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Ecological Restoration and Land Management [clear filter]
Saturday, February 23
 

10:15am

Adventures with Endangered and Formerly Endangered Plant Species
Reports on four decades of strategies and experiments to restore ten species of rare plants—from Gerardias and orchids to speedwells and grasses. For rich natural ecosystems, these are desperate times. Sub-populations at many sites are dying out rapidly. Robust populations (with fully diverse gene pools) have much better chances to adapt to the world today. Initiative and creativity are needed.

Presenters
SP

Stephen Packard

Site Steward, Somme Preserves


Saturday February 23, 2019 10:15am - 11:00am
rms. 33, 34

10:15am

Oak Ecosystem Restoration: Using Historical Forest Dynamics to Inform Management for a Resilient Future
In today’s era of global change, historical forests may not be appropriate targets for restoration. Scientists are using tree rings to compare how oaks respond to their environments today with how they responded to pre-settlement conditions. In our session, we will showcase modern and pre-settlement trees and discuss their responses to climate and fire and discuss conservation implications.

Presenters
MR

M. Ross Alexander

Midwest Dendro, LLC
CR

Christine Rollinson

Forest Ecologist, The Morton Arboretum
avatar for Bethany Zumwalde

Bethany Zumwalde

Research Assistant II, The Morton Arboretum
My primary research experience and training has been in the fields of plant conservation genetics, ecology, and systematics. I currently serve as the research assistant to both the Tree Conservation Biologist and the Forest Ecologist. In the tree conservation biology lab, I assist... Read More →


Saturday February 23, 2019 10:15am - 11:00am
rm. 22

10:15am

The Fruits of Our Labor
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.

Presenters
avatar for Kelly Schultz

Kelly Schultz

Lake County Forest Preserves
Come learn about seed collecting and seed ID (Fruits of our Labor, 1J) and propagating rare plants (2F)


Saturday February 23, 2019 10:15am - 11:00am
rm. 51

11:15am

Implementing Regional Standardization of Ecological Restoration Practices: Working together to train volunteers in invasive species management and leadership
Are you involved in training natural areas volunteers? Are you interested in helping build ecological restoration standards for our volunteer steward community? If so, please join us! Building on the in-demand Chicago Wilderness Burn Crew Training model, hear from regional volunteer managers and lend your voice to our discussion on barriers to standardization and solutions through collaboration.

Presenters
KD

Kurt Dreisilker

The Morton Arboretum
avatar for Trinity Pierce

Trinity Pierce

Natural Areas Conservation Training Program Coordinator, The Morton Arboretum
Hi! I am jazzed to attend another Wild Things Conference! This collaborative setting is ripe for making genuine connections and sharing information about the program I coordinate. The N-ACT Program provides participants the skills they need to manage the natural areas that are such... Read More →


Saturday February 23, 2019 11:15am - 12:00pm
rms. 40, 41

11:15am

Lessons on Propagating Rare Plants
There are native plant species that seem to be very difficult to start from seed, and this can hinder people from reintroducing them into the wild. Learn from our experience on the production of several native species that have been difficult to start from seed. General knowledge of plant propagation is not required, but will help in this talk.

Presenters
LD

Luke Dahlberg

Citizens for Conservation
avatar for Kelly Schultz

Kelly Schultz

Lake County Forest Preserves
Come learn about seed collecting and seed ID (Fruits of our Labor, 1J) and propagating rare plants (2F)


Saturday February 23, 2019 11:15am - 12:00pm
rm. 21

11:15am

SPLIT SESSION: Keeping Crown Vetch, Teasel and Purple Loosestrife at Bay at a High-Quality Preserve / Callery Pear: The Invasive Trojan Horse
Keeping Crown Vetch, Teasel and Purple Loosestrife at Bay at a High-Quality Preserve
Eriko Kojima, Volunteer Steward, Somme Preserve, North Branch Restoration Project (FPCC)
Presenter will share the methodology aimed at eradicating troublesome herbaceous invasives at a high-quality preserve, with a focus on crown vetch, teasel, reed canary grass, and purple loosestrife. We will discuss application techniques, chemicals, and timing.

Callery Pear: The Invasive Trojan Horse

Patricia Hayes, Volunteer Site Steward, Orland Grassland (FPCC)
Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana), a China & Vietnam native, was hybridized to be the perfect ornamental tree.  Its commonly known cultivar, Bradford Pear, continues to be the darling of gardened landscapes but is a vicious invasive.  Find out what it looks like, how it escapes, and removal strategies at Orland Grassland, a 960-acre site of rolling grassland with about 800 acres of open, contiguous prairie.

