For a detailed schedule including abstracts, scroll down the page, or click on one of the sessions below to navigate. Registration IDs are listed prior to each title, and may be used to confirm your presentation selections when you register on Eventbrite. Presentations with the same registration ID are combined presentations.
Your selection of breakout session presentations at registration is advisory for the planning committee to assign meeting rooms and does not guarantee your seat in your first choice session.
8:00 a.m. Doors open
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Plenary Session
10:15 – 11:00 a.m. Breakout Session 1
11:15 – 12:00 p.m. Breakout Session 2
12:50 – 1:20 p.m. Lunch Session
1:30 – 2:00 p.m. Breakout Session 3
2:10 – 2:40 p.m. Breakout Session 4
2:50 – 3:20 p.m. Breakout Session 5
3:30 – 4:00 p.m. Breakout Session 6
4:10 – 4:55 p.m. Breakout Session 7
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Poster Session
6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Habitat 2030 Wink and Swillhelm After Party
9:00- 10:00 a.m.
Chicugly: Redefining Natural Beauty in Chicago
Emily Graslie, Creator of The Brain Scoop video blog and Chief Curiosity Correspondent for The Field Museum, and Robb Telfer, Calumet Outreach Coordinator for The Field Museum
When discussing conservation with the public, often select charismatic plants and animals are used as the faces of the work we are doing. But just like in human society, there’s much more to enjoy about the natural world than the conventionally attractive has to offer. This presentation celebrates all that is ugly and unloved by mainstream society as reflected in the flora and fauna of the Chicago region.
Closing the Cloud Factory: How Little Village Fought and Won for the Environment
Kim Wasserman, Executive Director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, and Jerome McDonnell, Host of WBEZ’s Worldview
A conversation about local community Organizing and environmental Justice.
BREAKOUT SESSION 1
10:15 – 11:00 a.m.
1A. Winter Trees: How to Know Your Ash from a Pole in the Ground
Jack Shouba, Morton Arboretum Instructor
You know the old joke: “How do you tell a dogwood? By its bark.” This presentation on local trees shows how you can identify many trees by their bark, but also by their shape, color, branching pattern, habitat, leaves, flowers, fruits, twigs and buds. We will pay special attention to the oaks and maples.
1B. Adventures in Conservation
Stephen Packard, Woods and Prairie Foundation
Not a technical account, more a story-telling approach, yet also considering principles and strategies. Celebrating exemplary volunteers and professionals. Backstories, challenges, even some secrets. What worked and what didn’t. Lessons happily learned (sometimes). Focus sites include: Norris Woods, Langham Island, Orland Grassland, Nachusa, and many other magical places.
1C. Flutter, Slither, and Buzz: Prioritizing Species Conservation in Chicago Wilderness
Allen Lawrance and Allison Sacerdote-Velat, Chicago Academy of Sciences and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
The Chicago Academy of Sciences leads conservation projects with the regal fritillary, smooth greensnake, and rusty-patched bumble bee, three CW Priority Species. We address challenges ranging from habitat loss, to disease and predation. Our approaches include captive rearing, headstarting, reintroduction, and community involvement intended to produce measurable benefits for our regional fauna.
1D. Blanding’s Turtle Conservation in the Chicago Wilderness Region: A Tale of Two Counties
Gary Glowacki, Lake County Forest Preserves; Dan Thompson, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
The Blanding’s Turtle is a long-lived semi-aquatic turtle in decline throughout its range primarily due to habitat loss, increased levels of predation, poaching and low levels of both juvenile and adult survivorship. In response to declines, the first regional Blanding’s Turtle recovery program was initiated by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County in 1996. Since that time several other land management agencies, including the Lake Country Forest Preserve District, have joined in on the efforts to recover the species. Learn how these regional recovery programs and Chicago Wilderness are using innovative conservation strategies such as head-starting, predator control, and habitat restoration to bolster local populations of this globally imperiled species.
1E. Snakes in the City
Joe Cavataio, Independent
A presentation on the snakes that call Chicago proper their home, with a focus on adaptation and the changing world.
1E. Ants in the Prairie
Susan Kirt, Shirley Heinze Land Trust
An introductory background on ants followed by the who, what and where of ants species in Chicagoland prairies and grassland reconstructions.
1F. The Peregrine Returns: From Decline to Recovery
Peggy Macnamara, The Field Museum and the Art Institute; Mary Hennen, The Field Museum
Once endangered and extirpated in Illinois from 1951 until 1986, the Peregrine Falcon population is now past historic levels. The presentation will take us through the decline to its recovery. We will explore how Peregrine Falcons and people deal with each other and other avian wildlife living in an urban area. Mary Hennon and Peggy Macnamara have collaborated to produce a new book, “The Peregrine Returns,” to be published in May 2017. The book tells the story of the Peregrines return to the Midwest.
1G. Synergies: All Hands on Deck to Save the Monarch
Iris Caldwell, University of Illinois-Chicago; Kaitlyn O’Connor, Prairie Moon Nursery; Kristen Voorhies, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Aimee Collins, Openlands
Monarch butterfly populations declined by as much as 90% over the last 20 years. Collaborative efforts are fostering conservation across sectors and an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to increase and improve habitat. Presenters will discuss these programs/partnerships. From education to policy and industry stakeholders to backyard gardeners, the monarch is a key rallying point for conservation today.
1H. Conservation Careers and Fun Summer Opportunities for Teens
Chental Handy, Chicago Park District; Amaris Alanis-Ribeiro, Chicago Botanic Gardens; Zach Taylor and Daiva Gylys, Friends of the Forest Preserves; Youth from Chicago Botanic Garden
Come learn about exciting summer opportunities for youth in and around Chicago. From researching plant conservation with the Chicago Botanic Garden to getting your hands dirty through the Friends of the Forest Preserves Conservation Corps, these Chicago experts will talk about the many exciting ways to connect to nature through programs and jobs for teens as well as tips for building capacity for teen programming.
