Pride in the Prairie

Posted: January 27, 2023

New Terry & Sherrie Martin Community Agtivity Fund

Terry Martin is deeply passionate about the rural landscape.

For years he helped preserve and restore prairies throughout DeKalb County – prairies on his farmstead, at local forest preserves and at the community college.

Terry and Sherrie Martin established their own prairie restoration plot on their rural Waterman farmstead, which they enjoyed for many years.

Terry beams with excitement talking about prairie grasses and forbs that once covered most of the county but now exist mostly in restored areas.

A prairie advocate and experienced educator, his knowledge and enthusiasm for prairies was imparted to his many students over the years.

Beyond the prairies, he also appreciates the prairie state’s bigger terrain as a conservation-minded owner of local farmland – some farmland that was his wife’s family ground and other acreage which they acquired over the years.

Direct affinities to these rural landscapes prompted Terry to recently endow a gift and start a new fund with the DeKalb County Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.

“With my strong interest in prairies, and my desire to conserve the soil, water and land, it seemed appropriate to do something agricultural related in my community,” said Terry.

Terry Martin and his son Ross admire the prairie landscape in the DeKalb County Farm Bureau mural.

The new Terry and Sherrie Martin Community Agtivity Fund will provide assistance to community programs throughout DeKalb County which have an ag-related connection.

The new fund may help support public prairie and pollinator plots, or provide organized educational tours of farms and their conservation practices, as well as assist with other agricultural related community activities.

“Philanthropy is important and benefits our community. Those who are able and have the resources should consider it (the Farm Bureau Foundation) as part of their gift-giving,” stated Terry.

Terry and Sherrie’s philanthropy began years ago when he started receiving royalties for anatomy and physiology college lab manuals he wrote for McGraw-Hill, while teaching at Kishwaukee College. The Martins established scholarship funds to benefit college students. They provided a substantial gift to the college where Terry taught for more than 45 years creating the new Terry and Sherrie Martin Health Careers Wing and funding supplies for biology labs and classes.

The Martin grandchildren “Enjoy the View” of the prairie at Afton Forest Preserve from the memorial bench their family donated in loving memory of their grandmother Sherrie.

A few years ago the Martins gave a legacy gift to the Farm Bureau Foundation, earmarked for agricultural outreach and education, and another gift memorializing Sherrie’s parents.

Terry served on the Farm Bureau Foundation Board for many years and has been a long-time DeKalb County Farm Bureau member.

Sherrie was raised on a farm in rural Waterman and was also passionate about the rural landscape. She established a prairie plot at Waterman Elementary where she taught for 25 years. She also took children on field trips to the Afton Forest Preserve and incorporated agriculture into her lesson plans. For her outstanding teaching in conservation, soil and water, she earned the Conservation Teacher of the Year Award in 1990. Sherrie passed away two years ago.

In loving memory of Sherrie, Terry and family provided a memorial bench overlooking the prairie at Afton Forest Preserve. On the back side of the bench it reads, “Enjoy the View”, the view that Sherrie enjoyed with her students and her family – Terry, son Ross, and family.

The Martin family maintains a unique pride in the prairie for so many reasons.

To learn more about the Terry and Sherrie Martin Family Community Agtivity Fund go to: