Frank Sladek is an Urban Fishing Program Coordinator for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He holds a bachelors and masters degree in Zoology. His program offers free fishing clinics and aquatic resource education classes to young residents of Illinois, including youth clubs, alternately abled individuals, school groups and summer camps.
Frank began his career as a fishing instructor with the very same program he is now coordinating. For several years he was the education manager at Jake Wolf Memorial Fish Hatchery, where he gave presentations on aquatic resources, shared fish photos on social media and led public tours of the hatchery. He also raised endangered dragonflies, crayfish and freshwater mussels.
Frank is a lifelong angler, naturalist and zoologist. In his 20 years in environmental education, he has presented programs to 2 million people and worked with over 200 species of animals. He has published several articles in the Outdoor Illinois Journal and has presented live animals on NBC, WGN and PBS. His interest in the outdoors started at an early age, helping his mom with the backyard garden and fishing with his dad. As a child he was often featured in the Sun Times and other Chicago papers, holding fish, mushrooms or helping at food drives. He still loves to go fishing in his free time, targeting pike, trout and panfish around Chicago.