Someone to Know: Kendra Strubhart
Ever wonder who's behind the fascinating programs offered at Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook? Mayslake heritage interpreter Kendra Strubhart said she taps into her passion for making history fun for all when lining up programming at the historic Tudor Revival-style mansion. It helps that she’s a history buff, too, when planning programs in a registered national historic landmark. She credits her coworkers for making her job enjoyable every day.
She especially enjoys both the granular and the grandeur of nature on display in all DuPage Forest Preserves.
What do you do at the Forest Preserve District? How do you see that role support the District?
As the heritage interpreter at Mayslake Peabody Estate, I am responsible for planning and executing the cultural and educational programs tied to Mayslake Peabody Estate. Our programs range from music concerts and theater performances, art classes and exhibits, history-based lectures, tours and first-person portrayals. I try to develop programs that give visitors the opportunity to be inspired by nature in unexpected ways and tie the history and culture of the historic estate to the natural world that the District works so hard to preserve and protect.
What did you study in college? How do you use that knowledge in your career?
I double majored in history and studio art and minored in Russian language. More specifically, I studied the way folk art techniques were used in early Soviet propaganda, which tied all three of my areas of study together. While I don’t focus on Soviet history or create art daily for the District, I still use the skills I learned in college in my career. I learned to examine historical information objectively and interpret it, and I use the artistic techniques I studied to develop fun programs. Unfortunately, I’ve lost most of my Russian due to lack of use. I can still manage to say hello and point people to the bathroom if needed, though.
How do you use DuPage forest preserves?
I live all the way up in Morton Grove, so, sadly, I don’t get out into many of the preserves as often as I would like to. I do, however, love taking advantage of working in such a beautiful environment and try to get out on my lunch break as often as possible. I came to the District after working for several years in a small cubicle downtown, so the natural setting is a huge perk of the job!
What is your favorite preserve? Why?
Mayslake was the first DuPage County Forest Preserve I was exposed to and is a wonderful place to work, so it will always have a special place in my heart. I’m also a history nerd, though, so I really enjoy visiting Kline Creek Farm and St. James Farm.
What makes you excited to go to work every day?
My co-workers are amazing. I have never worked with a group of people as enthusiastic about what they are doing or willing to dive in to get the job done (no matter how undesirable the task). They are also just really pleasant people who make coming to work and doing my job easier and more enjoyable.
What three words best describe you?
Perceptive, goofy and relaxed.
What inspires you in nature? Why do you like to share that with others?
The grandness and minuteness of nature is inspiring to me. Nature is everywhere, and yet, we often miss the small things taking place in nature every second of the day. It has been amazing to watch my daughter experience this for the first time. She sees a bug for the first time and an entirely new world opens up to her. Watching that makes me want to learn more about nature so I can answer her questions and foster her interest.