Ever since Toby Miller retired in December 2008 and was not replaced as interpreter, Starved Rock State Park has functioned without an official “Natural Resources Coordinator.”
That is changing with the announcement Tuesday of the promotion of Jolyn Wise from Site Technician II to Natural Resources Coordinator.
As state budgets tightened, volunteers from the Starved Rock Foundation stepped forward to handle many of the public-relations and programming duties at the visitors center at the park.
Wise will now be in charge of the programming for the park as well as handling more marketing, online and media relations duties, Starved Rock superintendent Mark McConnaughhay said. He said he hopes more programs can be added at the visitors center, in natural areas and the campground.
Wise technically had been responsible for the maintenance of the interior and exterior of the visitors center as well as some trail work, although she did help with public relations and interaction at the visitors center counter.
“She’s good at it plus she went to school for it. I believe she’s well suited for it,” McConnaughhay said.
The promotion of Wise will lessen some of the responsibilities of the Starved Rock Foundation members and volunteers, but that doesn’t mean the volunteers still won’t be asked to help. In fact, he said, the foundation and its volunteers operate the book store in the visitors center and will continue to do so.
“We still need them very much,” McConnaughhay said.
Wise will serve as a liaison between the park and the foundation, he said.
Also, Don Petre was promoted from ranger to Site Assistant Superintendent II.
Two additional personnel have joined the staff: Tom Gaffney a Site Technician II, transferring to Starved Rock State Park from Buffalo Rock State Park; and Kirk Silver joining the staff as a Site Technician II.
“They were positions that had gone unfilled,” McConnaughhay said.
The park staff has a lot of work to catch up on, he said.
“We have a lot of interior trail work to do, a lot of just basic maintenance we need to get caught up on,” he said, adding that the park will work to update signs along the trails.