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
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.
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!
Lara Sviatko is finishing a Master’s in biology at Miami University of Ohio. Lara has always been involved with nature though not always as a job. She spent 20 years as a sign language interpreter and educator all the while thinking some day she could teach about nature. Wheaton’s Lincoln Marsh provided her with that opportunity. There she wrote, developed and implemented nature programs for preschool through 4th grade. She also expanded a program for toddlers called “nature tots” which became very popular. In addition, Lara put together several programs for adults including a bat night hike and wildflower walks. Lara writes about and gives talks on bats. She is currently working on a project to educate people on the link between bats, agave and tequila. Lara became a volunteer at Stillman Nature Center in 2012. She handles raptors, participates in teaching, and LOVES pond study. She is particularly fond of all the critters she can find there. After being exposed to the prairie at Stillman, Lara is now working to convert her yard to native and prairie plants. When she completes her Master’s, Lara hopes to teach Environmental Biology at the College of Lake County where she currently teaches a course on sign language.
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 $12/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.