Wildlife Prairie Park Executive Team

The Wildlife Prairie Park Executive Team is the leadership of the park who handles the marketing, hospitality, finance, human resources, and wildlife programs and staff. This group works hard to make sure every aspect of the park is running smoothly for the guests and staff to enjoy! Learn more about each one of these team members from their bios below. 

Roberta English

Executive Director/CEO

Roberta English is Executive Director of Wildlife Prairie Park.  She joined the Park in 2019 with a focus on developing and strengthening relationships throughout the community and improving the Park’s multiple revenue streams.   Roberta has a passion for creating workplaces with positive culture, diversity of thought, and entrepreneurial spirit.  Roberta has a passion for building a stronger community in Peoria.   A proud Rotarian, she serves on the boards of directors for the Peoria Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the Business Political Action Committee of Central Illinois, and the Greater Peoria Illinois Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.  Roberta’s favorite animal is the “Wildcat,” because she is one.  She holds B.S and M.S degrees from Northwestern University.   

Jen Funk

Vice President, Development & Marketing

Jen joined the Wildlife Prairie Park team in 2021 as the Vice President of Development and Marketing, overseeing the Park’s fundraising efforts, marketing strategies and volunteer program. Jen brings to the Park nearly 13 years of extensive nonprofit fundraising and marketing experience.  She is a member of, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for, the Rotary Club of Peoria North. She also serves on the Board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals as the Director of Government Relations and she is a Richwoods High School Speech Team volunteer coach.  While it is hard to pick her favorite park animal, Big Mike (the Bison) and his love for snacks has quickly won her heart! Jen holds a B.S. from Eckerd College, a M.S. from the Nova Southeastern University and is completing an M.A. from Bradley University.  

John Patroff

Director of Finance

John Patroff joined the Wildlife Prairie Park team in August of 2020.  As the Park’s Finance Director, he oversees the many revenue streams at the park and assists the management team with meeting budget goals.  He also manages the Front Gate and point of sale software system.  Prior to working at the Park, John has held various management positions in the medical field and served on the board of Foster Pet Outreach as treasurer.  John regularly volunteers at Big Hollow Sportsman Club and serves on their board as treasurer.

Samantha Himegarner

Director of Hospitality

A Bradley University graduate, Sam Himegarner joined the park in 2019 as a server at the Wildside Grille. Since then, her roles have expanded and she now oversees banquets, lodging, and housekeeping operations at the park. Her responsibilities include developing and evaluating lodging programs, managing remodeling projects related to lodging accommodations and event venues, and wedding/event planning and execution. As Director of Hospitality, she strives to create a welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere for all park guests. Her passions include traveling, camping, hiking, and exploring national parks.  

Adrienne Bauer

Wildlife Programming Director

Adrienne Bauer first came to Wildlife Prairie Park as a summer intern in 2006. She returned to the park as an animal keeper in 2010 and quickly adapted into the role as the Wildlife Director. Adrienne came to the park with a drive to enhance the safety protocols, enrich the lives of all animals in the collection and create a strong team community.

Prior to working at the park Adrienne assisted with wildlife research on raccoon populations in Southern Illinois and swamp rabbit populations in Southern Indiana. She also student taught in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Where she gained experience as an environmental educator. She is an expert zoologist with a rich knowledge in the care of large animals and avian life with a strong record of accomplishment of team management.

Jenny Barkley

Human Resources Consultant

Jenny Barkley serves as a HR Operationalist for HR Fit, bringing more than 10 years of diverse human resources experience to support Wildlife Prairie Park with their HR functions.  Jenny earned a B.S. from Bradley University in Human Resources Management.   Jenny is a native to the Peoria area and is a frequent visitor to the park.