Someone to Know: David Sima

West Division Senior Ranger David Sima keeps it interesting for folks who either join his DuPage forest preserve recreational programs or encounter him along our trails. With his vast outdoor experience at the District and general knowledge of natural history, he’s happy to share his nature know-how with anyone he meets in the preserves. Sima shares his expertise about the preserves and their many amenities as part of our "Wild Things" team on WDCB radio.

What do you do at the Forest Preserve District? How do you see that role support the District?
As a senior ranger with the District, my role is wide and varied. It includes opening the preserves, performing basic maintenance and educating the public about archery, kayaking or why we use prescribed burns in DuPage forest preserves. As a member on the front line, I often interact with our forest preserve patrons. That’s why it’s important they walk away from me with a good impression of preserves. If I can create a good memory from their preserve experience that stays with them, then I have done my job!

To date, what has been the best (or most interesting) part of your job at the Forest Preserve District?
The most interesting part of my job would have to be the prescribed burn program. How many people can say that they are getting paid to burn the woods and prairies for an ecological benefit?

How do you use DuPage forest preserves?
The District has so many great trails that on my days off I will use them to either go for a bike ride in the summer or hike year-round. I am currently training for Philmont — a Boy Scout high adventure backpacking trip in New Mexico — which I will be going on in June 2016. In the past few years I used the trails and Mount Hoy to train for trips to summit Mount Washington in New Hampshire and Half Dome in Yosemite.

When I have the chance, I also enjoy taking my kayak down the rivers along the forest preserves. The West Branch of the DuPage River is so amazing now that all of the river restoration is complete.

What is your favorite preserve?
My favorite preserve is Waterfall Glen in Darien. Not only is this preserve so diverse in plants, animals and topography but it’s also where I began my career with the District as a ranger. Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook is a close second.

Why do you enjoy working for the Forest Preserve District?
I enjoy working for the District, because it gives me the opportunity to be outside. While most people are in an office for 40+ hours a week, I can call the preserves my office. Even though I may spend more hours in the office than I did early in my career, there is still a nice balance to my day. There are also the quick-lived experiences that I enjoy almost every day at work — the beautiful sunrise or sunset, a bald eagle sighting in a preserve, early morning fog over a prairie, hearing a great-horned owl calling at night when I leave work and then again the next morning when I arrive back at work… .

What inspires you in nature? Why do you like to share that with others?
Simple things in nature inspire me: Newly fallen snow, the smell of flowers, patterns in nature. I sometimes feel that humans have lost touch with nature or lack an appreciation for the natural world around us. But if I can show them the little things — those things that inspire me — maybe it will inspire them to want to get out and explore on their own, too. 

Ranger David Sima teaches WLS-TV reporter Judy Hsu how to shoot an arrow at the Blackwell archery range.
Ranger Sima leads "Paddling With a Ranger" at Herrick Lake Forest Preserve in Wheaton.

Someone to Know: Dan Hebreard

District ranger loves sharing his passion for nature with visitors.

Someone to Know: Wayne Zaininger

As site manager for Danada Equestrian Center in Wheaton and St. James Farm in Warrenville, Zaininger's work is centered on horses and the people who care for them.

Someone to Know: District Ecologist Dan Thompson

District ecologist has the perfect job to feed his love of nature and wildlife.

Someone to Know: Fullersburg Woods Volunteer Joan Schultheis

Retired teacher taps her love of nature at Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center.

Someone to Know: Wayne Hill

Wayne Hill gets to step back in time in his role as heritage interpreter at Kline Creek Farm, an 1890s living history farm in West Chicago.

Someone to Know: Mark Dyer

Mayslake Community Outreach Specialist Mark Dyer wears many hats while helping ensure the numerous nature and cultural programs run smoothly at the Oak Brook estate.

Someone to Know: Austin Kopp

Golf Services Supervisor Austin Kopp makes sure every trip to the District's three golf course is on par with customer's expectations.

Someone to Know: Leigh Korreck

Willowbrook naturalist Leigh Korreck loves being able to connect people to nature and help them learn how to live in harmony with native wildlife in DuPage County.

Someone to Know: Dennis Buck

How would you like stepping back into a different century every day at work? That's what Kline Creek Farm heritage interpreter Dennis Buck does each day.

Someone to Know: Kim Riehm

From taking calls to reserving a picnic shelter to answering questions about forest preserves, no two days are alike for Visitors Services staff assistant Kim Riehm. And she wouldn't have it any other way.

Someone to Know: Cindy Hedges

Cindy Hedges is all about connecting people to nature in her role as stewardship program coordinator. She also oversees the District's volunteer monitoring programs and the Native Plant Nursery at Blackwell Forest Preserve.

Someone to Know: Kendra Strubhart

As Mayslake's heritage interpreter, Kendra Strubhart is responsible for programming at the historic Oak Brook mansion.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Chris Aquino

When he's not teaching cinema studies at Wheaton Warrenville South High School, he's helping folks hone their photography skills at Mayslake Peabody Estate.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Fred Drury

Award-winning photographer Fred Drury brings his 50-plus years of photography expertise to you through his photography classes at Mayslake Peabody Estate.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Hank Erdmann

Hank Erdmann specializes in nature photography, especially in the midwest. His primary areas of interest include midwestern prairies and hardwood forests.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Will Clay

Will Clay's photography has been published in nine books and numerous natioanl publications, and now he brings his photographic expertise to you through his photography classes at Mayslake Peabody Estate.

Someone to Know: Eric Poggenburg

No two days are alike for ranger Eric Poggenburg, who enjoys connecting to nature even on his days off.

Someone to Know: Dr. Jennifer Nevis

Willowbrook staff veterinarian fuels her passion for animals and mentoring.

Someone to Know: Nikki Dahlin

District naturalist Nikki Dahlin's love of bugs may have started by accident, but it's been fueled by passion.

Someone to Know: David Sima

Senior ranger David Sima leads programs that teach skills for enjoying the great outdoors.

Someone to Know: Stephanie Touzalin

Wildlife enthusiast and artist Stephanie Touzalin is a naturalist at Willowbrook.

Someone to Know: Ron Skleney

Naturalist Ron Skleney loves birds and heads up our raptor program at Willowbrook Wildlife Center.

Someone to Know: Natural Resources and Grounds Management Crews

Our crews manage invasive and nonnative vegetation over the coldest months of the year.

Someone to Know: Chris Gingrich

Get to know Education Outreach Specialist Chris Gingrich.

Someone to Know: Marty Jandura

Ranger Marty Jandura is an avid fisherman and offers up some fishing tips.

Someone to Know

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