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Flora/Fauna/Geology of the Chicago Region [clear filter]
Saturday, February 23

10:15am CST

Geology of the Chicago Region
From the dolomite bedrock of our ancient ocean floor to the top of the highest glacial moraine, our current landscape, what grows on it, and how it gets used is a result of the processes of rock formation, deposition, and erosion. This discussion will outline the geologic story of NE Illinois and how these processes have contributed to the natural ecosystems and the anthropogenic modifications of our area.

avatar for David  Dolak

David Dolak

Columbia College
avatar for Lorrie Ward

Lorrie Ward

Naturalist, Forest Preserves of Cook County
Lorrie Ward is a naturalist with the Forest Preserves of Cook County, stationed at the Sagawau Environmental Learning Center. She got her degree in biology from St. Xavier University with a focus on ecology. She was born with a love of nature, but got hooked on geology after taking... Read More →

Saturday February 23, 2019 10:15am - 11:00am CST
rms. 23-32

1:30pm CST

Everything Soil I: Forest Soils
Soil is an amazing paradox: both alive and not alive, taking centuries to form while being very dynamic. In this presentation, I will describe the processes that created Illinois soils and highlight the organisms that shape them, with a particular focus on trees. Finally, I will demonstrate how oak ecosystem soils are altered by two common restoration techniques – prescribed fire and overstory thinning.

avatar for Meghan Midgley

Meghan Midgley

Soil Ecologist, Center for Tree Science, The Morton Arboretum
As the Soil Ecologist at The Morton Arboretum, Meghan Midgley studies plant-soil interactions in a changing world. Specifically, she aims to understand how interactions among plants, microbes, and soil mediate ecosystem-specific responses to environmental changes. Her research encompasses... Read More →

Saturday February 23, 2019 1:30pm - 2:00pm CST
rms. 23-32

2:10pm CST

Foundation of the Prairie: Soil Biology and Function
Soil beneath our feet is home to diverse living organisms that are foundational to prairie ecosystems, decomposing dead plant and animal material, cycling nutrients and carbon, and filtering water. This session is a follow-up to Dr. Meghan Midgley’s session on soils in forests (3H) and will feature opportunities to examine soil biodiversity in prairie and forest soils.


Elizabeth Bach

The Nature Conservancy, Nachusa Grasslands

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm CST
rm. 22

2:50pm CST

Good News and Bad News
Learn about new discoveries that reveal both good news and bad news. There is good news about supporting urban pollinators (research on creating successful urban bat habitat and best practices for transforming weedy urban areas into pollinator-supporting vegetation). While the bad news involves jumping worms: a critical challenge, since they are making their way into Illinois.

avatar for Tricia Bethke

Tricia Bethke

USDA APHIS, The Morton Arboretum and M.S. student in NRES at UIUC


bat conservation scientist

Piper Hodson

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences

Eleanor Schumacher

Illinois Department of Agriculture and 2018 graduate of NRES M.S. program at UIUC

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:50pm - 3:20pm CST
rm. 49

2:50pm CST

Living on the Edge: Rare Plants in Ravine, Bluff, and Dune Communities
Many factors contribute to plant rarity including limited distribution, habitat specificity, habitat loss, and fragmentation. Rare species in ravine, bluff, and dune habitats are especially vulnerable to erosion of habitat due to extreme weather events and lake level fluctuations. We will discuss what Plants of Concern data tell us about species in these dynamic communities.


Daniella DeRose

Plants of Concern, Chicago Botanic Garden

Gretel Kiefer

Manager, Plants of Concern, Chicago Botanic Garden

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:50pm - 3:20pm CST
rm. 46

2:50pm CST

The Vanishing Native Shrub Layer
Native shrubs are a relatively well known group of plants to authors and to those that walk and work in our native landscapes.The value of this group of plants seems to be a bit of a mystery. Many of our shrublands have disappeared and their reintroduction is looking like a bumpy ride. I would like to share what I know about these plants and where they fit in our native landscapes from years of tracking them.

avatar for Kelsay Shaw

Kelsay Shaw

Owner/Botanist, Possibility Place Nursery
Got his start early working with native plants, growing prairie perennials with his brother at the age of 6. He even got his six grade teacher to let him design and install a native garden for her while still in her class. After years of working with plants he pursued a degree in... Read More →

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:50pm - 3:20pm CST
rms. 33, 34

2:50pm CST

Winter Tree and Shrub Identification
Winter is the best time invasive tree and brush removal but most people learn plants during the growing season. This presentation will focus on the identification of native and non-native trees and shrubs by taking a closer look at bark, seeds, and buds; an essential skill set for those responsible for removing invasive woodies and protecting the native ones. Come prepared for hands-on learning and a quiz.


