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On Friday April 17 Garfield Farm Museum will hold its annual awards ceremony at the Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne, IL with dinner at 6 pm and the program at 8 pm. Reservations for the evening should be made as soon as possible.

This year's awards recognize 3 organizations and 3 individuals for being good stewards of the historic and natural environments. Geoffrey Baer and WTTW 11 of Chicago, Grace and Sidney Hamper of Chicago, the Campton Cemetery Association, Richard Chapman of Apple River, IL and the Campton Township Highway District have been selected for the 2009 awards.

Saving or preserving history, nature or our agricultural bounty, often requires more than the initial effort of preservation. It typically requires long term stewardship and the 2009 award winners reflect just such a track record.

The Vanderpoel Art Association was founded in 1913 in memory of John H. Vanderpoel, an instructor at Chicagoís School of the Art Institute. Located in the Ridge Park Fieldhouse 96th Street & Longwood Drive, in Chicagoís Beverly neighborhood, it is one of the largest collections of American impressionism in the Midwest with over 600 pieces. Yet its surviving the vagaries of time has seen challenges of a lack of gallery space, damage from fire, times of improper storage, and erratic support from the public and private sectors. Sidney and Grace Hamper have for the last 20 years been the constant stewards and voices to keep this collection open and accessible to the public. Sometimes the efforts of just a few are so critical to preserve historic and natural resources until another era of more enlightened support comes forward. Because of their stewardship, the Hampers will be presented with a Historic Preservation Award.

Recognizing the need to reach out and partner with others of like interests has become more common in this era of tight economic resources. Yet over 16 years ago before necessity called for such steps, Richard Chapman and the late Francis Pfrank saw merit in holding the first ever public invited antique tool show and meet of the Midwest Tool Collectors Association and the Early American Industries Association at Garfield Farm Museum. With a love for hand tools that built America, Chapman has annually organized and conducted the Antique Tool Show at Garfield Farm Museum. His willingness to organize the show has made a whole new generation aware of the importance of hand tools and has brought new members to these organizations. His efforts will be recognized with a Historic Preservation Award.

When Sylvanus Burr died in 1846 his brother, Atwell, approached his neighbor, Timothy Garfield for a burying ground. Garfield selected a wooded rise overlooking the prairie just up from his house to establish Garfield Cemetery. In the 1850s, the nonprofit Campton Cemetery Association was formed to run this community cemetery. Containing some of the oldest gravesites and stones in Campton Township, the ravages of time took their toll on family plots whose lines had died out, whose descendants had moved away, leaving no one to tend these privately owned plots. In the 1990s, the leadership of Campton Cemetery Association decided to take responsibility for the history of the graveyard by compiling a better history of the families buried there and to care for and even restore stones ìorphanedî by the hand of time. Cemeteries are often the only record of a communityís history and its interconnections for future generations to discover. Recognizing this value beyond being a final resting place puts a greater responsibility on cemetery associations. For its efforts to preserve community history, a Historic Preservation Award will be given to the Campton Cemetery Association.

An Environmental Preservation Award will go to the Campton Township Highway District headed by Road Commissioner Sam Gallucci. For several years, Gallucci has sought to use an additive to the salt used to melt highway ice that would be safer for the environment and reduce costs. The greatest long term benefit is reducing contamination of our water supply. Excessive use of salt on winter roads is a recent practice yet one that is altering the habitat of our wetlands and rivers and ultimately will contaminate the groundwater used for potable water. Alternative methods with less environmental impact are needed and the highway departmentís efforts are a step in the right direction.

The final preservation award of 2009 goes to Geoffrey Baer and WTTW 11 for the television production of Baerís tours of the Chicago region. The award recognizes the series that focuses on the history, culture, and environment of the Chicago region. This series has created regional pride in communities that often did not realize the wonderful assets in their own backyard. The documentation of the cultural, historic and natural wealth of the region stimulates further investigation by the viewers to dig deeper and discover a sense of place that makes the region unique.

Garfield Farm Museum established these awards in 1989 to recognize groups and individuals who were making contributions to historic, environmental or agricultural preservation /education, three themes that the museum emphasizes. Advanced reservations and payment are required for the dinner which is $50 per person. Reservations can be made by calling 630 584-8485 or by emailing Garfield Farm Museum is the most historically intact former 1840s Illinois prairie farmstead and teamster inn that is being restored as an 1840s working farm. Tours are given year round by appointment.

For more information about Garfield Farm send an e-mail message to: or call 630/584-8485.