First Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet

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The first-ever Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet offers something for everyone, regardless of your outdoor interest.

The event is scheduled for Feb. 1 at 5:30 p.m. at Drury Lane in OakBrook Terrace and will honor the first class of inductees to the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame. Individual tickets are $100.

"Don't miss this opportunity to be a part of this history-making event," said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Brent Manning, who serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Illinois Conservation Foundation. "In addition to honoring individuals who have made tremendous contributions to the natural resources in Illinois, attendees can have a great meal, a fun evening out, and a chance to bid on a variety of exciting auction items."

The honorees include: Frank Bellrose of Havana, one of the world's foremost authorities on waterfowl and wetlands; Jack Ehresman, retired outdoors columnist for the Peoria Journal-Star; James Helfrich, a 33-year employee of the Illinois Department of Conservation, who served as the agency's assistant director from 1977 until his death in 1986; John Husar, award-winning sportswriter and columnist for the Chicago Tribune, who died in 2000; and, Gene Morgan, a high school biology teacher and founder of the Sesser-Valier High School Outdoorsmen's Club.

The banquet also features a raffle, a 200-item silent auction and a live auction including all-inclusive golf trips at Rend Lake and Lake Shelbyville; fishing trips on Lake Michigan and in Southern Illinois; a variety of hunting trips at some premier locations; several boats, shotguns and a state park lodge tour. In addition, a final drawing of the night for all attendees offers a complete family camp site package.

Two companies and a wildlife conservation organization dedicated to natural resource protection in Illinois will be honored at the event for their support of the Illinois Conservation Foundation. The three Director's Awards will be presented to Dynegy Inc., Plano Molding Co., and the Illinois Chapter of the Safari Club International.

For more information on the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet, contact Ron Allen, Illinois Conservation Foundation, 524 South Second St., Springfield, IL 62701-1787, phone 217/785-9371, or check the ICF web site at

The Illinois Conservation Foundation, an IRS 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, has raised more than $13 million to support the programs of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. For more information, contact Executive Director John Schmitt at 312/814-7237.