1I. Urban Wild: The Art and Story of City Creatures
Gavin Van Horn, Center for Humans and Nature; Liam Heneghan, DePaul University; Lisa Roberts, naturalia, inc.
Stories provide a bridge between the sciences and the humanities, offering a critical public educational tool for communicating and reflecting upon urban wildlife issues. Our panel will explore the importance of story as a means to knowing the city and its nonhuman denizens by highlighting the City Creatures blog and book, City Creatures: Animal Encounters in the Chicago Wilderness.
1J. The Phenological Response of Native Plants to Changes in Weather and Climate
Thomas Simpson and Laura Roncal, McHenry County Conservation District
How might long-term climate change effect native plant growth and reproduction? Using archived phenological observations on hundreds of plant species from six years of record in the 1980s and three years of modern record, 2012, 2013, and 2014, we compare the two time periods and look across both to understand how changes in weather alter the blooming and growing periods of native plants.
1K. Hickory Creek Bio-Blitz: Engaging Citizen Scientists at a Watershed Scale
Dr. Lindsay Birt, Huff & Huff, Inc. and Hickory Creek Watershed Planning Group; Larissa Herrera, Huff & Huff, Inc.
Hickory Creek Bio-Blitz energizes community interest in water quality and provides much-needed scientific data for Hickory Creek Watershed Planning Group (HCWPG). The macroinvertebrates collected by over 100 citizen scientists and identified by professional biologists over the past three years will benefit HCWPG’s goal to monitor performance of future watershed improvements.
1K. Seven Rivers Run Through It!
Louis Mulé, Open Lands of Orland Park
Located on a true continental divide, seven streams run through Orland Park, with the headwaters of six of them local. As a result, forests, savannas, prairies and many wetland types occur on ground moraine. Understanding the existing geography and landscape facilitates decisions about selecting which areas are important for preservation & restoration. Where outright preservation is not possible, this also guides land development and land use decisions help natural area preservation.
BREAKOUT SESSION 2
11:15 – 12:00 p.m.
2A. Chicagoland Urban Coyote Project
Chris Anchor, Forest Preserves of Cook County
Come learn what’s new with the Chicagoland Urban Coyote Project, a cooperative venture between Max McGraw Wildlife and the Cook County Animal and Rabies Control, and The Ohio State University. The program is entering its sixteenth year, more than one thousand coyotes have been monitored, and every year we are learning more about this intrepid carnivore that lives in our midst.
2B. Headwater Streams – Our Little Understood Wild Habitat
Laura Barghusen and Ders Anderson, Openlands
Approximately 2500 headwater streams are distributed throughout our region. At best, 5% have been studied. Yet, many are high quality realms of biological diversity, and determine the health of our big rivers. Have we been long-ignoring a natural landscape in thousands of our backyards and neighborhoods? Openlands’ staff will describe the findings of its recently released Headwater Streams Report.
2C. Chicago’s Native Bees
Beth Kosson and Rebecca Tonietto, Saint Louis University
Did you know that our native bees don’t live in hives? In this presentation we will learn fun facts about our native bees! We’ll look at the differences between Honeybees and North American bees and check out some preliminary results from a 2016 native bee survey at community gardens, farms and vacant lots in the city of Chicago. It’ll be the bees’ knees! (Wait, do they even have knees?)
2C. At Home and in the Prairie, Bees and Pollinators through the Season.
Terry Miesle, Native Bee Awareness Initiative and Fermilab Natural Areas
Monitoring Dundee, IL for 10 years or so, and Fermilab Natural Areas for three years I’ve started to build a picture of the bees and other pollinators active in this region. Photographs are used to identify as best as possible, and are ideal to share with an audience.
2D. Bryophytes (Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts) of Cook County: Hidden Diversity and Implications for Local Conservation.
Kalman Strauss, The Field Museum
Bryophytes are the second largest group of plants, and are pivotal in our understanding of plant evolution. They are vital components of biodiversity in many regions of the world, including Cook County. They play important but often overlooked ecological roles and are indicators of climate change. Discussion includes identification tools and techniques for ecologists, naturalists, and educators.
2D. 100 Years of Thismia Hunting
Robb Telfer, The Field Museum; Linda Masters, Openlands, Nigel Pitman, The Field Museum; Trevor Edmonson, The Wetlands Initiative
When Norma Pfeiffer discovered Chicago’s only endemic plant species she probably didn’t think it would soon disappear, but that’s been Thismia americana’s fate. However there’s palpable plant nerd hope that it’s still out there. We’ll discuss the art and gossip of Thismia hunting and new hunting techniques to arm folks with the best possible chance to rediscover this diminutive botanical wonder.
2E. Illinois Pioneer Cemetery Prairies
Chris Benda, Illinois Botanizer
Illinois is known as “the prairie state” because of the vast 22 million acres of tallgrass prairie that once occurred here. Today, most of the original prairie is now farmland and many of the highest quality prairie remnants occur in pioneer cemeteries that have never been plowed. A selection of these sites now protected as Illinois nature preserves will be presented.
2E. Toward a Savanna Flora
Greg Rajsky, True Nature Consulting
The Midwest Oak Savanna remains a mystery unfolding, with researchers and practitioners identifying and reassembling the pieces over time. Our savannas were lost to settlement and other disruptions before there was ecology. What plants belong in our savannas? Absent acknowledged authority and clear consensus, let us take a few faltering steps toward establishing a flora of our fine-textured-soil savannas.
