We are thrilled to introduce PSCC’s first executive director, Cynthia Kanner, of Algonquin, who will step into this newly-created position January 2, 2023.
“The addition of an executive director to PSCC has been a goal for many years,” Brook McDonald, current PSCC president and president/CEO of The Conservation Foundation, said. “We are excited to see this become a reality as we embrace future challenges, create a stronger and unified voice for land conservation, and help prepare the next generation of conservation professionals.”
The executive director position was created to better meet the needs of this growing organization and was made possible with donations and pledges from private land conservation organizations and supporters across the state.
Kanner will be responsible for expanding the current membership to include not just conservation land trusts, but any organizations advocating for land preservation and conservation; diversify future funding sources; continue to educate the public, private landowners, and elected officials of the benefits to people and nature by permanent land preservation; create opportunities for future stewards of the environment; and, make PSCC a leading voice for land conservation in Illinois.
“I’m honored beyond words to have been selected for this important leadership position,” Kanner said. “I’m thrilled that my experience in the nonprofit world, passion for building capacity and collaborative partnerships, and love of the natural world will culminate in state-wide work dedicated to strengthening conservation efforts.
“We are at a pivotal place in human and natural history and I’m excited to work with our member land trusts as well as other organizations and groups across Illinois.”
Kanner said connecting with diverse and previously underserved communities surrounding the vital issues of habitat recovery and preservation will be a priority as will inspiring new generations of stewards.
“Elevating the critical connection between habitat and wildlife health and the health of all Illinoisans is something I look forward to very much,” she said.
Kanner brings a broad spectrum of experience to the position, most recently 15 years with Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, serving as its executive director for the last four years. She served as director of communications and marketing and as a consultant for Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and as executive director of World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Comparative Studies from Duke University.
She has travelled professionally to Taiwan, Vietnam, and Morocco as a delegate representing World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C., and to South Africa, Czech Republic, Egypt, and the USSR for education tours and forums.
Kanner has been a long-time supporter of conservation and environmental organizations locally as well as state-wide and serves on the board of directors of the Food Shed Co-op, a cooperative grocery store breaking ground in McHenry County next year.
Her yard received the designation of Conservation@Home through the Land Conservancy of McHenry County and has both a native prairie and native woodland garden as well as several old bur oak trees. Kanner is also a former stream monitoring educator with Friends of the Fox River and is a river guide on the Fox.
Kanner will be officially introduced to the PSCC membership at its annual training conference March 2 and 3, 2023 at Starved Rock State Park.
You’ll be able to reach her at email@example.com starting next month.
Join us in giving her a big welcome to Prairie State Conservation Coalition!