February 3, 2017

CARTERVILLE — A retired John A. Logan College professor continues to enjoy the wildlife.

Nelda Hinckley, biology professor emeritus at John A. Logan College, is known throughout Southern Illinois — and some parts of the world — for her dedication to nature.

Last week, in fact, Hinckley was awarded the Southern Illinois Audubon Society’s “Todd Fink Conservationist of the Year” award. It was presented to her in Carbondale.

Hinckley was honored for her “life-long environmental teaching, public activism, and conservation volunteerism to preserve our planet earth.”

Hinckley is known at John A. Logan College for her commitment to biology both in and outside the classroom. Once honored with the College’s “Faculty of the Year” award, Hinckley has led a number of trips throughout the world to give students a first-hand look at nature’s wonders, an effort she continues to enjoy.

Hinckley will lead her 28th trip to Trinidad and Tobago in May. The eight-day tour of the two-island nation will give participants an unparalleled learning experience with some of the greatest birding and nature opportunities on each, Hinckley says.

Hinckley has also led tours to Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, and Belize.

But what interests Hinckley the most is conservation efforts here in Southern Illinois. She continues to actively speak out about local efforts to protect the environment and helps raise funds for the Cache River habitat restoration.

Despite all her efforts, Hinckley said she was surprised when she was presented the Todd Fink award.

“It was a surprise because I don’t see myself doing anymore than anyone else would do to protect the beautiful land and wildlife we have to enjoy here in Southern Illinois,” Hinckley said.

Todd Fink was a highly regarded biologist and ornithologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, who died in 1995 at the age of 36.