2F. A Collaborative Regional Approach to Grassland Bird Conservation
Daniel Suarez and Nat Miller, Audubon Great Lakes; Jim Herkert, Illinois Audubon Society
This presentation will be broken up into 3 sub-sections: 1) Using bird abundance models and ecosystem services valuations to inform grassland bird conservation in the Chicago Wilderness region. 2) Population Trends of Breeding Grassland Birds in CW Region. 3) Building a regional network of grassland stewards
2G. Current Corridor Initiatives – and What’s Next
Pam Todd, Chicago Living Corridor, West Cook Wild Ones; Carol Rice, Chicago Living Corridor and WPPC; Betsy Leibson, Friends of the Green Bay Trail; Iris Caldwell, Energy Resources Center – The University of Illinois at Chicago; Jim Kleinwachter, The Conservation Foundation – C@H
A panel representing different habitat corridor initiatives, will present on their respective strategies. Included will be: the WPPC’s mentoring program; the Green Bay Trail’s story of creating a native plant corridor on a municipal bike trail; ROW as Habitat will describe examples habitat along ROW easements, and Jim Kleinwachter of the Conservation Foundation’s Conservation@Home initiative.
2H. Engaging Chicago’s Next Generation
Diana Sanborn, Student Conservation Association; Meghan Forseth, The Field Museum; Rebecca Moss, Forest Preserves of Cook County
The presentation will be an overview of two successful elementary school environmental education programs: the SCA’s Urban Treehouse program and Mighty Acorns. The Urban Treehouse was launched in 2015 and provides free environmental education programming to Chicago-area students (K-8) through schools and the Chicago Park District. Mighty Acorns has over 20 years of success in the Chicago region by working with over 20 partner organizations, land managers, schools, and children.
2I. A Monarch’s View of the City: A Geospatial Planning Tool and Social-Science Collaboration
Mark Johnston Ph.D., Marc Lambruschi, and Alexis Winter, The Field Museum
The Field Museum, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and partners along the monarch butterfly’s flyway have developed an urban monarch conservation model. In this session, we’ll share our findings on local conservation practices, refine the model with input, and brainstorm ways to collaborate to protect the monarch. We will also discuss, a newly developed tool for increasing available monarch habitat based on engagement strategies and planning scenarios.
2J. Past, Present and Future: Understanding Climate Change in the Chicago Region
Molly Woloszyn, Illinois State Water Survey and Illinois Indiana Sea Grant at UIUC; Susan Ask, animalia project
How much has the climate changed in northeastern Illinois? And what can we expect in the future? We’ll explore the latest data– looking at historical trends and short-term and long-term projections. We’ll talk precipitation, temperature, growing season and flooding to get a better understanding of the climatic conditions that affect the landscape and life of the region. Bring your questions and observations – we’ll have time for discussion.
2K. Managing Aquatic Resources on a Landscape Level
Scott Meister, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
A multi-faceted approach to watershed management is necessary to make a regional, lasting, and beneficial impact on our aquatic ecosystems. This presentation will focus on a local stream restoration project and mention efforts to propagate freshwater mussel populations, cooperate with regional partners, and educate residents on aquatic invasive species.
2K. Aquatic Invasive Species in Trade
Greg Hitzroth, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
About a quarter of the 186 non-indigenous species in the Great Lakes arrived via the organisms in trade (OIT) pathway (e.g. water gardens, aquariums, etc.). Proper disposal of unwanted aquatic life and purchasing non-invasive or potentially invasive species are some behaviors that can prevent the introduction of new aquatic invasive species (AIS). Current and future outreach efforts will be discussed.
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
A Summer in Logan Square: Cicadas and Pokemon Go
Giovanni Aloi, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Summer 2016 will be remembered for Pokemon Go – evenings spent searching for 722 fictional species of monsters. I spent my summer evenings looking for dog-day cicada nymphs crawling out of the ground to transform into winged adults. This talk looks at the usually invisible, albeit very audible, insect – considering the importance of animal representation and environmental awareness in our everyday life. What are we bound to lose if we keep on looking in the wrong places?
Deb Krohn, FrogLady Presentations
Why are bats and snakes scary but bunnies are cuddly? Animal Fears tackle these questions and a lot more in this entertaining, humorous and hands-on presentation. We’ll see the psychology behind animal fears and how they impact conservation efforts throughout the country. Lots of live reptiles and invertebrates will be on hand to help us really understand what’s going on.
Online Learning for Volunteer Stewards: Strengthening Resources for Ecological restoration
Will Overbeck, Kurt Dreisilker, Megan Dunning, Carissa Dougherty, and Annalisa Burke, The Morton Arboretum
The Morton Arboretum is developing a new blended learning format to support educational needs of volunteer stewards conducting restoration. The multimedia initiative combines online modules, field experiences and traditional classes. This teaching style allows audiences to access interactive course materials from home computers or mobile devices, which strengthens capacity in community engagement.
Spinning a Yarn: Restorationists as Story-Weavers and Culture-Keepers
Andrew Van Gorp, Sustain DuPage
Storytelling is an important means of cultural adoption of Pro-Earth values and lifestyle transition. This talk will discuss the culture that manifests uniquely at restoration days and opportunities to expand Restoration and Regeneration Culture. It will cover the modern indigenous resistance to neo-colonialism and the need for a rainbow coalition of Pro-Earth people to join together in solidarity to restore the planet and prepare for Earth Degeneration.
The Chicago Wilderness Story- From the Beginning
Judy Speer and Jack Speer, Small Waters Education
Hear the voices of science and wisdom tell our 13.7 billion year story of creativity, beauty, and survival. This workshop will share how the power of story can help strengthen community, increase appreciation for our unique region, and deepen our sense of belonging to the land.
Telling a Story With Photography
Susan Kirt, Susan Kirt Photography
How can photographs enrich a discussion about a preserve, organization, or organism? This talk will include a section focused on macrophotography.
The BCN Survey: Monitoring Chicagoland’s Birds
Emma England, Bird Conservation Network
Do you want to make a difference for birds? Why not join BCN’s group of citizen scientists and become a bird monitor. Join BCN representatives to learn all about the region’s largest bird survey. Hear about how you can get involved and priority sites that need monitors.