Presenters
PH

Patrcia Hayes

Volunteer Site Steward, Orland Grassland (FPCC)
avatar for Eriko Kojima

Eriko Kojima

Volunteer steward
Life is beautiful and each day is a precious gift I accept with gratitude. I strive to live it with humility, a sense of humor and detachment. Towards all who cross my path I offer love, kindness and positivity. I dedicate each day to serve the earth and its creatures. Let's do it... Read More →


Saturday February 23, 2019 11:15am - 12:00pm
rm. 47

12:30pm

Lessons of Past and Future
Speakers will share their cutting-edge research (prairie cemeteries as repositories of native flora, GIS and historical distribution of species, and prairie restoration in challenging areas) and the implications to urban ecosystems with an emphasis on issues of Chicago-area concern.  

Presenters
ED

Elwood Dumke

M.S. student in NRES, UIUC
RG

Renee Gracon

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences
avatar for Stacey Libra

Stacey Libra

Landscape Architect/Ecological Designer, Applied Ecological Services


Saturday February 23, 2019 12:30pm - 1:15pm
rm. 44

12:30pm

Many Hands Make Light Work: A Zone Concept for Habitat Restoration Projects
Volunteers at Somme Woods developed an innovative plan to involve more people in planning and stewardship of the site. The 255 acres of Somme Woods have been divided into 14 zones, averaging about 20 acres each. Each zone is primarily managed by a zone steward in coordination with the site steward.  

Somme Woods has been operating under the Zone Stewardship concept for three years. A practice of shared ideas and information provides each Zone Steward a better understanding of the site's ecological and restoration goals.  Other sites might benefit from this approach.

A group presentation including an overview, group exercise, discussion, and summary.

NOTE: Lunch Session times and durations may change. Please check back before conference day to confirm.



Presenters
MB

Matthew Bucher

Zone Steward, Somme Preserves
ME

Matthew Evans

Zone Steward, Somme Woods
volunteer and conservation graduate student
avatar for James Hensel

James Hensel

Zone Steward, Somme Woods
Micro steward concept and building a community of volunteers.
PK

Peter Kim

Sawyer, Somme Woods
avatar for Eriko Kojima

Eriko Kojima

Volunteer steward
Life is beautiful and each day is a precious gift I accept with gratitude. I strive to live it with humility, a sense of humor and detachment. Towards all who cross my path I offer love, kindness and positivity. I dedicate each day to serve the earth and its creatures. Let's do it... Read More →
LM

Linda Masters

Site Steward, Somme Woods
avatar for John McMartin

John McMartin

Sawyer, Somme Woods
SP

Stephen Packard

Site Steward, Somme Preserves
SP

Stephanie Place

Zone Steward, Somme Woods
SR

Sai Ramakrishna

Zone Steward, Somme Woods
RS

Russell Sala

trails and bridges, Somme Woods
PS

Paul Swanson

Zone Steward, Somme Woods


Saturday February 23, 2019 12:30pm - 1:15pm
rm. 21

1:30pm

Converting to Prairie with Everyone Watching
When very public areas are converted from lawn to prairie, a process has begun which takes patience, public education, a different kind of maintenance, and sometimes has setbacks. Hear about common mistakes, avoidable pitfalls, strategies, and celebrated success. Sites discussed include wetlands, city parks, a golf course, brownfield conversions, and the presenter’s 7’ by 10’ curbside butterfly garden.

In this session Mike Nowak will interview Eric S. Anderson and live stream the interview on Facebook.

Presenters
ES

Eric S. Anderson

Ecologist, Cardno, Inc

Sponsors

Saturday February 23, 2019 1:30pm - 2:00pm
rm. 21

1:30pm

Lake Michigan Bluff and Ravine Restoration
Conservation Land Stewardship, LLC has restored habitat along the Lake Michigan shoreline on bluffs and ravines utilizing fire, herbicides, and revegetation techniques. This presentation will highlight some of these interesting projects.

