2013 Wild Things Conference


February 2nd, 2013 was another wonderful Wild Things conference. Here are some comments the organizers have received:

  • “Another SUPER conference. Nothing can describe the passion and energy that flows throughout the entire day.”
  • “This is my favorite conference of all professional conferences I go to. It’s so interesting!”
  • “The best Wild Things ever!!!”
  • “Nothing can compare to my 1st Wild Things experience (2009)—connecting with this community was a very special experience—now it’s just like a big family reunion.”
  • “This is my second Wild Things conference. I will not miss the next. Great stuff and important conversation. Inspiring!”
  • “We should think of it in terms of a biennial plant—In the first year, energies go to establishing the strong foundation; second year, the spectacular blossoming! This and anticipation makes it all worth the wait.”
  • “Feels good to know so many people care nature may survive.”
  • “Thank you—you are a great group for getting it all organized so beautifully.”

Here are some statistics:

  • 1163 registrants
  • 44 volunteer organizers
  • 170 presenters
  • 89 sessions plus 2 keynotes
  • 31 exhibitors
  • 10 sponsors

Thank you all for making it the great day it was!

We have included a copy of the iconpdf program book—please share it with local groups or individuals who may be interested in our conference or presenters.  Please refer to Wild Things Conference Materials for conference resources and handouts given out by presenters.

The people who brought you Wild Things

Conference Co-Chairs

Jane Balaban, North Branch Restoration Project; Mary Lou Mellon, Bird Conservation Network

Program Committee

Karen Tharp, The Nature Conservancy; Greg Rajsky, Lone Oak Fen; Judy Pollock, Audubon Chicago Region; Pete Jackson, Deer Grove; Benjamin Cox, Friends of the Forest Preserves; Karen Glennemeier, Habitat Project; Stephen Packard, Somme Prairie Grove; Michelle Uting and Jacqui Ulrich, Forest Preserve District of Cook County; Abigail Derby, Field Museum; Marianne Hahn, Friends of Kankakee Sands; Sophie Twichell, Chicago Botanic Garden; Mike Redmer, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Publicity Committee

Lisa Culp, North Branch Restoration Project; Tom Lang; Greg Landgraf; Christine Esposito, Terracom Public Relations, Inc.

Logistics Committee

Gina Lettiere (Chair), Loyola University; Chris Parson (Registration Captain) Assistant Steward, Schiller Prairie, Robinson Woods, St. Paul Woods; Marilyn L. Schweitzer and Tom Lang, Habitat Project; Catherine Tabares, Northeastern Illinois University; Judy Pollock and Janis Wesley, Audubon Chicago Region

Support Desk

Tom Lang, Habitat Project

Exhibitors & Sponsors Coordinator

Linda Masters, North Branch Restoration Project

Program Book and Evaluation

Jo Skoglund (designer), Illinois Audubon Society; Mary Lou Mellon, Bird Conservation Network; Kirsten Hope Walker, Environmental Education Association of Illinois

Book Signing

Kathy Garness, Plants of Concern

Map Maker

Sue Witkowski – North Branch Restoration Project

Day of Conference Volunteers

Alexandra Vecchio, Melaney Dunne, Amber Vignieri, David Steh, Ellen Bertagnolli, Ashley Erickson, Mary Buttitta, Chelsea Poeppel, Monique Sosnowski, Vanessa Barrios, Dana Buelsing, Paul Pachwicewicz, JoAnn Monge, Taylor Unwin, Jessica Morgan, Kate Faehling

Services Donated

Staff Support

Judy Pollock and Janis Wesley, Audubon Chicago Region; Catherine Tabares, intern, Northeastern Illinois University


Organized by Audubon Chicago Region in cooperation with the Habitat Project,
the Volunteer Stewardship Network, and Chicago Wilderness through funding from the USDA Forest Service and US Fish & Wildlife Service.

The following sponsors have generously subsidized this conference to keep costs low for participants: The Field Museum, Chicago Park District, The Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Openlands.