Victor Illichmann: 2024 Land Trust Volunteer of the Year

An old man standing in a field with tall grass and a very tall flower.

Gathering Waters presented Victor Illichmann, a long-time volunteer and supporter of Green-Rock Audubon Society, with the 2024 Land Trust Volunteer of the Year Award on May 23, 2024 at a private celebration in Janesville, Wisconsin.

Victor began the intensive land management of Green-Rock Audubon Society properties over 20 years ago. It started with just a borrowed tractor and brush mower, cutting back willows that had overgrown the property at the Spring Creek Reserve.

Over time, supporting Green-Rock Audubon Society as a long-term Board member and volunteer, Victor helped identify the properties that needed work most urgently. He had a vision for what could be done to return the land to a state that would enhance the population of native plants, birds, and insects, and he made that vision a reality.

Victor partnered with the National Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and other organizations to seek out funding for Green-Rock Audubon Society’s efforts. He used his knowledge and leadership skills to organize work parties and make improvements that would benefit each property under the land trust’s management as a true conservation preserve.

Walking through the acres of restored properties that previously were overgrown messes and are now delightful woods and prairies, it is evident what Victor has accomplished.

“We’re so glad for this opportunity to recognize Victor with the Volunteer of the Year Award for all his years of service to Green-Rock Audubon Society, one of the 40+ land trusts that protect land in Wisconsin,” said Mike Carlson, executive director of Gathering Waters. “Victor’s support has been invaluable, and we thank him for his dedication to land conservation in Wisconsin.”

About the Land Conservation Leadership Awards

The awards, presented annually to conservation leaders by Gathering Waters, recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions of people who devote their time and talents to protecting Wisconsin’s land, water, and wildlife.

About the Volunteer of the Year Award

This award recognizes a land trust volunteer that demonstrates commitment to supporting and serving a land trust through leadership, pursuits, projects, and partnerships that further a land trust’s goals.