Presenters
avatar for Joe Krischon

Joe Krischon

Project Manager & Consultant, Conservation Land Stewardship, LLC
I have worked in ecological restoration for over 10 years and I am passionate about biodiversity conservation and finding more harmonious ways for humans to create & adapt their systems within nature.
avatar for Dave Neu

Dave Neu

Project Developer, Conservation Land Stewardship, LLC
I am a natural resources program and organization leader serving for over 30 years in both government and non-profit roles. My work has included native prairie and wetland restorations, wildlife management, public outreach and education, strategic partnerships, and planning.As Project... Read More →


Saturday February 23, 2019 1:30pm - 2:00pm
rm. 49

1:30pm

Native Seed Mix Design
Learn more about native seed mix design for ecological restoration from industry experts at Prairie Moon Nursery. We will go over species selection, site considerations, seeding rates, grass-to-forb ratios, seed sources, establishment trends, and more.

Presenters
KO

Kaitlyn O'Connor

Prairie Moon Nursery
Ask us about native plants for gardening or restoration!


Saturday February 23, 2019 1:30pm - 2:00pm
rm. 44

1:30pm

Restoring Landscapes at Scale
The Forest Preserves of Cook County has set a goal of restoring 30,000 acres of natural lands to ecological health. How we turned that goal into an action plan and began restoration on the ground at scale is explored. Some early results are in and lessons learned are presented.

Presenters
avatar for Chip O'Leary

Chip O'Leary

Deputy Director of Resource Management, Forest Preserves of Cook County
Chip O’Leary is the Deputy Director for Resource Management at the Forest Preserves of Cook County. He has been a restoration ecologist in the Chicago Wilderness Region for 20 years. He has worked on large-scale prairie and wetland restorations and revitalization of oak savannas... Read More →
avatar for Troy Showerman

Troy Showerman

Resource Project Manager, Forest Preserves of Cook County
Troy has more than 8 years of professional experience in ecological and habitat restoration, project management, and environmental consulting. As an ecological contractor, he has worked with private landowners, corporations and businesses, park districts, and forest preserve districts... Read More →


Saturday February 23, 2019 1:30pm - 2:00pm
rm. 45

2:10pm

Grant Funding Options for Illinois Natural Areas from Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation
We will give an overview of the Foundation’s 6 Natural Areas Grant Programs including examples of past projects under the Community Stewardship Challenge Grant program (awards of up to $32,000 for community-based stewardship efforts) and the K-12 Pollinator Program (awards of up to $10,000 to build pollinator habitat to be used for education purposes). The presentation will include handouts.

Presenters
BB

Brekke Bounds

Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation
JK

Jolie Krasinski

Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation


Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm
rms. 55,57

2:10pm

Of Oak Trees and Little Animals
Nine years of experiments indicate that acorn predators, animals that cache acorns, canopy openings, and the height of surface vegetation are the most important influences on the establishment of oak seedlings. I review many alternative hypotheses concerning problems with oak regeneration and then propose several site treatments to foster the establishment of seedlings.

Presenters
TS

Thomas Simpson

McHenry County Conservation District


Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm
rm. 21

2:10pm

Restoring Multi-Layered Habitat in a Migrant Bird Hotspot
LaBagh Woods is the last stop and first respite for migrant birds traveling the Chicago River, flying over the Big City. Forest Preserve volunteers partnered with Chicago Ornithological Society and other organizations to restore native shrubs as invasives were removed. Four years and 2500 shrubs later, many lessons have been learned about native shrub species, habitats, partnerships and plantings.

Presenters
JP

Judith Pollock

Living Habitats, Chicago Audubon Society, Chicago Ornithological Society
avatar for Jeff Skrentny

Jeff Skrentny

Restoration / Workday Leader, FPCC Volunteer
I began birding on January 1, 2006, after reading the "The Big Year" by Mark Obmascik. My first species seen as a birder was a Bald Eagle. I have been a birder and lister ever since. This mild birding proficiency turned into invites to join my kids' 3rd - 5th grade Mighty Acorn program... Read More →
avatar for Derek Ziomber

Derek Ziomber

North Branch Field Organizer, Friends of the Forest Preserves
I seek to be as well-rounded of a naturalist as I possibly can, but my main areas of interest are botany and mycology. I believe that volunteers are the heart of the conservation movement and in my current job as a field organizer for volunteer stewardship in the Cook Count Forest... Read More →


Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm
rm. 44

2:10pm

The Battle for Our Wetlands: How to use Warrior Sedges to Fight Against Wetland Invasives
Reed Canary Grass, Cattails, and Phragmites have had a stronghold on our wetlands for too long. Now is the time to fight back! Who better to help win this battle, but the ten warrior sedges. These brave souls will help you reclaim wetlands in your preserve and build a matrix that can be used to create vital habitat for our native flora and fauna.

