There's great news today for fans of Illinois' great outdoors - John Rogner, a career biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has been named Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
I've worked with John for many years, and he will be a tremendous asset to Marc Miller and Gov. Quinn as they go about rebuilding the IDNR. He is a scientist and career natural resources professional with a strong track record of building consensus for conservation among diverse stakeholders. For the past decade, he has chaired the Chicago Wilderness initiative, an award-winning effort to raise awareness and support for protecting the natural heritage of the greater Chicago region.
I expect that John will help strengthen the DNR in many important ways. He will reinvigorate relationships with federal agencies involved in protecting Illinois habitat, make it clear that science and professionalism are key principles, build trust with a wide range of DNR constituency groups, and bring state assistance and expertise to conservation projects in the Chicago region.
Congratulations to Gov. Quinn and Marc Miller for landing top talent here. The folks at IDNR who look after our forests, wetlands, prairies, and drinking water aren't out of the woods yet, as state budget pressures will likely make for hard choices for the foreseeable future. But John Rogner's appointment makes clear that there are better days ahead for the public servants who work there, and for all of us who benefit when they have the funding and direction to do their job well.