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avatar for Derek Ziomber

Derek Ziomber

Friends of the Forest Preserves
North Branch Field Organizer
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 preserves I seek to help build self-sustaining teams of volunteer stewards at sites along the North Branch of the Chicago River, which is the region I know best, especially the lower part of the North Branch. I'm also very familiar with iNaturalist, a public website and app used for documenting observations of living species. iNaturalist is a powerful tool for citizen science, site monitoring, and public engagement and I'd like to help more people realize it's usefulness. I'm also a strong proponent of "whole ecosystem restoration", which is a more holistic approach to ecological restoration that takes more into account groups of organisms beyond plants by taking extra steps to ensure that habitat requirements are met for birds, fungi, herptiles, etc and that management practices don't adversely affect these groups. Aspects of this approach include restoration and preservation of complex canopy structure to provide better avian habitat and maintenance of dead wood in varying states of decay to provide habitat to insects, rodents, herptiles, wood-decomposing fungi, etc.. Part of the restoration work at LaBagh Woods, which my team will be giving a talk on, specifically focuses on replacing some of the invasive shrubs that are removed with locally sourced native shrub species to preserve canopy structure.