Getting to Know Trustee Judy Miller

Oct 2021

Judy Miller recently join the Urbana Parks Foundation after working many years as the Environmental Program Manager for the Urbana Park District. The following was posted in the Environmental Education Association of Illinois’ Newsletter this past summer:

Judy Miller retired on June 25, 2021, after nearly 38 years working at the Urbana Park District’s Anita Purves Nature Center.

During her career as the Environmental Program Manager, she coordinated the nature center’s expansion project, interpretive and exhibit projects, 80+ acre prairie restoration project, and forest management and master plans. Judy is a former President of EEAI and recipient of the 2009 Malcom D. Swan Award. She has also been state affiliate liaison for the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE), site reviewer for the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA) and an Interpretive Planner with the National Association of Interpretation (NAI). Judy has been a strong leader, role model, and advocate for environmental education throughout her career. Her passion and love for nature has touched thousands of lives, and the impacts of her work will continue to resonate for many years to come.

Let’s hear more from Judy Miller about her new role with the Urbana Parks Foundation:

“It is my pleasure to continue to be involved with the district in such a wonder way as the Urbana Parks Foundation,” comments Judy.  “As an employee I worked on projects where funding via the foundation were instrumental to the success of these community driven needs. I have also been a donor to the foundation and look forward to assisting the park district in this new role”.

What makes you excited for the future of Urbana Parks?
The new Health and Wellness facility is very exciting. Having a district facility like this one has been on the list for the district for many, many years. Other exciting current and coming district projects that directly address community needs include the Crystal Lake restoration project, Blair Park project, the Urbana Park District Advisory Committee Outdoor Learning Pavilion at the Anita Purves Nature Center and the future of Meadowbrook Park’s PrairiePlay feature. The district’s commitment to the environment and its new CARES Plan are near and dear to my environmental education professional heart (
UPD_CARES_Plan_Final.pdf (

What are your three favorite aspects of Urbana Parks?

  1. Lots and lots of natural areas and open space – Busey Woods, Meadowbrook Park, Weaver Park, soon to open to the public – Perkins Road site.  But also fabulous gardens where eople can learn about organic gardening, native plants, pollinator gardens, their senses, sculptures, habitats.
  2. There is a park within walking distance for every neighborhood and each park is so unique. Favorite parks besides the natural areas include Leal Park, Carle Park and Southside Park.
  3. Finally, and of course – the Friendship Grove Nature Playscape next to the Anita Purves Nature Center.  This is a project that was near and dear to my heart as a staff member that included tremendous community and foundation support – from camper charrettes to staff and UPDAC planning trips to fundraising events to a fabulous grand opening.