BREAKOUT SESSION 3
1:30 – 2:00 p.m
3A. Seeing Prairie – Taking a Closer Look at Prairie and its Recreation
Don Gardner, Independent
In 1974 a prairie reconstruction project was started on a permanent pasture in northern Ford Co. by the village of Kempton. This is a summary of experiences encountered in establishing prairie plantings across the field with a discussion of factors considered essential for successful prairie reconstruction. There are examples of interactions among plants and between plants and animal life.
3B. Lobelia Meadows: Sewage Treatment Facility to Wetland Mosaic
Trevor Edmonson, The Wetlands Initiative
A story about the restoration of Lobelia Meadows which was once a large sewage treatment facility within the vast complex of the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant. Today it is part of the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and over the last five years it has become a complex wetland system. You will learn about the site history, the infrastructure removal, the restoration of hydrology and return of native flora.
3C. When Endangered Species Aren’t Anymore: What De-listing Means for Rare Species, and the Role of Citizen Science
Rachel Goad, Plants of Concern – Chicago Botanic Garden
Plants of Concern has monitored rare plant species in the Chicago region for 16 years and submitted this data to state agencies charged with species conservation. In 2014, a handful of the most heavily monitored species were removed from Illinois’ list of threatened and endangered species. These listing changes, their impact, and the contribution of citizen science to them will be discussed.
3D. Acoustic Bat Monitoring and White-Nose Syndrome
Melissa Alderson, Lake County Forest Preserves
LCFPD offers an opportunity to teach public about bats through collecting data. While hiking, bat species are determined, due to unique echolocation, using AnaBat2. This presentation will include local bat natural history, benefits of bats, white-nose syndrome, equipment used, results from monitoring, and what you can do to help the little brown bat, a Chicago Wilderness priority species.
3E. Presettlement Landscapes of Illinois: Implications for Restoration and Management
John C Nelson, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
This presentation uses records of the U.S. General Land Office to compare and contrast pre-European-American landscapes with present-day landscapes. Implications for restoration and management will be discussed, particularly how trees have become a serious management problem in so many of our natural communities.
3F. New Uses for BCN Transect Data from Chicago Urban Parks
Eric D Gyllenhaal and Bob Fisher, Bird Conservation Network
BCN transect data from Chicago westside parks reveal how birds use these urban spaces. Using graphs and charts of count and breeding code data, seasonal patterns can be related to park resources. BCN data can inform and educate a wide range of park managers and stakeholders through informal conversations, Facebook groups, park cleanups, park advisory council, neighborhood meetings, and more.
3G. CLC Introduces Private Property Corridor Mapping: Green Infrastructure Mapping Can be Used to Identify Priority Habitat Corridors
David Holman, Chicago Living Corridor; Dennis Dreher, Boone Creek Watershed Alliance
Dave Holman will discuss I-View (Prairie State Conservation Coalition) and how Chicago Living Corridor‘s mapping shows connectivity to conservation lands. Dennis Dreher will talk about the McHenry County Green Infrastructure Plan and specifically how this plan is being implemented in the county.
3H. Promoting and Activating Nature Play Spaces: A Regional Perspective and Case Study
Emilian Geczi, Center for Humans and Nature; Eduardo Paz and Ivonne Chavez, The Student Conservation Association
Emilian Geczi will present the findings of a study that analyzed online promotional materials and on-site signage at 15 nature play areas in the Chicago Wilderness in order to understand how agencies communicate about nature play. Eduardo Paz and Ivonne Chavez will then share their story about working with young adults and other community members to develop and activate “Jardincito,” a nature play garden in La Villita neighborhood.
3I. Archaeological Resource Management in the Forest Preserves of Cook County: Connecting Chicago’s Past with its Present Community
Paula Porubcan Branstner, llinois State Archaeological Survey; Andy Johnson and Tarenica Brooks, Greencorps Chicago
Over 600 archaeological sites are located within the Forest Preserves of Cook County, representing 12,000 years of continuous human occupation in the Chicago area. A unique Greencorps Chicago program gives interns the opportunity to work one-on-one with Illinois State Archaeological Survey professionals, connecting with the region’s history while assisting in critical resource management projects.
3J. The Myth of the Balance of Nature (Or: If a Species is Trashing the Planet, Why Humans are the Best-Case Scenario)
Ray Dybzinski – Loyola Institute of Environmental Sustainability
Our culture is awash in ideas that are contradicted by the well-established theory of natural selection. For example: “Everything in nature is in balance (until humans get involved).” Or: “(Except for humans) the natural community works together for the betterment of all.” I will explode these myths and replace them with something that is (1) grounded in science and (2) ultimately more hopeful.
3K. Native Mussels and Freshwater Sponges: Potential as Bioindicators
Jennifer Slate, Annie Harris, and Karen Segura, Northeastern Illinois University
Native mussels and freshwater sponges have potential as bioindicators due to keystone roles as filter feeders and relative ease of collection. We assessed their ability to reflect water quality in the Chicago River’s North Branch. Their presence is promising, as unionid mussels are the most imperiled freshwater group in North America, and sponges were only recently reported in this urban stream.
BREAKOUT SESSION 4
2:10 – 2:40 p.m
4A. Cooperation in the Restoration of a Calcareous Fen
Roberta Lammers-Campbell, Loyola University of Chicago – LUREC; Randy J. Stowe, BioTechnical Erosion Control; Mike Redmer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
LUREC is private land being restored with the help of governmental and private grants and donations. Its history, present condition, and future plans will be discussed. The issues involved are the importance of: – Follow-up to buckthorn clearing with appropriate management -Financial support to such efforts -Professionals who advise owners about restoration techniques and funding sources.
