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IRWP has a new look for 2017! Please get to know our staff and feel free to contact any of us regarding community events, becoming a sponsor, or programs that improve the integrity of the Illinois River. 
Nicole Hardiman, Ph.D., Executive Director
Nicole joined IRWP in September 2016, following retirement of Dr. Delia Haak. Nicole is a Northwest Arkansas native and a 4th generation University of Arkansas graduate. She holds a Ph.D. in conservation biology from the University of Cincinnati and has worked for conservation or sustainability-related organizations for nearly ten years. Nicole's first experience in the water quality world was as a data analyst for Arkansas Water Resources Center, where she worked on the Upper Illinois River Watershed Management Plan. Following that, she worked as a community outreach consultant for the Northwest Arkansas Council with the goal of building local support for the Beaver Lake Watershed Management Plan and formation of the Beaver Watershed Alliance. Most recently, Nicole worked for The Sustainability Consortium at the University of Arkansas, researching consumer product sustainability in the agriculture and forestry fields. Nicole lives in Bentonville with her family: husband Ed Romero, son Dito Romero, daughter Lily Romero, and two dogs Cagney and Lacey. Every Sunday morning they can be found hiking the beautiful trails of Arkansas and enjoying each other's company. Nicole can be reached at or by phone at 479-422-1014.
Robin Gregory, Director of Education and Outreach
Robin joined IRWP in February 2017, and is a native Arkansan growing up in Central Arkansas and migrating to NWA for college earning a BA in Geography while her MA focused on karst water quality and environmental  management.   Soon after her MA she joined the Center for Advanced Spatial Technology (CAST) at the University of Arkansas to become a Geospatial Education and Outreach Specialist, training and managing thousands of Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) projects in GIS/GPS geospatial analysis and community outreach.  With a huge love of the outdoors and nature, Robin founded Native Expeditions in 2011, a non-profit focused on education, leadership and stewardship to offer after school programs, camps, special events, workshops in Northwest Arkansas and work with over 6,000 students in 25 schools in the Ouachita National Forest promoting environmental and field based education and habitat restoration projects.  Robin lives in Fayetteville, AR with her family and enjoys camping, floating, hiking, a good live band, and working with volunteers for great stewardship conservation projects.  Robin can be reached at or by phone at 479-957-4597.

Stephanie Burchfield, Project Manager
Stephanie joined IRWP in February 2017. She grew up in Springdale, Arkansas and attended the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Science. In college, Stephanie was a Biological Technician with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service working with endangered species permitting. After college, she moved to Little Rock and worked for the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) in the Engineering Section under the Source Water Protection Program for four years. At ADH, she worked with drinking water operators around the state to improve their Source Water and Wellhead Protection Programs. She was also a major planning contributor to the first Arkansas Forests and Drinking Water Forum. Stephanie is happy to be back in Northwest Arkansas and lives in Springdale. She enjoys hiking, paddle sports, traveling and going to the theater. Stephanie can be reached at or by phone at 479-215-6623.
Desiree Main, Facility Administrator
Desiree joined IRWP in January 2017 as a facility administrator. Before joining IRWP, Desiree worked for 8 years for a diverse range of organizations, including customer service, co-director of Caterpillar Clubhouse, Coleman’s Children’s Academy and office manager for Lowell Electric. Passionate about IRWP and its possibilities, Desiree provides environmental services that help children, businesses, and the community to maintain environmental knowledge and safety. As a nature enthusiast, Desiree supports positive economic growth in our community. Desiree lives in Lowell, Arkansas and enjoys hiking, kayaking, live music and spending valued time with her daughter. To contact Desiree please email or she can be reached by phone at 479-531-7211. 


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