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Session 4 [clear filter]
Saturday, February 23

2:10pm CST

Birds as a Connection to Nearby Nature
Acquainting young people with nature prepares them to be stewards throughout their lives. Birds in my Neighborhood, a volunteer-driven education program, capitalizes on the prevalence of birds, using them as an entrée to nature for young people. By sparking an interest in birds, this program invites its participants to see that nature is around all of us and it is our responsibility to steward and protect it.


John Cawood


Lillian Holden

Education and Outreach Coordinator, Openlands

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm CST
rm. 49

2:10pm CST

Building a Vibrant Stewardship Community: Our Adventures at Somme
A personal case study of new leadership over three years. Discussion of guiding principles for a vibrant volunteer site stewardship community. Exploring positive ideas that enhance collaboration and joining with others on our respective journeys. Apprenticeship. Mentors. What we do different with seeds, rare plants, and invasives - through the seasons. How to empower volunteer leaders to arise.

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 2:10pm - 2:40pm CST
rms. 54, 56, 58

2:10pm CST

Climate Change: A Tale for Our Time
The story of anthropocentric climate change needs to be told. But in this era of indifference and denial, how can we make the tale comprehensible and compelling? Can it have a happy ending? Bring your ideas for communication and story-telling to this interactive session, and we’ll offer suggestions for participants to feel confident while speaking truth to power.

avatar for Cynthia Linton

Cynthia Linton

Cynthia Linton is a former journalist who lives in Chicago. After 20 years with community newspapers, she taught for two decades at Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern. She’s been active with the Sierra Club for 12 years and in 2017 was trained by Al Gore and his Climate Reality... Read More →
avatar for Gregory Rajsky

Gregory Rajsky

Principal / Consulting Naturalist, True Nature Consulting
Helping property owners to discover the true nature of their holdings through ecological assessment, habitat enhancement, education, and restoration.

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm CST
rm. 46

2:10pm CST

Conservation@Home – Going Beyond Our Borders
The Conservation@Home program recognizes & certifies properties demonstrating environmental friendly landscape practices. Become the designer as we use a technique to incorporate native plants into the homeowner's landscape. Learn more about this innovative program’s effort to bring the Forest Preserves beyond its ‘borders’ to create forest-preserve-friendly places.

avatar for Nina Baki

Nina Baki

Community Outreach Coordinator, Forest Preserves of Cook County
Nina Baki is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Over the past 15 years, Nina has worked in the field of conservation connecting people to the outdoors through interpretive programs and activities.  Currently, Nina works on outreach and engagement... Read More →
avatar for Val Kehoe

Val Kehoe

University of Illinois Extension
Val is a Horticulture Coordinator with the University of Illinois Extension serving Cook County. Programs have included School and Community Gardens but is now assisting with the initiatives that U of I Extension and the Forest Preserves of Cook County collaborate on, namely the Conservation... Read More →

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm CST
rms. 52, 53

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

2:10pm CST

Frogs and Toads of the Chicago Region
This presentation is about the 13 species of frogs and toads that exist in the Chicago Region. It talks about their mating calls, habitat and behaviors. It delves a little into the history of some species as well as the Calling Frog Survey protocols.


Matt Hokanson

Woods to Wetlands and Spring Creek Stewards

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm CST
rms. 33, 34

2:10pm CST

From Prairies to Rain Gardens: Climate Change Adaptation for Chicago Wilderness Grasslands
Insights gathered from climate change adaptation planning for Chicago Wilderness prairies, conducted by the Field Museum and partners. Three workshops in 2018 resulted in specified strategies for a gradient of habitats - large prairies to created urban spaces. The project also examined how challenges are translated into approaches that conform to unique local perspectives while meeting regional goals.

avatar for Katherine Moore Powell

Katherine Moore Powell

Climate Change Ecologist, The Field Museum
As an ecohydrologist, I'm interested in how water moves through the ecosystem, and specifically how fluxes of carbon, water, and energy respond to precipitation that is becoming characterized by seasonal shifts, larger events, and longer dry periods. I have conducted research in grasslands... Read More →

Douglas F. Stotz

Field Museum

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm CST
rm. 47

2:10pm CST

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.