Rebecca Collings

Forest Preserves of Cook County

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:50pm - 3:20pm CST
rm. 21

3:30pm CST

A Photographic Journey of the Calumet Region
Explore nature preserves in the Calumet Region, an area connected by the Calumet River. Ranging from the Lake Michigan shoreline to dunes, wetlands, and woodlands, the Calumet is home to a dizzying array of plants and animals. This region includes part of Southern Cook County, IL, and portions of Lake, Porter, and LaPorte Counties, IN, including Pullman Nat'l Monument and Indiana Dunes Nat'l Lakeshore.


Susan Kirt

Susan Kirt Photography

Saturday February 23, 2019 3:30pm - 4:00pm CST
rm. 44

3:30pm CST

Mosses of the Chicago Region: What Little We Know, and Where We Go
The moss flora of the Chicago region is understudied and research across the region is difficult to trace. This presentation will deliver a comprehensive overview of our current knowledge of moss diversity and distribution in the region, utilizing a century of literature and herbarium records. A discussion will follow to consider what steps can be taken next to begin filling in the knowledge gaps.

avatar for Edward Warden

Edward Warden

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

Saturday February 23, 2019 3:30pm - 4:00pm CST
rms. 23-32

3:30pm CST

Oak Roots: Their Life From Acorn to Oak Tree
For the past forty years I have tried to improve the root systems of the oak trees that we have produced and found that the more I find out the less I really seem to know about them. We have used several growing methods over the years and found that the closer—and further!—we kept things to/from nature the better the oaks did. Those two points are hard to reconcile and I'd like to share how.


Connor Shaw

Possibility Place Nursery

Saturday February 23, 2019 3:30pm - 4:00pm CST
rm. 21

4:10pm CST

A Day in the Life of a Field Biologist
Some people say they would love to work outside every day while others admit they wouldn't be able to handle it. So what is it really like to be a field biologist? Botanist Chris Benda will take the audience on a tour of the typical day for a field biologist including informative and engaging stories from his 15 years of fieldwork.

avatar for Chris Benda

Chris Benda

Botanist, Illinois Botanizer
I am a botanist, contractor, teacher, author, and photographer. My specialty is natural areas, native plants, and herps. I volunteer with many organizations like the Illinois Native Plant Society.

Saturday February 23, 2019 4:10pm - 4:55pm CST
rms. 33, 34

4:10pm CST

SPLIT SESSION: Distribution of Flying Squirrels in DuPage County / White-tailed Deer in the Chicago Area
Distribution of Flying Squirrels in DuPage County
Brian Kraskiewicz, DuPage County Forest Preserves
The Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans) is an arboreal, nocturnal rodent that has been rarely studied in urban and suburban landscapes.  Thought to be common throughout Illinois, southern flying squirrels are rarely observed due to their activity patterns, elusiveness, and small size.  Using trail cameras we investigated the distribution within DuPage County.

White-tailed Deer in the Chicago Area
Mike Neri, Forest Preserves of Cook County 
Deer are found all over the region.  We will look at the history of the herd and what research can tell us about management going forward.


Brian Kraskiewicz

DuPage County Forest Preserves
avatar for Michael Neri

Michael Neri

Forest Preserves of Cook County

Saturday February 23, 2019 4:10pm - 4:55pm CST
rm. 21

4:10pm CST

SPLIT SESSION: Singing Insect Range Boundaries / Diversity and Ecology of Pollinator Flies in Chicago Area
Singing Insect Range Boundaries
Carl A. Strang, Volunteer, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County 
Survey work over the past decade has begun to define the range boundaries of singing insect species in the Chicago region, down to the site. Most are north range boundaries, but there also are east edges, west edges, and strange distributional holes, some of which are difficult to explain. There also are a few species whose range boundaries are dynamic, extending year by year.

Diversity and Ecology of Pollinator Flies in Chicago Area
Alan J. Molumby, James Woodworth Prairie 
A brief introduction to the diversity and ecology of pollinator flies, and discussion of some of their ecological relationships.

avatar for Alan J. Molumby

Alan J. Molumby

University of Illinois at Chicago and James Woodworth Prairie

Carl Strang

Volunteer, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
singing insects, forest restoration

Saturday February 23, 2019 4:10pm - 4:55pm CST
rm. 50

4:10pm CST

The Bees of the Southern Lake Michigan Region and Their Ecological Significance
More than 460 bee species have been vouchered from the Southern Lake Michigan Region, an area consisting of 47 counties in four states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The fauna and their ecologies will be presented.

avatar for Laura Rericha-Anchor

Laura Rericha-Anchor

Wildlife Biologist, Researcher and Author, Forest Preserves of Cook County and the Conservation Research Institute
Laura Rericha, a wildlife biologist with the Forest Preserves of Cook County and research associate with the Conservation Research Institute, is the quintessential naturalist. Mentored by Floyd Swink, she has become devoted utterly to the fact that plants and animals do not live in... Read More →

Saturday February 23, 2019 4:10pm - 4:55pm CST
rms. 23-32