Prairie Research Institute Executive Director, William Shilts
Dr. William W. Shilts, a native of Hudson, Ohio, and graduate of DePauw, Miami of Ohio, and Syracuse Universities, was named Executive Director of the Prairie Research Institute, (originally the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability), July 1, 2008. The Institute, which comprises the Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, employs over 600 staff and has wide-ranging research and service programs in ground- and surface-water resources, climate, energy and mineral resources, ecosystems, invasive species, three-dimensional geologic mapping, and environmental geology. The Institute provides objective scientific information to state and federal agencies, units of local government, industry, and the public.
From 1995 to 2008, Dr. Shilts was director of the Illinois State Geological Survey where he made detailed three-dimensional geologic mapping a priority, recognizing that understanding the thick glacial deposits that blanket most of Illinois is critical to the state's economy and environment. Shilts also strengthened Survey efforts to create a comprehensive energy utilization program. The ultimate goal of the energy program is to ensure that Illinois abundant coal, oil, and biofuel resources are utilized in an environmentally benign way. Shilts also made the Surveys research accessible and understandable to the non-geologists who must use it in their planning and decision-making.
Dr. Shilts is a noted expert on the deposits of continental glaciers. He has published extensively on the physical and chemical characteristics of glacial sediments, environmental geochemistry, and the relationship of disrupted sediments to the recurrence rate and strength of prehistoric earthquakes. Shilts was employed by the Geological Survey of Canada in 1970 as Research Scientist in the Terrain Sciences Division. He served as Head of the Sedimentology and Mineral Tracing Section from 1973 to 1976, then served for a year as Head of the Sedimentology Research Group. From 1987 to 1995, Dr. Shilts was the Canadian Survey's Senior Quaternary Scientist, and then, from 1992 to 1995, he was Head of the Environmental Geochemistry Section in the Mineral Resources Division.
Dr. Shilts is also Adjunct Professor with the University of Illinois, the University of Quebec at Montreal, and Illinois State University.
You may wish to visit Dr. Shilts' Geologic Image Gallery, which contains photographs taken over the course of his research career as a glacial geologist.
Updated 07/19/11 AW