4B. Lessons Learned from 30 Years of Restoring Tallgrass Prairie at Nachusa Grasslands
Cody Considine, The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy’s Nachusa Grasslands began restoring tallgrass prairie in 1986. Over the past 29 years, Nachusa has planted over 120 prairie plantings that have been recognized as some of the best examples of prairie restorations in the Midwest. Throughout the 29 year journey we have made plenty of mistakes and learned from them. This presentation will highlight the “lessons we’ve learned” and what we do to create high quality tallgrass prairie restorations.
4C. Age Structure of Trees in DuPage County Forest Preserves
Scott N. Kobal, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
Core samples and cross sections were taken from 1000+ trees in study plots in oak-dominated DuPage County woodlands starting in 2006. Tree ring analysis was conducted on the samples to produce the age structure of specific species and stands within the county. The results of the sampling will be presented as well as the historical implications and future management considerations for these ecosystems.
4D. Examining Amphibian Community Response to Oak Woodland Restoration
Allison Sacerdote-Velat, Chicago Academy of Sciences and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Amphibian diversity, population dynamics and health may be influenced by changes in vegetation structure. Restoration measures promoting oak regeneration may alter terrestrial and aquatic habitat characteristics. We are examining amphibian community and health response as oak woodland restoration progresses in several Lake County Forest Preserves along the Des Plaines River.
4E. Storm Water Benefits of Restoration at Deer Grove East Preserve
Joseph Roth, Openlands; Aaron Feggestad, Stantec Consulting
Openlands in conjunction with the FPCC and Stantec Consulting utilized the USEPA Storm Water Management Model to assess the before and after affects of natural area restoration (wetlands and associated upland) on storm water in 2014 and 2015 at Deer Grove East Preserve in Palatine. This talk will highlight the results of the modeling and what it is telling us about the restoration and storm water.
4F. #BirdthePreserves: What we Learned About Chicago-Area Birds this Year
Douglas Stotz, The Field Museum
In 2016, Cook County Forest Preserves sponsored #BirdthePreserves. It resulted in hundreds of birders focusing their efforts on covering more than 20 Forest Preserve sites in Cook Co. I will talk about new information about birds in the Chicago area that came from this effort. I will describe what we learned about distribution, abundance, timing of migration, and breeding from all those observers.
4G. The Front Yard as Habitat: One Family’s Adventure Living with Nature, and the Far-Reaching Benefits.
Ders Anderson, Land Conservancy of McHenry County
A personal reflection on the many, unexpected experiences, over a 30 year period, of transforming a 1 1/2 acre yard into native habitat.
4H. Picking Sites for Stewardship
Laura Milkert and Mario Longoni, The Field Museum
The Field Museum’s Keller Science Action Center works to integrate the disciplines of anthropology and ecology into a community engagement strategy. This session presents lessons learned and ongoing challenges in helping local volunteers discover natural area stewardship. By defining stewardship broadly, we hope to continue to grow the community of people who see their home as a living ecosystem.
4I. Seamless Stewardship: Unifying the Cultural and Natural Landscape in the Calumet Region
Madeleine Tudor and Mark Bouman, The Field Museum
The National Park Service’s National Heritage Area designation recognizes the inseparability of natural and cultural heritage in any landscape. This designation would be ideal for the Calumet Region that combines rare habitats, heavy industry, and deliberate efforts to shape regional identity. We want you to learn about the opportunities and challenges of realizing the potential of a Calumet National Heritage Area.
4J. Singing Insects 101
Carl A. Strang, Retd. Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
This presentation will provide an overview of the singing insects (crickets, katydids, cicadas, and 3 subfamilies of grasshoppers) of the Chicago region. In addition to images and sound recordings of common species, there will be comments on conservation concerns and several ongoing range expansions.
4K. Urban Wilds at Eden Place
Michael Howard, Eden Place Nature Center
The adage that if you build it they will come is truly happening at Eden Place Nature Center. Come and hear how Michael Howard will showcase all of the different types of wild animals that the Nature Preserve has attracted over the years.
4S. The Tree of Life and Inspiration
Judith Joseph, Chicago Botanic Garden Faculty
Since early childhood, my love of art has been tied to my experience of the natural world. I will show my art and discuss how nature is the well-spring for my spiritual life, which is indivisible from my creative expression.I am interested in the chemistry and origins of natural pigments in paint. I make my own egg tempera paint, mixing pigments and egg yolk.I make black walnut ink from my own tree.
BREAKOUT SESSION 5
2:50 – 3:20 p.m
5A. Our Region’s Remnant Oak Ecosystems
Karra Barnes and Matt Evans, Chicago Wilderness
Chicago Wilderness is mapping current and historic remnant oak ecosystems across parts of four states, 38 counties, and eleven watersheds that make up the CW Region. In this presentation, we will present an overview of the oak mapping project. We will discuss the various ways CW and its members and partners are working together through a collective impact framework to save our region’s oak ecosystems.
5B. The Fruits of Our Labor
Kelly Schultz, Lake County Forest Preserve District
Seed collecting is a key part of restoration, and can be easy and a lot of fun. What is not so easy is figuring out how to identify the seeds when they look similar. Learn about different categories of native seeds – fluffy seeds, coneheads, velcros, ballistics, shakers, and more – and how to tell when they are ripe and how to collect them.
5C. Heron You Heard? Black-Crowned Night Herons Return to Chicago
Maria Jazmin Rios, Urban Wildlife Institute – Lincoln Park Zoo
The black-crowned night heron is an Illinois state-endangered bird, with its largest state population occurring in Chicago. Over 6 years of monitoring, their numbers increased from 48 to 602. Our efforts have improved our understanding of nest locations and the preference to provide better recommendations for management. We will also briefly discuss Lincoln Park Zoo’s wildlife research around Chicago.
5D. Covering Ground: Designing a Seed Mix to Restore Ravine Slopes
Rebecca Grill and Liz Ettelson, Park District of Highland Park
While much has been done to restore north shore ravines on public land, most property is in private hands. Outreach to homeowners is crucial. The Park District of Highland Park and Chicago Botanic Garden tested 3 seed mixes under varying conditions of light and soil prep. We have results with implications for homeowners (and professionals) who want to cost effectively stabilize ravine slopes.
