Meet the 2022 West Cook Wild Ones Board

Stephanie Walquist, President and Founding Member
Stephanie has also been with WCWO since 2013. Her passion has been in developing Programs, Communications, and Community Outreach. She brings a sense of urgency about planting natives and what she terms eco-sensitive maintenance.

Laura Hartwell-Berlin, Vice-president, Program Chair, and Board Member
Laura has been a longtime advocate, supporter, and volunteer with WCWO. She joined the board this past year and has helped make it stronger than ever with her organizational skills, tenacity, and willingness to adjust and adapt. She has helped to lighten our loads quite a bit!

Sharon Storbeck, Treasurer
Sharon has also been with WCWO shortly after its founding. She is also on the Plant Sale Committee. She has given us steady guidance about our finances and plant sales strategies over the years.

Carolyn Cullen, Plant Sale Committee Chairperson
Carolyn has been with WCWO since 2014 and a Wild Ones member since 2000. A long time native plant advocate and restoration volunteer, Carolyn joined to help bring native plants to home gardens. She is the woman behind our Shopify site, a model for so many other non-profits and WO chapters.

Candace Blank, Membership Chair
A long time member whom we finally convinced to join the board, Candace is an instrumental part of Wild Ones and has developed systems of welcoming and retaining members of our organization. She is passionate about our mission and about members. With whatever we do, she reminds us about where our focus should be: on members.

Byron Lanning, Board Member
Planting natives  for many years, Byron brings a practical eye to our activities, questioning us to ensure we have clarification on our goals and strategies. He is the person who made our dream come true of our yard sign. When we are helping maintain gardens or install new ones, Byron has any (literal) tool for the situation.

Adrian Ayres Fisher, Board Member and Programming CommitteeAdrian is a long time WCWO participant who loves native plants and our Northern Illinois ecosystem. She gardens for pollinators at home and volunteers with the Forest Preserves of Cook County at several sites.

Doug Chien, Board Member, Board Member and Grant Committee Chair

Douglas brings 25+ years of professional and volunteer experience in native landscaping, ecological restoration, and environmental advocacy. He’s a volunteer Steward of an Illinois Nature Preserve within the Cook County forest preserves. His home reflects his values with native landscaping and a high efficiency building envelope.

Cynthia Colvin, Board Member

Cynthia has an in-depth knowledge of many native plants, growing them and learning the latin names. She is a a University of Illinois Extension Office Master Gardener since 2013; member, volunteer and former employee of Chicago Botanic Garden; member of Morton Arboretum and Arbor Day Society. Currently, she works for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

Kerrie Gonzalez, Board Member

(Introduction coming)

Outgoing board members:

We want to recognize our board members who finished their terms and left a lasting impact on West Cook Wild Ones:

Pam Todd, Immediate Past President and Founding Member
Pam has been with WCWO since its founding in 2013. She steadily led us on our path of growth, taking on bold challenges in ways that have challenged what it means to be a chapter of a national organization. She still brings her unflagging cheery optimism to all that we take on as an organization. Pam is on the board of National Wild Ones, and she attends our monthly board meetings when she is able to. We continue to benefit from Pam’s guidance.

Mary Peranteau
Mary has been with our board since 2016. Another long time plant advocate and restoration volunteer at two FPCC sites. Mary is a passionate advocate for native plants and is a backbone of our organization through her consistent volunteering and supervision of our many tabling and public garden activities.

Barbara Rose
Barbara has loved natives since childhood treks in woods, and after volunteering in small roles and launching the OAKtober Forum, she has decided to take her engagement with us to a new level. She will be leading our new Grants program