Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Conservation Leaders Diane and Doug Oberhelman to be Inducted into Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) Board of Directors today announced the selection of Diane and Doug Oberhelman of Edwards for induction into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame for their exemplary service in and commitments to improving conservation efforts and outdoor recreation opportunities in Illinois.

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Image Copied from Illinois Conservation Foundation 

The formal induction of Diane and Doug Oberhelman will occur during a ceremony at the annual Illinois Conservation Foundation Gala April 30, 2020, at the Union League Club in Chicago.
Diane Oberhelman is the founder and Chairman of Cullinan Properties, Ltd., a Peoria-based real estate and development firm. Doug Oberhelman is the retired Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc., the Illinois-based manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.

“While Diane and Doug may be more well known for their Hall of Fame careers in business, the Oberhelmans have long advocated for wetlands protection, wildlife habitat restoration and enhancement, and preserving our natural landscapes for future generations to enjoy,” said Colleen Callahan, chair, Illinois Conservation Foundation Board of Directors and director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “We are delighted and honored to recognize them for the work they have done and continue to do in natural resources stewardship by selecting them for induction into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame.”

Diane and Doug Oberhelman are longtime supporters of Ducks Unlimited and the organization’s efforts to protect and expand wetland habitat. Diane served as an at-large member of the Ducks Unlimited Board, while Doug serves as vice president of Ducks Unlimited’s Wetlands America Trust, which oversees expansive land holdings targeted to wetland and waterfowl conservation and holds easements on hundreds of thousands of acres of additional wildlife habitat. In those roles, they have recruited others to the causes of conservation and environmental protection.

The Oberhelmans helped spread the conservation message by writing a book with co-author Jeff Lampe on their acquisition of and habitat restoration work on 1,200 acres of reclaimed coal mine property in central Illinois. Their passion for conservation is evident in the forward to their book Quail Lakes & Coal: Energy for Wildlife…And the World:

“The same property that has yielded crops to feed generations of farmers and livestock also provided coal to generate electricity for homes and businesses. And miners did not leave the land worn out. To the contrary. Thanks to federal mine reclamation laws and passionate stewardship by owners Doug and Diane Oberhelman, the farm fields once again yield bumper crops. Wildlife abounds. And the grasslands and lakes offer wonderful opportunities for fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, swimming, wildlife watching, stargazing, and anything else you can dream of doing in a place where wild animals roam and stars shine bright.”

Since 2002, the ICF has recognized Illinoisans for their significant contributions and unparalleled dedication in preserving, promoting, enhancing or supporting natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities with induction into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame.

The Illinois Conservation Foundation is an IRS 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit corporation established in 1995 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 on the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame and the ICF Gala on April 30, 2020, check the ICF website at

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