5E. Weed Scouts: Using Smartphone Apps to Achieve Better Invasive Species Management
Daniel Suarez, Audubon Great Lakes; Anne Stake, Volunteer Weed Scout Coordinator – Deer Grove Natural Areas Volunteers; David Bart, Stantec
Weed Scouts is a volunteer program that utilizes the smartphone app iNaturalist. Volunteers are given a set area to monitor, and use iNaturalist to record the locations of invasive species. The data is projected onto an online map that can be shared with others to find and treat invasive species. This program has proved to be highly successful at Deer Grove East, and will be expanded to three new sites in 2017.
5F. Influence of Habitat and Landscape on the Occupancy of Shrubland Birds
Kyle Van den Bosch, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
To facilitate efforts to create and manage shrublands for conservation priority birds, we set out to understand relationships between habitat and surrounding landscapes on the occupancy of shrubland-dependent bird species. Of the 25 species examined, most species responded positively to both the number of shrub patches and total shrub cover, but some species exhibited negative or peaked responses.
5G. Nurseries: The Conundrum of Meeting Increasing Demand for Native Seeds and Plants
Kaitlyn O’Connor, Prairie Moon Nursery; Jan Sorenson, Wasco Nursery & Garden Center, Inc.
This conversation wIll discuss the producer’s dilemma of balancing risk, supply, and demand in the native seed industry. We will also discuss “nativars,” truth in advertising, and the importance of genetic integrity.
5H. Centennial Volunteers: A Panel Discussion Developing Stewardship Communities
Josh Coles and Fatimah Al-Nurridin, Friends of the Forest Preserves; Joanne Dill, Friends of the Chicago River
The CV project, which aims to build and grow self sustaining stewardship communities, began in 2014 and lessons have been learned. A project update will be given, but more importantly we will discuss strategies for the future. What has worked? How do we make our communities even stronger? How do we engage young, diverse, and energetic stewards? This discussion will thrive with volunteer input.
5I. Chicago Nature: Spreading the Good Word
Mike MacDonald, Mike MacDonald Photography
The Chicago area is home to over 350 square miles of natural area. Yet, most Chicagoans haven’t a clue. And because you can’t love and support something that doesn’t exist, the educational website ChicagoNatureNow.com was created to introduce Chicagoans to the region’s natural wonders. This creative session will explore how to best use the website to spread the good word and increase volunteerism.
5J. Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie: Three Decades of Sustaining Grassland Bird Populations in the Chicago Wilderness Region
Jim Herkert, Illinois Audubon Society, William Glass, U.S. Forest Service – Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Amy Chabot
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie was established by the Illinois Land Conservation Act to conserve populations of fish, wildlife and plants. Annual breeding bird surveys have been conducted here for over 30 years and show that several grassland bird species have stable or increasing trends demonstrating the importance of this site to regional and even national bird conservation efforts.
5K. The Forest Preserve of Cook County: Evolution of Fire
John McCabe, Forest Preserves of Cook County
This presentation covers the development of a formal fire program and all aspects of implementation of that program across the Preserve’s holdings. I will talk briefly about the history of fire as a management tool at the FPCC and across the country and how we apply it at the FPCC today.
5S. A Novel Card Game about Restoration: How to Play
Chris Benda, Illinois Botanizer; Susan Barry, Game Co-creator
A novel card game has been developed to make restoration fun! To win the game, be the first to apply all 3 management techniques (fire, invasives control, thinning) and supplement your natural area with conservative, native plant species. Thwart your opponents with sabotage cards. The game is intended to be played in the field after workdays. This exercise will go through the game play.
BREAKOUT SESSION 6
3:30 – 4:00 p.m.
6A. Gullies and the Chicago River System
Mark Hauser, Friends of the Chicago River
Friends of the Chicago River developed a project to analyze gullies along the Chicago River system. As unnatural channels that encourage sediment and contaminants to enter the river, gullies in our region are in need of remediation. This presentation will highlight Friends’ gully assessment protocol, restoration techniques, successes, and strategies for continued gully remediation for future generations.
6B. Using Citizen Science to Measure Monarch Population Dynamics in Chicago Wilderness
Doug Taron, Chicago Academy of Sciences and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Monarch population trends have been documented primarily for overwintering populations in Mexico. Data from the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network have recently shown a disconnect between population trends on the wintering grounds in Mexico and those here in the Chicago Wilderness region. The milkweed limitation hypothesis alone may be insufficient to account for declines observed in Mexico.
6C. Seed Mixes to Sites: Tallgrass Prairie Composition and Biodiversity
Rebecca Barak, Northwestern University and Chicago Botanic Garden
Seed mix design is a key step for diverse, functional restorations. However, there is much to learn about relationships between seed mixes and resultant restored communities. We will discuss these patterns using data from 19 restored tallgrass prairies in the Chicago Wilderness area. We will also report on diversity and composition of commercial mixes compared to remnant and restored prairies.
6D. The Past Distribution, Abundance, and Ecological Effects of the American Bison in and around the Chicago Region
John White, Ecological Services
This presentation addresses five questions: Where did American Bison occur in the region around the south end of Lake Michigan? How abundant were they throughout history and prehistory, and what determined their numbers? What effects did bison have on the vegetation, soil, and habitats of other species? What are the implications of this information for the management of grassland preserves and restorations?
6E. The Illinois Fire Needs Assessment – A Call to Action
Bill Kleiman, The Nature Conservancy – Nachusa Grasslands
How much prescribed fire are we doing in Illinois? How much do we need to be doing? Hear the results and recommendations from this important assessment.
6F. Predictive Provenancing: Can Southern Sourced Seeds be used in Midwest Restoration Efforts?
