with her interest in the preservation of Daviess County, Susan is interested in contributing in the areas of fundraising, membership and general awareness of JDCF.

Josh Miller

Josh Miller

Josh Miller

I grew up in the Jo Daviess County countryside near Hanover.  As a child, and now as an adult, I enjoyed hunting on our family farm and fishing the local lakes and rivers.  I graduated from River Ridge high school and then earned my Accounting degrees at the University of Illinois and Western Illinois University.  My wife Paige and I make our home outside of East Dubuque and are expecting our first child in July.  Professionally, I am a CPA and currently work as a tax accountant for RSM in Dubuque.  I greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve with JDCF and hope to help preserve the great outdoors and educate others how best to do so.

Emily Painter

Emily Painter

Emily Painter

I was raised in Champaign-Urbana, IL where my father was a professor of plant physiology and the head of the botany department. I heard a lot about plant mitochondria at the dinner table. In high school I worked a part-time job at a horticulture lab, mincing corn roots and mixing chemical solutions. My husband, Gregg, and I met in high school, married in college and finished our degrees at the University of Illinois in Chicago. We discovered Galena in 1971 and moved here in 1972. We were charmed by Galena’s history and beautiful architecture. We were also captivated by the rolling hills of Jo Daviess County –quite different from the flat parts of IL we had known! We continued to explore and enjoy the outdoors as we raised our family.  I was active in the acquisition and development of the Gateway and Horseshoe Mound properties. I am honored to be a part of the JDCF board and continue to contribute to JDCF’s great legacy.

Jim Rachuy

Jim Rachuy

Jim Rachuy

Jim is a grassland ecologist, computer scientist, and retired professor. He is a graduate of Stockton High School and lives there with his wife Ulrike. His interests include botany, Drupal, nature photography, and space operas.

Celestino Ruffini

Celestino12-web

Celestino Ruffini

Celestino is originally from Decatur, Illinois. He graduated from the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He completed graduate studies at the same school with a focus on technology services at outdoor, urban and historical attractions and destinations.

Currently, he is the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau. In that position, he is responsible for attracting meetings, motor coaches, and sporting events to the area. He also handles all of the leisure marketing aspects of the destination, including media relations, advertising, business partnerships, printed materials, Web sites, and social media channels.

Celestino is passionate about family, friends, volunteering, food and beverage, meteorology, customer service, and traveling. Because of his own passion for land protection and conservation education, he looks forward to contributing his knowledge and expertise to the JDCF Board of Directors to ensure the organization’s vitality for generations to come.

Carl R. “Skip” Schwerdtfeger

Carl R. “Skip” Schwerdtfeger

Carl R. “Skip” Schwerdtfeger

Skip received his B.A. from McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinois. He majored in History with an emphasis on military history, and minored in Sociology and Political Science. He received his M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. His Master’s research was on the Black Hawk War.

In 1968, Skip purchased (as part of a partnership), organized and managed Hickory Ridge Ranch, a 275-acre cow-calf and Morgan Horse farm north of Elizabeth, Illinois. In 1989 he, with his wife and partner, formed the Old Northwest Land Co., which grew to over 30 agents. In 2005 they sold the Old Northwest Land Company although they continue to be licensed there.

Currently, Skip is President of the Apple River Fort Historical Foundation, Inc.; President of the Upper Mississippi International Port Authority; President of the In-House Investment Group, Inc.; Managing Partner of SCS Homes, LLC; Partner in Savanna Portland, LLC; and Chairman of the Administrative Council of First United Methodist Church of Elizabeth. As he puts it, “I have always believed in the can-do approach to life. It has led to tremendous challenges and satisfactions. In whatever I have achieved, individually and as a family member, I have pursued integrity, achievement and contribution as the measurements of success.”

Bob Wehrle

Bob Wehrle

Bob Wehrle

“I’m a native Illinoisan and have been a Jo Daviess County property owner for 40+ years and resident for 25+ years.  I spent my 32-year career as a petroleum engineer and manager in the international oil business, living in South America, the Middle East, and Europe as well as the U.S.  After early retirement, I taught MBA courses as a visiting and adjunct professor for 10+ years.  Locally, I have been involved with the Prairie Enthusiasts, Guardians, and JDCF.  I have also served on the LRA, CVB, and other non-profit boards as well as being active in the Galena Rotary Club.  I fully support JDCF’s mission of preserving our land in this beautiful corner of Northwest Illinois for future generations.”

Upcoming Events

Fire & Ice: Bonfire on the Bluff

January 28 @ 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve

JDCF and Fever River Outfitters invite you and your entire family to Casper Bluff for a great outdoor adventure. Luminarias will guide you to the Thunderbird effigy and several large bonfires.  Live owls from the Northern IL Raptor Rehab Center will join us for a meet and greet at 4:30, weather permitting.  If there is […] Read More

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The Prairie Enthusiasts 2017 Annual Conference

March 4
Eagle Ridge Inn & Spa

JDCF is co-hosting this annual, one-day conference with the Northwest Illinois Prairie Enthusiasts.  The theme will be Landscapes of the Future: Challenges & Opportunities. Two keynote speakers will be Jeff Walk of The Nature Conservancy, speaking on “Climate Change & Habitat Preservation & Restoration” and Bob Palmer of the Effigy Mounds National Monument, speaking on “Fertile Ground […] Read More

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Popcorn & Program: FIRE, the Science of Prairie Restoration Burns

March 18 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
GTA Owners Club

Learn about the important role fire plays in the prairie ecosystem from our own Director of Land Stewardship, Ryan Getz. This “Popcorn & Program” is at the Galena Territory Association on Saturday, March 18 at 6:30 PM with the program beginning at 7:00 PM. As a follow up, all are welcome to come out in April […] Read More

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JDCF Annual Meeting

April 1 @ 4:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Chestnut Mountain Resort

Join fellow JDCF members and our guest speaker, botanical artist, George Olson, at our annual meeting.  Mr. Olson will have some of his work on site.  We will also be honoring John & Barbara Rutherford as recipients of the 2017 Nancy Hamill Winter Conservation Leadership Award.

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