Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Class of 2009 Announced

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William Guerrini, Don Hankla, Dwight Hoffard, and George Rabb to be honored next February 28

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – Four Illinoisans with decades of dedication to enhancing outdoor recreation and natural resources protection in the state have been selected for induction into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame.

William Guerrini, the late Don Hankla, Dwight Hoffard, and Dr. George Rabb have been selected for the hall of fame from among dozens of nominees submitted by citizens from throughout Illinois.  The four conservation leaders will be inducted into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Illinois Conservation Foundation’s annual Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet to be held next February 28 at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main Street, St. Charles.

“These men have set the standard for helping others enjoy outdoor Illinois and to appreciate all the natural wonders of our state,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Acting Director Sam Flood, who serves as the chairman of the board of directors of the Illinois Conservation Foundation.  “The Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame honors the ‘best of the best’ each year, and the inductions of Bill Guerrini, Don Hankla, Dwight Hoffard, and George Rabb will help inspire all of us to be good stewards of our natural resources.”

“Induction into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame recognizes commitment to making our state a better place to live for Illinois citizens, visitors, and for future generations,” said Greg Legan, executive director of the Illinois Conservation Foundation.  “We are very pleased to add these four dedicated conservationists to the roster of distinguished Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame members.”

Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Class of 2009 AnnouncedThe Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Class of 2009

William H. Guerrini, Spring Valley
A lifelong advocate for outdoor recreation in Illinois, Bill Guerrini served as one of the state’s first volunteer Hunter Safety Education course instructors in the 1970s.  A long time educator and coach, Bill is the founder of the Spring Valley Walleye Club and helped bring the successful Master’s Walleye Circuit professional fishing tournament to Illinois in 1987.  The tournament has served as an outstanding promotion for the Illinois River walleye and sauger fishery for more than 20 years.  Bill Guerrini also promotes youth fishing events and boating in north-central Illinois. 

Don Hankla, Anna
The late Don Hankla was a long time sportsman, conservationist, and advocate for natural resources conservation in Illinois.  The Anna native retired in 1987 after a distinguished career as a wildlife biologist and researcher with the North Carolina Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  After retiring, Don Hankla dedicated his volunteer efforts to conservation stewardship in the Cache River watershed in southern Illinois.   Don chaired the interagency Cache River watershed planning initiative and helped develop the local Cache River Ecosystem Partnership and the Friends of the Cache River Watershed, promoting watershed protection projects throughout the Cache River basin.  Don Hankla passed away in April 2007.

Dwight Hoffard, Johnston City
For more than 20 years, Dwight Hoffard has been the driving force behind the success of the Southern Illinois National Hunting and Fishing Days festival on the campus of John A. Logan College in Carterville, chairing the event for the past 15 years.   Dwight is also a tireless volunteer in promoting outdoor recreation safety, serving as an IDNR Master Hunting Safety Education Instructor, Master Boating Safety Instructor, wingshooting instructor, and National Sporting Clays Association Youth Shooting Instructor.  Dwight Hoffard is also a founder of the Youth Outdoor Education Foundation, the Southern Illinois Boat and Fishing Show, Friends of Crab Orchard, and the Midwest Bass Classic fishing tournament.   

Brookfield, Illinois Zoo Main GateDr. George B. Rabb, Brookfield
George Rabb, president emeritus of the Chicago Zoological Society, is a dedicated conservationist known internationally for implementing programs focused on conservation research and education.  During a 47-year career at the Brookfield Zoo, George Rabb transformed the zoo to promote a concern for the natural world and conservation ethic among the facility’s millions of visitors.  Dr. Rabb has also dedicated volunteer leadership to promoting natural resources conservation as a member and chairman of the Board of the Illinois State Museum.  Among his many professional associations, Dr. Rabb served as chairman of the Species Survival Commission of the World Conservation Union, helping develop conservation action plans intended to stem the decline in amphibians. 
In addition to the induction ceremony for the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame, the banquet next February 28 will also include presentations of the Illinois Conservation Foundation’s annual Conservation Youth Achievement Scholarships.  Ten students will each receive $1,000 scholarships for their achievements in natural resources stewardship.  Nomination forms for the scholarship program are available on the ICF web site at  The deadline to submit nominations for the scholarships is December 1.

Proceeds from the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet assist in funding the youth scholarships and the popular ICF grant program, supporting natural resource protection, environmental enhancement, and education projects statewide.

For more information on the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet on February 28, 2009 at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, contact Greg Legan, Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271, phone 217/785-2003, or check the ICF web site at

The ICF is an IRS 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit corporation established in 1995 to support the programs of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.