Osborne retires after 25 years at Champaign County Forest Preserve

Osborne retires after 25 years at Champaign County Forest Preserve

Mahomet Daily

Published Date: January 7, 2022

After 25 years Sandy Osborne decided it was time to retire. 

Osborne had been with the Champaign County Museum of the Grand Prarie for nearly three decades. In that time, she remained in a part-time position as the Museum’s Education Program Specialist.

In this role, Osborne worked on a variety of things including camps and counselors in training. Though, her main objective was to bring history to life through field trips and teach curriculums to children throughout Champaign County.

One cool aspect of this, as Osborne’s Supervisor, Katie Snyder shared is “We’d get a parent on a field trip who says ‘oh, I remember miss Sandy and coming here when i was a kid.’”

“She’s been here a very long time, 25 years which is, you know, unusual to stay in one job for 25 years and probably even more unusual I would say for a part time person to stay in one role,” Snyder said. “That in it of itself is a bit of an accomplishment.” 

“Many things were started with Sandy and maybe have evolved throughout time, but really had their beginnings with Sandy.”

According to Snyder, Osborne has also had a hand in developing the Museum’s library programs. 

“She was the first person to do the library programs throughout Champaign County for the Forest Preserve,” Snyder said.

It doesn’t stop there, though. Osborne is a woman who is known to wear many hats. She also developed the teen volunteer program. In fact, Snyder claims that Osborne was the “first person to start working with the teen volunteers, “ a system that is now involved into a full-fledged program.

Snyder suggested Osborne stayed in her position so long because of the type of work she was assigned to do. 

“It’s a really unique job,” Snyder explained. 

Osborne has a background and degrees in education, and this position is one that is “very different than working in a classroom setting.” 

Snyder, who joined the Champaign County Forest Preserve in 2015, can already see the void that will be left when Osborne leaves.

Osborne’s presence is one that will definitely be missed. According to Snyder, one contribution will be particularly noticed, and that is Osborne’s knowledge of the Museum’s history.

“She knows what it was like before and what it’s like now and the evolution of that.”

Snyder went on, “as people retire out of the system we kind of lose that historical knowledge. . .you don’t have that iconic touchstone anymore.” 

As for Osborne, 25 years and a pandemic was enough for her to endure. She found herself straying from in-person lessons to online field trips. That transition was one that led her into a smooth motion towards retirement. 

To celebrate the multi-generational work Osborne provided the Champaign County Forest Preserve, the Museum of the Grand Prairie will host “Mornings with the Museum: Sharing Memories from 25 Years of Museum Education with Sandy Osborne,” on Thurs. Jan.27th at 10 am. This event will be held online. 

The Museum of the Grand Prarie is now actively searching to fill the role of Education Program Specialist. If interested, contact Katie Snyder at KSnyder@ccfpd.org