Long-time SG resident, naturalist will serve on Park District Board

By on May 22, 2009

by Susan O’Neill
Former St. Charles Park District naturalist and Kane County Plan Commission Chairman Mary Ochsenschlager will join the Sugar Grove Park District Board in June. Ochsenschlager, who has lived in Sugar Grove for 34 years, said she looks forward to being able to contribute in her own community.

Ochsenschlager, who retired two years ago, said she joined the Kane County Plan Commission in 1980 because she came to realize how important land use decisions were to the environment, and how important the people who make those decisions are.

“It gave me a chance to learn and perhaps to have some sort of an impact, to help both land protection and development be more compatible,” she said.

Although her work on the Plan Commission came to an end in 2007, Ochsenschlager continued her stewardship of the land through serving on the Kane-DuPage Soil and Water Conservation District Board, an entity involved in erosion control and helping to set policy for the district.

She teaches classes for Master Naturalist certification in a program co-sponsored by the St. Charles and Geneva Park districts, the Kane County Forest Preserve and the Fox Valley Park District.

Closer to home, she became a volunteer steward for Bliss Woods Forest Preserve, heading up monthly work days to clear out invasive plants and brush.

“I’m interested in open space issues, parks and recreation,” she said. “I am interested in environmental issues, but I don’t have a specific agenda. I’d like to see where I can contribute.”

Sugar Grove Park District Director Greg Repede said he and the other board members were impressed with Ochsenschlager’s sincerity and her expertise. They interviewed her and one other candidate before appointing Ochsenschlager.

“I’m also impressed with her knowledge of Park District operations, her contacts in the community and the extensive work she’s done in the county,” he said.

Ochelschlager will be sworn in at the Park District Board’s June 8 meeting.