Christopher Woolridge, Northwestern University and Chicago Botanic Garden
Current seed sourcing strategies attempt to use local seeds due to evidence of local adaptation and non-locally sourced seeds being maladapted. However, alternative methods have been suggested that would use genotypes currently adapted to predicted conditions. Using a common garden experiment, I am comparing phenology and relative fitness in three species across a latitudinal gradient.
6F. Prairies in the City: Mimicking Illinois’ Natural Habitats on Green Roofs
Kelly Ksiazek-Mikenas, Northwestern University and Chicago Botanic Garden
Small urban habitats like green roofs could support biodiversity but they are usually planted with non-native species. Native plants might survive, but their use has not been widely tested. I used vegetation and soil surveys of shortgrass prairies to establish green roofs that mimicked local natural areas. The data show it’s possible to establish prairie-like communities on green roofs.
6G. Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary, a City/Volunteer Collaboration
Libby Hill, Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary; Wendy Pollock, Evanston TreeKeepers
Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary was created when Northwestern University cut down a significant number of trees that served as an important bird migratory refuge along Lake Michigan in adjacent Evanston. The presentation will describe how the city and citizen volunteers re-created a bird sanctuary on the beach and work together to manage the sanctuary.
6G. West Ridge Nature Preserve: Chicago Park District’s New Nature Preserve’s First Year
Thomas Murphy, West Ridge Nature Preserve – Park Advisory Council
Chicago acquired 21 acres of land containing a 4.6 acre pond from Rosehill Cemetery in 2005. The Park District has converted this ecologically degraded area into a nature preserve containing prairie, wetland, aquatic, savanna and woodland habitats. Work on site began in 2014 and it was dedicated in Sept. 2015. The rebuilding efforts and its future prospects will be described.
6H. Urban Forestry Volunteers
Al De Reu, TreeKeepers – Openlands
TreeKeepers Program Manager Al De Reu and Planting Manager Michael Dugan will discuss the past, present, and future of Openlands’ TreeKeepers program; which trains volunteers to plant and maintain trees in the Chicago Region. TreeKeepers celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2016 and looks to expand its operations in the coming years.
6I. 7 Secrets the Government Does Not Want You To Know: Advocacy 101
Douglas Chien, Friends of the Forest Preserves
We all want something. This presentation will help you get it. Like it or not most of our protected lands are managed by a governmental entity. Come learn a basic framework for generating influence to get what you want.
6J. Celebrating Conservation Through Diversity
Troy Peters, Audubon Chicago Region; Safari Bahanuzi, RefugeeOne Intensive Case Manager; Soo Lon Moy, Chinese-American Museum of Chicago Board President
This panel will examine recent efforts by Audubon Great Lakes to use the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial as an opportunity to connect conservation to communities who have not traditionally been involved. Through community gatherings and celebrations that introduce diverse range of residents to the ecological treasures within the Chicago area, the partners co-create culturally resonant environmental programming.
6K. From Seeds to Social Justice
Andre Copeland, The Chicago Zoological Society – Brookfield Zoo
There is great concern over the decline of pollinators such as Honeybees, Bumblebees, and Monarch Butterflies. However, children’s health and illiteracy are extremely important issues in their own rite. This session will look at the Chicago Zoological Society’s “Communities and Nature” program partnerships that support literacy initiatives and promote chemical free gardening techniques that lead to healthier communities for people, wildlife, and nature.
6S. Grab Your Pencils – Drawing as a Restoration Strategy
Kathleen Garness, Friends of Hosah Prairie
Stewardship is enhanced by eyes that notice subtle differences or changes over time. Nothing hones visual skills better than drawing. This interactive session dispels the myth that you need to be an ‘artist’ to draw. Using inexpensive tools, participants will learn to easily capture visual data and experience how stewardship and drawn journals are complementary. Digital handouts will be available.
BREAKOUT SESSION 7
4:10 – 4:55 p.m.
7A. The Continuing Saga of the Eastern Prairie White-Fringed Orchid at Somme Prairie Grove
Lisa Culp Musgrave, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The North Branch Restoration Project
Learn the inspiring story of the restoration of the Eastern Prairie White Fringed Orchid at Somme Prairie Grove, especially since 2008, when one volunteer put some extra time and TLC into caging and pollinating, increasing the population from just a few flowering plants, to over 250.
7A. Genetic Monitoring and Assessment of Recovery Practices in the Threatened Orchid Platanthera leucophaea
Claire Ellwanger, Chicago Botanic Garden
In collaboration with the USFWS, volunteers have conducted over 20 years of genetic restoration in the Chicago region to recover populations of the eastern prairie fringed orchid. We conducted a genetic monitoring study to measure the impacts of these practices. This work informs future recovery planning for this orchid as well as other species facing reproductive failure in fragmented habitats.
7B. Doing it Secretively in the Marsh: How the Monitoring of Breeding Marsh Birds is Inspiring Wetland Restoration in the Calumet Region.
Nat Miller, Audubon Great Lakes; Walter Marcisz, Chicago Audubon Society
Wetland birds of the Calumet region have faced precipitous declines over the past 30 years. The conversion of rich marsh to open-water ponds or mono-cultures of invasive species has put secretive marsh species like Common Gallinule, Least Bittern and King Rail on the fast-track to extirpation. However, new and intensive monitoring and wetland restoration is setting the stage for an amazing comeback story.
7B. Conservation Action Planning to Restore Marsh Habitat in Chicago’s Calumet Region
Gary Sullivan, The Wetlands Initiative
Conservation action planning for the Calumet wetlands has been done to inform and facilitate future restoration and management actions. Our goal was to determine how to reverse wetland decline and facilitate the restoration of lost marsh and wildlife habitat. The restoration potential of 21 sites was assessed in regard to managing hydrology, invasive species, landfilling and ecotoxicology.
