News from Garfield Farm

Return to News Index | Garfield Farm Home

COMMUNITIES FEATURED: Barrington, Naperville, Campton Hills, Greenview, IL Monkton, MD

2013 Garfield Farm Museum Awards Dinner April 27

CAMPTON HILLS, IL:  On April 27, Saturday at 8:00 pm, Garfield Farm Museum will hold its 25th annual Garfield Farm Museum Awards for historic, agricultural, and environmental preservation at the Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne, IL. These awards recognize individuals and groups whose efforts parallel the museum’s three themes: history, farming and the environment.

      Mark Spreyer and the Stillman Nature Center of South Barrington, IL and Jack Shouba of Campton Hills, IL will receive Environmental Preservation Awards.  Peggy Frank of Naper Settlement, Naperville, IL, and the 19th-century American Women blog by Barbara Wells Sarudy of Monkton, MD are the winners of the Historic Preservation Awards. The Historic Marbold Farm Association of Greenview, IL will be recognized with an Agricultural Preservation Award.

      Though there is much talk about preserving America’s values and resources, these individuals and groups have taken exceptional action, even making lifetime commitments benefiting present and future generations. The founders and governing boards of Garfield Farm Museum highly value and understand such efforts that the public oft times does not realize.  The awards are intended to recognize such work and to shine a spotlight on them as role models for others to emulate in their communities. It is easy to assume someone or the government will step forward to help preserve a piece of farmland, or give their property for a nature sanctuary or rescue a piece of America’s heritage from destruction but in reality more is lost than preserved for future generations. The actions groups or individuals who determine and recognize it is up to them or nothing will be done, are the true hallmarks of the American spirit. In an era where much is focused on self interest, these individuals and organizations go against the grain, inspired for the present day and the future common good.

      It began in 1984 with Alexander Stillman’s gift of his 80 acre estate that became the nonprofit Stillman Nature Center in South Barrington, IL.  Since the initial bequest, dedicated volunteers have worked to present the site as an environmental education center raising funds and laboring to improve wildlife habitat.  The Center has also provided refuge for injured birds of prey that can no longer survive in the wild. One of its founding board members, Mark Spreyer, helped establish the peregrine falcon’s return to Chicago in the 1980s. After working in Minnesota, Spreyer returned in 1995 to become the first executive director of Stillman.  His determined dedication to the success of Stillman and his great enthusiasm to educate the public, best represents what so many non profits depend upon, hours of labor that fit no job description and go beyond any 40 hour work week. Stillman Nature Center and Mark Spreyer both deserve Garfield Farm Museum’s Environmental Preservation Award.

       The constancy of effort is also noted with Jack Shouba’s long dedication as a volunteer to preserving the environment. As a native of rural Sugar Grove, his teaching career took him to the near west suburbs. In Westchester, IL a unique remnant of prairie had survived the heated speculation of the 1920s real estate boom. Although sidewalks were laid and roadways graded, the land was never developed resulting in a remnant prairie surviving. Jack Shouba a biology and chemistry instructor at Lyons Township High School in Western Springs, Illinois back in 1974 organized students and citizens to save the now famous Wolf  Road Prairie. Moving back to Kane County, Jack immediately became involved with his subdivision’s marsh and with Campton Township’s Open Space Program, putting in many volunteer hours.  His personal commitment to Environmental Preservation is a role model Garfield Farm Museum salutes.

     Constancy is a big factor in the success of many non profit efforts. Peggy Frank, now retiring after 33 years certainly has been the face of Naper Settlement in Naperville, IL.  As the first hired professional for Naper Settlement in 1979, Peggy has been a guiding force in the preservation and restoration of the Settlement’s buildings while creating the necessary infrastructure to care and protect the historic collections. Successfully dealing with volunteers, city officials, business people, and museum supporters, Peggy is in the unusual situation of being second only to the founder of Naper Settlement, Jane Sindt, in leaving a lasting mark on the community’s preservation of its history.  Frank will receive a Garfield Farm Museum Historic Preservation award.

      Although many of the pre-desk top computer set may look upon the internet as a tool that is marginally valuable when it comes to in depth credible research, a member of just such a generation is proving the opposite. With her career including 10 years as Director of Maryland Humanities Council and 5 years as Acting Director & Administrative Director Maryland Historical Society, Barbara Wells Sarudy of Monkton, MD in retirement, has demonstrated how an internet blog can be a significant research tool. Her 19th-century American Women blog ( is an excellent example of pulling famous and lesser known artwork and early photography together to illustrate daily life of American women from 120 or more years ago. Evidence of how chores appeared, how rooms were furnished, how people dressed, what cultural landscapes looked like can be found in her blog that goes beyond just women’s history.  For interpreting and portraying historic periods, a challenge to any museum, here are historic sources that cannot be seen together in any other place. In addition, she has four other blogs including 17th and 18th century women and her specialty, Early American Gardens.  Such creative use of the internet to advance historic interpretation warrants a Garfield Farm Museum Historic Preservation Award.

     Deciding into which category awardees fall can be challenging. The efforts to preserve the Marbold house, once a prairie palace in Greenview, IL west of Springfield, certainly involve historic preservation.  Yet the intention of the Historic Marbold Farmstead Association members is to bring to the immediate Land of Lincoln neighborhood, the story of the great agriculture that sustains Illinois and so many mouths around the world. Marbold was a very successful farm that grew to 4000 acres. It reflects that magnitude that farming was having in Illinois’ first century. This story is not well told and the efforts of the volunteers to save this rural community’s farming heritage merits an Agricultural Preservation award.

      The evening begins with a reception and dinner at 6:00 pm. Dinner is $50 per person. Reservations are required and can be made by contacting the museum at (630) 584-8485 or Garfield Farm Museum is located 5 miles west of Geneva, IL, off of Illinois Rt. 38 on Garfield Road. Garfield Farm is a former historically intact 1840s prairie farmstead and teamster inn that is being restored as a working 1840s farm. The project depends entirely on donations from individuals and businesses.


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