Presenters
KS

Kevin Scheiwiller

Restoration Manager, Citizens for Conservation


Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm
rms. 23-32

2:50pm

Beetles, Spiders and Mites Oh-My: An Introduction to Entomology and its Use in Restoration and Educational Efforts in Chicago Wilderness
Insects and their kin represent some of the most diverse and abundant animal life in the world. This presentation will introduce the audience to how insects are monitored and what they can tell us about their habitat. The author also discusses how insects are used in restoration efforts as well as their application to educational outreach in Chicago.

Presenters
avatar for J. Cristian Martinez

J. Cristian Martinez

Faculty Fellow, Harper College
Hi, I'm Cristian Martínez, I'm an entomologist in Chicago where I work as a Biology instructor and ecologist. My research focuses on forest land management history, leaf litter qualities and what effect both have on the arthropod community. I'm particularly interested in how invasive... Read More →


Saturday February 23, 2019 2:50pm - 3:20pm
rm. 22

2:50pm

SPLIT SESSION: Innovative Partnership for Habitat Restoration on a Regional Scale / Transforming a 2-Acre Sedge Meadow Surrounded by Buckthorn into 90 Acres of Excellence with No Budget: It’s Called Yonder Prairie
Innovative Partnership for Habitat Restoration on a Regional Scale
Kim Kreiling, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Karl Gnaedinger, The Nature Conservancy; Dr. Lauren Umek, Chicago Park District
The Calumet Conservation Compact was signed by Chicago Park District, Forest Preserves of Cook County, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, and The Nature Conservancy to partner on regional habitat goals. Three members from this partnership will discuss how they were able to bring in over $2.3m in grants for habitat restoration and the ongoing results.

Ecological Restoration and Land Management
Melissa Grycan, The Land Conservancy of McHenry County
I think that the people doing my line of work, well, they’re sometimes not great presenters. Perhaps it’s because we take solace in nature, or don’t like being around people. All of those aforementioned things apply to me, but I want to be the person who tells people about what it’s like to actually be me. And what it feels like to preserve these lands.

Presenters
KG

Karl Gnaedinger

The Nature Conservancy
MG

Melissa Grycan

The Land Conservancy of McHenry County
avatar for Kim Kreiling

Kim Kreiling

Illinois Department of Natural Resources
avatar for Lauren Umek

Lauren Umek

Chicago Park District


Saturday February 23, 2019 2:50pm - 3:20pm
rms. 54, 56, 58

2:50pm

Urban Dune Restoration (Re-creation)
This panel will explore the restoration work behind Chicago's hidden dune gems. In addition to discussing the restoration (really, more of a re-creation) of these constructed systems, the panel will share examples of how this lakefront habitat type provides critical refugia for plant and animal species, as well as a platform for community conversations about urban conservation and habitat restoration.

Presenters
avatar for Alison Anastasio

Alison Anastasio

University of Chicago and Rainbow Beach Dunes Community Steward, Chicago Park District
urban ecology and evolution; plants; teaching environmental and urban studies at University of Chicago; grad programs in biological and environmental fields; Rainbow Beach Dunes stewardship; plant and human communities in the Calumet region
JH

John Henry Drake

The Nature Conservancy in Indiana
avatar for Edward Warden

Edward Warden

John G. Shedd Aquarium
Moss, birds, social media...ALL THE THINGS
AW

Ann Whelan

Loyola Beach Dunes Community Steward, Chicago Park District


Saturday February 23, 2019 2:50pm - 3:20pm
rms. 40, 41

3:30pm

Bridging the Gap Between Knowledge and Restoration Using Technology for Adaptive Management in the Fight Against Invasive Phragmites.
A cross-disciplinary team from AES is developing new technology, field management techniques, and ecological responses for adaptive management on Phragmites infestations within ecological restoration sites. Aerial imaging and remote sensing approaches are contributing to efficiencies of Phragmites monitoring in the Lake Michigan basin and elsewhere, with significant agency, academic, and NGO collaboration.

Presenters
avatar for Will Overbeck

Will Overbeck

Applied Ecological Services, Inc.
A plant ecologist active in ecological restoration, I graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003, where I studied scientific illustration at the Field Museum of Natural History. I have worked on restoration of prairies, savannas, and woodlands in the Chicago... Read More →


Saturday February 23, 2019 3:30pm - 4:00pm
rm. 49

3:30pm

Discussing the New Illinois Fires Accomplished Map: What Gets Measured Gets Done
This Map is unique in that we use a base map of all protected areas in the state, and then layer all polygons of accomplished fires submitted by various agencies. The short presentation of the map will be followed by this opening discussion question: What would a successful fire program look like on this map? What effective habits can we use to improve our fire programs?

