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xvii Acknowledgments I never met George Fell. I came to know him in a way that I am sure he would have appreciated: by immersing myself in his voluminous archive. Before and after the Natural Land Institute donated his papers to his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Illinois, I read through school records, journals, personal letters, professional correspondence, reports, pamphlets, newsletters, white papers, interview transcripts, news clippings, and complete sets of minutes from several conservation organizations, both large and small. My thanks to Anna Trammel and Emily Swain at the University of Illinois Archives and to the entire staff of the Natural Land Institute for their research help. Special thanks go to the institute’s former executive director, Jerry Paulson, who first introduced me to Fell through the invitation to write a biographical treatment for the institute’s fiftieth anniversary. Special thanks, too, to the institute’s Jill Kennay for her exceptional research help, as well as for her devoted care of Barbara Fell during her final years. For research assistance elsewhere, thank you to Sue Key of the Illinois Natural History Survey; Stacey Skeeters of the Illinois State Archives; Melissa Gottwald, collections archivist at Iowa State University; Chandler Robbins and Matthew C. Perry of Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Janet Hinshaw, collection manager, Bird Division of the Museum of Zoology at the University of Michigan; Sandra Fritz, reference librarian at the Illinois State Library; Doug Staller, refuge manager, Necedah National Wildlife Refuge; Lisa Smith, executive director of the Natural Areas Association; Tom Clay, executive director of the Illinois Audubon Society; and the staffs of the Local History and Genealogy Department of the Rockford Public Library, the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library, the Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Historical Society, and the Illinois State Academy of Science. As scrupulous a documentarian as Fell was, the written record goes only so far in revealing who he was as a person. I was fortunate to get to know him by interviewing friends, family, and colleagues, who were generous in relating stories about a man who went out of his way not to call attention to himself. My xviii Acknowledgments thanks to Brian Anderson, John Alesandrini, Jill Allread, Steven Byers, Elizabeth Carter, Dale Birkenholz, Marlin Bowles, Gladys Campbell, Fran Harty, Kenneth Fiske, Roger Gustafson, Randy Heidorn, Max Hutchison, David Kenney, Edward M. Levin, Lee Johnson, Ruth Little, Don McFall, Gary McIntyre, Suzette Merchant, Stephen Packard, John Schwegman, Dorothy Wade, John Warnock, and Karen Witter; as well as the late Carl Becker, Frank Bellrose, Robert Betz, Edward Garst, Richard Goodwin, John Humke, and Richard Pough. Thanks to Melody Herr, who provided encouragement and guidance in finding my voice to tell Fell’s story. Thanks also to Jim Ballowe, Patty Berg, Carol Fisher Saller, and especially Gwen Walker and the entire University of Wisconsin Press team for their editorial insights, which provided the final polish to the manuscript. Thanks to Susan, always and forever Susan, for her love and support. Finally, my deepest thanks go to the late Barbara Fell. She spent countless hours talking to me about her husband. She hosted me in her home while I sorted through his papers at the Natural Land Institute. She cooked meals, took me out to dinner, and walked with me through landscapes that she and her husband had protected. Fierce in her opinions and a stickler for details, Barbara was an invaluable source of information except when it came to talking about herself: “I can’t take credit for anything,” she insisted repeatedly. “George was a genius. He would have done it all with or without me.” In spite of Barbara’s protestations, the well-documented record is clear that she had more than a little to do with his success. As breadwinner, volunteer, and paid staff member; as editor, membership coordinator, and general factotum; as advocate and defender; as confidante, companion, and devoted spouse for forty-six years, Barbara was her husband’s equal in passion, commitment, and tenacity when it came to advancing the cause of natural areas preservation. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to acknowledge her own rightful place in conservation history by dedicating this book to her memory. ...


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