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

Chief Executive Officer

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.   

Jennifer Behnke

Chief Financial Officer

Jennifer has worked in the accounting and auditing profession for over 20 years, primarily with PricewaterhouseCoopers and CliftonLarsonAllen.  Most recently, she has provided accounting services to a local restaurant.  She has formerly served as the treasurer for the St. Francis Community Clinic for many years and is currently the audit committee chair for the W.D. Boyce Council, Boy Scouts of America.  Jennifer’s favorite memory of the park are the field trips  she took there with her daughters’ second grade classes.  She has a love of animals and currently has 2 dogs, 2 cats and a hamster at home.  Jennifer is married to Troy and has two daughters, Morgan and Maddie.

Samantha Himegarner

Chief Operating Officer

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 COO, she strives to create a welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere for all park guests. Her passions include traveling, camping, hiking, and exploring national parks.  

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.