Starved Rock Foundation

People of the Starved Rock Foundation

Pam Grivetti,
Foundation President & Secretary

Pam Grivetti is a retired kindergarten teacher from the Peru Public Schools. She has a masters degree in Outdoor Education from NIU and was employed by the Dept of Natural Resources as a summer interpreter from 1977-1981.

She volunteered at the park since the early 70's which equates to over 40 years of continuous volunteer services! Pam was on the steering committee to establish the Starved Rock Foundation.

Kathy Despain,
Foundation Treasurer

Kathy Despain is a retired 2nd grade teacher from the Peru Public Schools. She came to the Foundation Board several years after its inception. Kathy started volunteering at the Park in the early 80's and brought her 2nd graders out for a day at the park each year that she taught.

Brenda Schroeder Foundation Board Member

Board member Brenda Schroeder is a science teacher at Rochelle Township High School. She has volunteered at the park since 1998 and has served on the Foundation Board since the new Visitor Center was opened in 2002

Cindy Hopps Foundation Board Member

Cindy is a retired science teacher from JFK Jr High in Spring Valley. She has been a volunteer hike leader since the 90's and has served on the Foundation Board since the new Visitor Center was opened in 2002. Cindy is in charge of our special event weekends: Spring Wildflower, Fall Colors & Winter Wilderness.


John Muir

Foundation Board Member

John Muir (yes, that really is his name) was born and brought up in England, where he qualified as a lawyer in 1972. He lived in Canada for many years before moving to Illinois in 2007 to marry Kathy, an Oglesby lady. John volunteered at Toronto Zoo in the Education Department from 2001 to 2007. He is hike coordinator at Starved Rock.

John McKee

Committee Member

John McKee, who lives in Ottawa, began volunteering in the LeRocher Gift Shop in 2003 after retiring from 42 years of executive management in a small industrial manufacturing business. While providing some structure to his retirement, his involvement in the book store, utilizes his business experience and his life long passion for natural history and books about it.

Mark Walczynski Foundation Historian

Mark Walczynski is Foundation Historian for the Starved Rock Foundation. He is retired from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources/ Conservation Police Officer and currently teaches history, philosophy, and criminal justice at Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, Illinois. He is published in the early history of Illinois, specializing in the Franco/Native American history of the Starved Rock region. Mark presents programs and gives lectures on early Illinois history across Illinois and has been a historical consultant for DVDs, books, and websites. His book is available in our Le Rocher Gift Shop, "Starved Rock The First 100 Years"

Volunteer Coordinators: Frank & Kris Borkowsky

BookStore Coordinator: John McKee

Program Coordinators: Helen Thomas & Pam Grivetti

Snack Supply Coordinators: Kurt & Janet Plymire

Hike Coordinator: John Muir

Email Coordinator: Shirley Pierson

Garden Coordinator: NEEDED

Park Historian: Mark Walczynski

Special Event Coordinators: Cindy Hopps, Brenda Schroeder


Kurt Plymire

Committee Member

Kurt Plymire works as a truck driver. He enjoys hiking the trails and Eagle watching is his specialty. On cold winter days you can find him atop Starved Rock with a spotting scope giving visitors a close up view of the Bald Eagles. A volunteer since 2003, Kurt also helps out at the information desk and in the Le Rocher book store.


Janet Plymire

Committee Member

Janet Plymire is an avid gardener and all around nature lover. A member of the Illinois Audubon Society (Starved Rock Audubon Chapter), she, along with her husband Kurt, would hike the trails of Starved Rock and bird watch. Since becoming a volunteer in 2003, she can be found on the trails, behind the information desk and in the Le Rocher book store. She has also helped with the Hummingbird Festivals.