Presenters
avatar for Bill Kleiman

Bill Kleiman

Project Director, IL Fire Manager, The Nature Conservancy, Nachusa Grasslands


Saturday February 23, 2019 3:30pm - 4:00pm
rms. 54, 56, 58

4:10pm

People and Places: the Foundation for the Evolution of Ecological Restoration in the Midwest
Our session will highlight the evolution of ecological restoration in the Midwest since its origins. The first presenter will discuss the legacy of restoration in the Midwest with a focus on the contributions of Chicagoland individuals. The second presenter will review regional case studies and how the field continues to develop in response to changing land-use, climate, and invasive species.

Presenters
CL

Christian Lenhart

University of Minnesota, Ecological Engineering Program, BBE Department and The Nature Conservancy’s MN, ND, and SD Chapter
RS

Rocky Smiley

USDA Agricultural Research Service


Saturday February 23, 2019 4:10pm - 4:55pm
rm. 49

4:10pm

SPLIT SESSION: Habitat Potential of Post-industrial Landscapes / Novel Ecosystems : What's All the Fuss About?
Habitat Potential of Post-industrial Landscapes
Dr. Lauren Umek, Chicago Park District and Alison Anastasio, University of Chicago
Slag is a byproduct from the steel industry with properties similar to dolomite. Restoration ecology methods suggest to cover slag fields with at least 12" of topsoil, but existing plant communities suggest that these sites could host unique species more typical to a dolomite prairie. We present this concept and preliminary results of a study exploring the ecological potential of these sites.

Novel Ecosystems : What's All the Fuss About?
Thomas Simpson, McHenry County Conservation District
Is "Novel Ecosystem" simply another name for a buckthorn thicket? Or, is it the leading edge of a new way of looking at the practice of conservation, which rejects the past (think historical prairie or oak savanna) as relevant to our management of land for the future?  A serious consideration of Novel Ecosystems and related ideas challenges us to better understand why we do Ecological Restoration.

Presenters
avatar for Alison Anastasio

Alison Anastasio

University of Chicago and Rainbow Beach Dunes Community Steward, Chicago Park District
urban ecology and evolution; plants; teaching environmental and urban studies at University of Chicago; grad programs in biological and environmental fields; Rainbow Beach Dunes stewardship; plant and human communities in the Calumet region
TS

Thomas Simpson

McHenry County Conservation District
avatar for Lauren Umek

Lauren Umek

Chicago Park District


Saturday February 23, 2019 4:10pm - 4:55pm
rm. 22

4:10pm

SPLIT SESSION: Understanding Ecological Corridors Along the Chicago River System / Lessons Learned in Grassland and Wetland Restoration with a Bird Habitat Focus
Understanding Ecological Corridors Along the Chicago River System
Andrew Donakowski, Friends of the Chicago River
Protecting habitat is critically important, especially in our region with fragmented habitat areas. Friends of the Chicago River has created an interactive land assessment tool that provides a lens for understanding the river system as a connected ecological corridor. This tool will advance a vision of the riverfront that protects wildlife and connects people with the river’s natural wonder.

Lessons Learned in Grassland and Wetland Restoration with a Bird Habitat Focus
Heidi Natura, Living Habitats; Judy Pollock, Living Habitats; Linda Masters, Openlands
The site now known as Bobolink Meadow Land and Water Reserve in the Forest Preserves of Cook County is a large partnership project which has realized in excess of 200 acres of wetland mitigation and well over 600 acres of contiguous grassland rich in native plant species and nesting birds such as bobolinks, northern harriers and king rails. This presentation will cover methods and lessons learned.

Presenters
RC

Rebecca Collings

Forest Preserves of Cook County
AD

Andrew Donakowski

Friends of the Chicago River
LM

Linda Masters

Site Steward, Somme Woods
avatar for Heidi Natura

Heidi Natura

Founder & Partner, Living Habitats
Since 1990, I have been actively involved in promoting the wise use of our natural resources through my planning and design work. It is my responsibility as a registered landscape architect, and mission as the leader of Living Habitats to understand and creatively express the needs... Read More →
JP

Judith Pollock

Living Habitats, Chicago Audubon Society, Chicago Ornithological Society


Saturday February 23, 2019 4:10pm - 4:55pm
rm. 44