Brekke Bounds

Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation

Jolie Krasinski

Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation

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

2:10pm CST

Measuring the Sustainability Benefits of Urban Agriculture: A Case Study
It is widely believed that urban food gardens offer a wealth of environmental, economic and social benefits. Although true, few studies have actually measured these benefits. This talk will present the results of a long-term study that measured and quantified numerous benefits produced by an urban food garden and demonstrate how urban agriculture's benefits can be documented.

avatar for John Zahina-Ramos

John Zahina-Ramos

President, Consultant, 21st Century Sustainability Consulting, LLC
Dr. Z is the author of the award-winning book Just One Backyard: One Man's Search for Food Sustainability and has been featured on the PBS series Victory Garden's EdibleFEAST. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in the Biological Sciences and a Ph.D. in Geosciences. His dissertation research... Read More →

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm CST
rms. 40, 41

2:10pm CST

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.


Thomas Simpson

McHenry County Conservation District

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

2:10pm CST

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.


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 CST
rm. 44

2:10pm CST

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.


Kevin Scheiwiller

Restoration Manager, Citizens for Conservation

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

2:10pm CST

The Nuts and Bolts of Community Engagement
Engaging the public in creating a cleaner river is imperative as it will be through people's personal and political actions that we see positive changes. What does engagement really mean? Friends is happy to share how we’ve been successful in creating a community of river stewards.

avatar for Annette Anderson

Annette Anderson

Volunteer and Event Specialist, Friends of the Chicago River
I enjoy organizing communities to value and take care of their water resources. My experience is in values based communications, volunteer management, and event planning. You can also talk to me about dogs, yoga, music, Chicago, traveling... if I don't know about it, I'd love to learn... Read More →

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm CST
rm. 51

2:10pm CST

The Prairie Sings to Me: City Poets Write of the Country
In the 1910s three poets found fame in Chicago: one who captured the dynamism of the city (Carl Sandburg), one who traveled the country’s roadways performing his verses (Vachel Lindsday), and one who exposed the hard truths of small towns (Edgar Lee Masters). Connecting them all was the Illinois landscape, the prairie that sang to the poet.


Paul Durica

Illinois Humanities

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm CST
rm. 50

2:10pm CST

The State of Chicago Wilderness Grasslands and their Management
The CW Grassland Bird Task Force has recently completed an assessment of grassland management activities in Chicago Wilderness. We will discuss the implications of current management regimes on imperiled grassland bird species as well as how we might make more informed landscape-level management decisions. We will also provide an update on regional grassland bird trends from the last few years.


Jim Herkert

Illinois Audubon Society

Daniel Suarez

Audubon Great Lakes

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm CST
rms. 42, 43

2:10pm CST

Where Do Blue-spotted Salamanders Spend the Summer?
After breeding season, amphibians disperse into the woods or prairies to eat, grow, and live. We set up cover boards throughout a local woodland to learn where blue-spotted salamanders spend their time outside of breeding season. We looked at areas of higher and lower floristic quality, including areas degraded by buckthorn or excessive shade. Does terrestrial habitat quality matter for amphibians?

avatar for Karen Glennemeier

Karen Glennemeier

Research Biologist, John G. Shedd Aquarium
My goal as a research biologist is to learn things that can help inform stewardship and be of practical use to stewards and land managers. I'm currently studying the response to restoration of amphibians and other inhabitants of ephemeral pond communities and would love to connect... Read More →

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm CST
rm. 48

2:10pm CST

Wild Indigo Nature Explorations: A Model Framework for Building Culturally-Resonant Programs in Collaboration with Communities of Color
By building programs in collaboration with community, Wild Indigo helps to address the barriers that make natural spaces inaccessible to communities of color, and begins to dismantle perceptions that nature is not for them. Three Wild Indigo educators present on their experiences using the Wild Indigo framework for engaging diverse communities in Chicago, IL; Lake County, IL; and Detroit, MI


Sanaa Green

Audubon Great Lakes

Charmeise Jackson

Audubon Great Lakes

Carina Ruiz

Audubon Great Lakes

Saturday February 23, 2019 2:10pm - 2:40pm CST
rm. 45