7C. Long-term Trends in Midwestern Milkweed Numbers and Their Relevance for Monarchs
Greg Spyreas, Illinois Natural History Survey
Declines in Milkweed abundances are assumed responsible for declines in Monarch butterfly numbers. We use data from the most exhaustive Milkweed surveys ever conducted to test whether the Monarch’s host plants are declining, and whether this explains butterfly declines. We also describe what these results mean for land management and land use in the Midwest if Monarchs are to be conserved.
7D. Conservation, Education and Stewardship for Endangered Insects in Illinois
Mallory Sbelgio, Miami University and Chicago Zoological Society
Illinois is home to thousands, if not millions of insects. Some of these insects are beloved while others are mostly forgotten, ignored, or loathed. Just as mammals are threatened by the sprawl of human civilization, so too are insects. There are 15 threatened/endangered species of insects in Illinois and an up-and-coming non profit aims to change the attitude communities have toward them.
7D. From Grassroots to Deep Roots: Small Organizations With Big Ambitions
Dana Sievertson, Agnes Wojnarski, Ed Madden and John Kamysz, Commissioners PHNRC
The Prospect Heights Natural Resources Commission, founded in February 2014, has received two Green Regions grants, started a greenhouse program, created a website, a monthly news journal, documentary videos, a speaking circuit, naturalized resident lawns, managed remnant seed sources, a wetland, a prairie conversion, and an interactive nature preserve for children.
7E. The Return of the River Otter
Chris Anchor, Forest Preserves of Cook County
In 2016 the Forest Preserves of Cook County launched The Chicagoland Urban Otter project, a new collaborative project that endeavors to understand this marshland apex predator. Wildlife staff hopes that this project can evolve into an urban study much like the Chicagoland Urban Coyote project. Audience members will get a behind-the-scenes look at our region’s newest predator research project.
7E. Oh Deer! What Telemetry is Telling us about White-tailed Deer in Cook County
Michael Neri, Forest Preserves of Cook County
The Forest Preserves of Cook County’s wildlife staff uses telemetry as an active management tool capturing and radio-collaring bucks. This presentation will provide an overview of the Forest Preserves’ deer telemetry program and how it helps us understand the movements, dispersal, and survival of deer, as well as help us monitor disease and other problems concerning deer in the Chicago region.
7F. Nesting Swainson’s Hawks in Illinois
Robert Morgan, Loyola University Chicago; Anita Morgan, St. Xavier University
Since the 1970’s small numbers of Swainson’s hawks have nested in north-east Illinois. This presentation will describe what is known about the history of this discrete breeding population up to 2016, and give details on the life history and behavior of this rare Illinois raptor.
7F. Little Falcon, Big Problems: Understanding the Decline of the American Kestrel
Charles T. Rizzo, Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Come learn about one of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s newest wildlife studies: The American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) Program. Launched in the spring of 2016, this study hopes to contribute to a better understanding of why North America’s smallest falcon is experiencing a decline in its population.
7G. Birdscaping Your Yard
Mariette Nowak, Wild Ones
Mariette Nowak, author of Birdscaping in the Midwest, will discuss how to attract birds to your yard with an emphasis on using native shrubs. Birds are barometers of the health of natural habitats and by monitoring their populations, we can evaluate the success of our habitat restoration efforts. A bird garden is effective way to contribute to critically important habitat corridors for wildlife.
7H. Working with Communities When Conservation is Unwelcome: A Case Study and Tools
Erika Hasle and Alexis Winter, The Field Museum Keller Science Action Center; Casemmie “Johari” Cole-Kweli, Lorenzo R. Smith Sustainability and Technology Academy
Conservation land is not always welcome. Field Museum staff and their community partners will discuss prevalent concerns that arise and examine a case study of reactions to existing and proposed protected land in Pembroke Township, IL. We’ll share tools we’ve developed to work with, rather than against, a community’s history and culture to achieve positive outcomes for both people and nature.
7I. Creative Placemaking in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor: Weaving Culture and Nature
Aasia Mohammad Castañeda and Jacob Campbell, The Field Museum; Naureen Rana and Carolina Macias, Chicago Park District, Andy Bellomo, Set in Stone Gathering Space; Artists from other Gathering Spaces
The Roots and Routes Initiative will present on a collaborative project designed to deepen connections between residents and a south lakefront natural area. Select artists and community organizations from Bronzeville, Chinatown, and Pilsen designed and installed gathering spaces inspired by the role of nature in Black, Chinese, and Latino heritage.
7J. Fifty Shades of Green: Tales from the Field and Shedd on Winning Hearts and Minds with Native Plants, Pollinators, and Sustainable Landscaping
Carter O’Brien, The Field Museum; Christine Nye, Shedd Aquarium
Native gardens play a critical role supporting pollinators and improving soil health while also reducing the need for chemicals and irrigation. Christine and Carter will speak about the evolution of the landscaping on two Museum Campus iconic institutions, the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum, and offer practical advice for those interested in pursuing similar improvements.
7J. Space to Grow: Greening Chicago Schoolyards
Kristin LoVerde, Openlands; Meg Kelly, Healthy Schools Campaign
Space to Grow transforms Chicago schoolyards into spaces that provide students, their families and communities with opportunities for physical activity, outdoor learning and environmental literacy while managing stormwater. Space to Grow reconnects communities with their local public schools, provides much-needed green space in heavily urbanized neighborhoods and addresses neighborhood flooding.
7K. Stormwater Strategies and Solutions
John Legge, The Nature Conservancy; Liliana Hernandez Gonzalez, Northwestern University; Byron Tsang, Chicago Park District; Charles O’Leary, Forest Preserves of Cook County
Many urban natural areas receive excess stormwater from adjacent residential or commercial land, causing ecological damage. At some sites we have figured out how to handle stormwater, even as a potential resource for site management. The panel will briefly profile three Calumet sites with varying stormwater challenges, followed by a discussion and question-and-answer seeking common opportunities.