Steve Barg, Executive Director
Before coming to JDCF in 2013, Steve lived and worked in northeastern Illinois nearly his entire life. Steve began his career in conservation in 1986 at the Heller Nature Center, serving first as a teaching naturalist, later as the center’s director. From 1998 to 2003, Steve served as the Director of Education for Lake Forest Open Lands Association, where he grew their environmental education program and helped open the Lockhart Family Nature Center. It was there that Steve became interested in the public benefits of private land conservation, and this led him to pursue work in non-profit land conservation and restoration.
For the past ten years, Steve served as the Executive Director of Conserve Lake County (formerly known as Liberty Prairie Conservancy). Steve helped grow the organization from a local advocacy focused on the Liberty Prairie Reserve to a county-wide land trust that protects and restores natural areas and farmland for the benefit of people and wildlife.
Steve and his wife Susan have been married for 30 years. Susan is a licensed massage therapist and triathlete. They have a college-age daughter, Hannah, and together they enjoy camping, canoeing, bicycling, and spending time with their golden retriever, Glenna.
Christie Trifone-Simon, Associate Director
Christie Trifone-Simon joined JDCF in 2007, coming to the Foundation with a flavored background and experience base, having offered service to Iowa DNR (Parks and Fisheries), Army Corp of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a Soil and Water Conservation District in Minnesota, and the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.
For JDCF, Christie develops and administers a plan that interacts and builds relationships with donors. She works to increase the assets of the Foundation by conducting special events, securing business partnerships, and acquiring in-kind gifts that meet the needs of the Foundation. Christie enjoys spending her spare time with her family and loves to hike, bike, camp, fish, garden, and bake goodies!
Jim Johannsen, Director of Land Conservation
In the summer of 2012, Jim Johannsen joined the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation as its new Land Protection Specialist. Jim works with JDCF staff, volunteers, and local landowners to establish new protected natural areas and ensure that the natural and scenic treasures of Jo Daviess County are here to enjoy for generations to come.
Jim graduated from Augustana College in 2011 with degrees in English and religion. Before coming to JDCF, Jim spent five years as an environmental educator at the Atwood Environmental Center. He later worked as Assistant to the Director at the Natural Land Institute in Rockford, Illinois, where he worked on conservation easements and other land protection projects. He is a founding board member and the first president of Friends of the Kishwaukee River, a citizens’ group dedicated to the preservation and safe use of the Kishwaukee River in Winnebago County. He spends his spare time reading, canoeing, writing, and gardening.
Justin Dillard, Land Stewardship Manager
Justin was born and raised in small-town Goodfield, Illinois. He has a B.S. in biology from Eureka College and a M.S. in biology from Illinois State. Justin’s work experiences include the Shedd Aquarium and Sea Life Park in Waimanalo, Hawaii. Most recently, he came from a residency at the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission where he helped develop site protection proposals, conducted site surveillance visits, and evaluated natural areas among many other things. Justin married his college sweetheart almost 5 years ago and they have a 3 year old daughter. His hobbies include watching and playing hockey and soccer, computers, and spending time with his little family.
Lindsay Foy, Education & Outreach Manager
Raised in Monroe, WI, Lindsay returned to the area in 2012 after working and attending college in northern California. She joined JDCF in January of 2015, and plays a role in planning and organizing events, educational programming, and other public outreach efforts.
Lindsay earned her degree in Anthropology with a Rangeland Resource Science minor from Humboldt State University, and continued taking courses in GIS and historic preservation to expand her skill set. She has cultivated a broad background in the natural and cultural resource management fields, including a variety of educational and outreach programs and fieldwork in archaeology, land stewardship, and stream monitoring. Her experiences and education ignited a passion for the protection, appreciation and community-based management of our shared resources. In her spare time, Lindsay enjoys gathering with friends and family, traveling, camping, hiking, canoeing and artistic endeavors.
Tyler Hesselbacher, Park Maintenance Staff
Tyler was born and raised in Apple River on small family beef farm. He graduated from Warren High School in 2011 then went on to Highland Community College for 2 years and Northeast Iowa Community College for 1 year, both for engine repair. Tyler married Mallory, a small town girl from Stockton, in the fall of 2016. “I have always enjoyed being outside and working with my hands. The small family farm is a place I love to go even if its just to hangout with family or helping with chores. My hobbies include playing videogames, doodling, spending time with my wife, and of course being at the farm.”
Deb Kelly, Director of Communications
Deb Kelly joined JDCF in early 2008 following many years with the Equine Land Conservation Resource as the Director of Equestrian Partnership. She oversees the production of all printed and electronic communications—newsletters, press releases, informational brochures, and specialized reports. She is also the administrator of this website.
A graduate of Macalester College, Deb has lived in Jo Daviess County for over 20 years. When not in the office, she teaches riding lessons for a variety of clients. She lives at home with her husband Mike, Patches the cat, basset hounds Barney, Bosley, and Marilyn, and five retired horses. She also has a new OTTB, Figs.
Shauna McLane, Bookkeeper/Executive Assistant
Shauna McLane, born and raised in Elizabeth, Illinois, joined the staff in the fall of 2012. After going to school and working in Wisconsin, she moved back to Elizabeth with her husband, Dustin, who is also originally from Elizabeth. She has worked for a wide range of businesses—from a small, family-owned general contractor to a nationwide food distributor. She started her career as an administrative assistant and worked her way up to finance manager of a government contractor.
Shauna enjoys playing volleyball, hiking, camping, traveling, and spending time with her husband, their two children, and two dogs.