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Stillman Nature Center

Welcome to our site!  The Stillman Nature Center is a private, non-profit center for environmental education, located on 80 acres of woods, lake and prairie in South Barrington, Illinois.  Not only does Stillman have a variety of habitats which offer food, cover and nesting sites for wild animals, it is also home to a number of Birds of Prey.  The Birds of Prey are not able to be released in the wild and are housed at Stillman.   They are used for educational programs and can be seen by the public when Stillman is open.  See the 'Visit Us' page for more detail on Nature Center hours, directions, etc.

History of Stillman

Alexander Stillman Bio

Stillman Nature Center History

Staff Bios
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Susan Allman retired from Schaumburg School District 54 after teaching second, third and fourth grades for 33 years.  She received her undergraduate teaching degree from the National College of Education and got her Master's of Science in Education, with an emphasis in Outdoor Education, from Northern Illinois University.  Susan wrote second, third and fourth grade science curriculum used in Dist. 54 and directed the District's award-winning Project CARE, an energy awareness program aimed at 4th-6th grade students.  Ms. Allman has conducted science workshops for various groups, including the Corporation that  sponsored cable TV's Mr. Wizard.  She also taught graduate level courses in Seasonal Science for Aurora University.  In addition to her educator duties, Susan has been the President of Stillman Nature Center for over twenty years and North Barrington's Village Forester for over ten years.

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Mark Spreyer did his graduate work in Minnesota on great gray owls and then went on to organize and direct Chicago's peregrine falcon release program. Under his leadership, Chicago hosted the first nest of peregrines in Illinois in 37 years. In 1989, he returned to Minnesota where he worked with the Minnesota National Wildlife Refuge and other conservation organizations. In 1995, after completing work on a raptor exhibit with the Science Museum of Minnesota, Mark migrated back to Illinois to become Executive Director of the Stillman Nature Center in Barrington. During his career, Mark has also worked with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, National Audubon Society, and Chicago Academy of Sciences plus he has taught courses for the College of Lake County and Northeastern Illinois University. Recently, Mark came out with a book of nature essays titled Natural Digressions. It covers everything from wildflowers to owls, with a heaping dose of Mark's humor!

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Lara Sviatko has a Masters degree in biology from Miami University of Ohio. Most of her working life was spent as a sign language interpreter and teacher, which she did for 24 years.  Concurrently, Lara was always interested in nature, especially bats. When her love of nature became stronger than the call of interpreting, Lara decided it was time for a change. She started out as a volunteer at Stillman Nature Center in 2012, and then went on to become Stillman’s part time naturalist in 2019 after completing her masters degree. Lara handles raptors, coordinates volunteers, and teaches many nature related subjects, such as pond study and bat hikes. In 2023 Lara began a baseline study of the bats that make Stillman their summer home by recording them acoustically and then reviewing the sound files to match bat calls with specific species. Currently, Stillman hosts several tree dwelling species including: big brown bats, eastern red bats and silver-haired bats. Lara loves gardening, swimming, walking her greyhound’s and being outside (when it’s warm!). 


Working as an intern at Stillman can be tough.  You'll be outside most of the time with heat, biting insects, ticks, thorny branches, etc.  If you’re interested in an intern position please email or send us a cover letter that includes your field of study and purpose in applying. A resume would also be helpful.  If you’re accepted as a college intern, we pay $15/hour for a 20-hour week, for ten weeks. Some students have received college credit for their time at Stillman.  We hope to hire three interns this year.  Our college interns have come from a variety of schools including Augustana College, Boston Univ., Eastern Michigan University, Univ. of Vermont, American Univ., Iowa State, and the Univ. of Wisconsin – Stevens Pt.  

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