2018 Annual Gathering

June 8-10, 2018, at Governors State University, University Park, IL

An examination of the plants and ecosystems of the southern section of the Morainal and Lake Plain Natural Divisions of Illinois and Indiana

This year’s annual INPS gathering will be hosted by the Kankakee-Torrent Chapter of the Illinois Native Plant Society in University Park, Illinois. The event will take place at Governors State University and at numerous field locations in Illinois.

Registration Information

Registration Deadline – June 4, 2018

Registration Options

Full Conference
INPS Member (includes: mixer, boxed lunch and banquet) – $60
Non-member (includes: mixer, boxed lunch, banquet, and one-year INPS membership) – $85
Student (includes: mixer, boxed lunch and banquet) – $50

Saturday and Sunday
INPS Member (includes: boxed lunch and banquet) – $50
Non-member (includes: boxed lunch, banquet and one-year INPS membership) – $75
Student (includes: boxed lunch and banquet) – $40

There are two ways to register. First, download the Annual Gathering Registration Packet which has a mail-in registration form on the last page which you can fill in and mail with a check. Download the Packet here:

2018 Annual Gathering Packet

Second, you can register and pay online (with credit or debit card) here:

2018 Annual Gathering Online Registration

Schedule of Events

Friday, June 8: Registration and evening activities will be located in Building E Lobby at Governor’s State University.

5:00 – 7:00 PM – Registration and Check-in: located in the Building E Lounge & Lobby.
Mingling & refreshments: baked potato bar and cash bar in lounge
Poster displays (non-scientific) by Chapters and members
Silent auction items on display

6:30 – 6:45 PM – Welcome to the 2018 Annual Gathering and announcements.
Dr. Andre Marak (Dean of College of Arts & Sciences) welcomes us to GSU

7:00 – 8:30 PM – Chapter Reports, Bragging and Raffle
Chapter reports followed by “Brag Bucket” where members get to brag to us about things they are proud of, such as Chapter or personal activities, whatever.  Braggarts place $5 in the bucket and receive three raffle tickets toward an edition of the Flora of the Chicago Region signed by authors and artist. Funds going to INPS State Treasury.

Saturday, June 9: Field Trips to Lake Plain and Valparaiso Moraine Sections of Illinois and Indiana.

7:00 AM – Breakfast on your own

8:00 AM – Meet at GSU Lakeside Lounge for morning and all-day fieldtrips

8:30 AM – Depart for morning and all-day field trips

12:00 – Return from morning field trips (boxed lunches provided)

1:00-4:00 – Afternoon Field Trips depart from GSU Lakeside Lounge

4:00 PM – All field trips returned to GSU Lakeside Lounge

4:00-5:00 PM – Free time, shower passes available at GSU Recreation Center, must sign up on application form.

Saturday Evening Activities

5:00 PM – Silent Auction Begins

5:30 – 6:00 PM – Membership Meeting

6:30 – 7:30 PM – Banquet and Silent Auction

7:30 PM – Silent Auction Closes

7:45 PM – Presentation: Gerould Wilhelm Consilience and Concinnity
Dr. Gerould Wilhelm will be using native prairie, woodland, and riverbank landscapes to illustrate consilience and concinnity. Consilience means “jumping together” and is typified when all the elements of an ecosystem are working in harmony. Concinnity is the beautiful harmony that grows between people and place as humans understand their role in “jumping together” with ecosystems in accordance with its own unique strictures.
Dr. Wilhelm will point out that natural systems are uninterested in good intentions, budgetary problems, personal problems, government regulations, or ignorance on the part of stewards or scientists. We must learn The Way of our land and accommodate it just as strictly as must a pilot obey the laws of flight in accordance with the configuration and design of his airplane. To run out of airspeed, altitude, and experience leads to ungraceful, regrettable landings.

Sunday Activities

7:30 AM – Breakfast on your own

8:30 AM – Meet for Sunday field trips

9:00 AM – Depart for field trips

Field Trip Options
Saturday All-Day Field Trip Options 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Sand Ridge Nature Preserve & Powderhorn Preserves (Lake Plain) Difficulty; moderate, all day

Sand Ridge Prairie is a fine example of sand dune and swale topography that formerly occurred along the shores of glacial Lake Chicago. The dunes and swales were created as new beaches were formed as water levels of Lake Chicago gradually receded. The low sandy ridges support sand prairies and scattered black oak savannas that are dominated by little blue stem, porcupine grass and June grass. Blue joint and cord grass dominate the wet prairie, sedge meadow and marsh communities that occur in the swales. The dune and swale topography provides a variety of ecological niches that support a rich variety of plants. Several species that are well adapted for the sand include tubercled orchid, grass pink orchid, black chokeberry, huckleberry, low-bush blueberry and yellow-eyed grass.

Powderhorn Marsh and Prairie borders Powderhorn Lake, a part of the Calumet area that was once a large area of marshes and lakes where the Calumet River enters Lake Michigan. Dune and swale topography borders the marsh to provide excellent diversity of plants and animals.

Indian Boundary Prairies (Lake Plain) Difficulty: easy to moderate, all day

Comprised of Dropseed, Gensburg, Sundrop and Paintbrush prairies.

The Indian boundary prairies are a cluster of sandy (often very black soil) prairie natural areas consisting of wet-mesic and mesic prairie, dry mesic and mesic sand prairie and sedge meadow communities. The Chicago Lake Plain was formed as glacial Lake Chicago receded at the end of the Wisconsinan glaciation. As the water receded, it left behind deposits of clay and sand. The wetlands on the preserve are underlain by clay while the drier sites are underlain by sand. Gensburg-Markham Prairie is an unusual example of sandy loam prairie; it combines the characteristics of the black silt loam prairies with the true sand prairies. The preserve contains rare plant plant species such as grape fern, sundrop, narrow-leaved sundew and grass pink orchid. In addition, other significant sand prairie plants are colic root, yellow-eyed grass, screwstem and huckleberry. The dominant grasses are big bluestem, Indian grass and prairie dropseed. Typical black loam soil species found here are nodding wild onion, cream wild indigo, prairie coreopsis and prairie alum root. Notable nesting birds include short-billed marsh wren, bobolink, swamp sparrow and Henslow’s sparrow.

Clark & Pine/Ivanhoe North (Lake Plain)/Dupont Natural Area Difficulty: Moderate, all day

Clark and Pine Nature Preserve has been protected and managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Division of Nature Preserves since 1982.  At just 42 acres, this is one of our smallest protected remnants of dune and swale, but it boasts more state-listed rare, threatened, or endangered plant and animal species than any other property in the State of Indiana. As such, Clark and Pine Nature Preserve is not open to the public and available only for occasional guided hikes such as this one. Due to the close proximity of Lake Michigan, and very high natural integrity, Clark and Pine retains stands of jack pine. It also has some of the largest and deepest intact swales, supporting a plethora of submergent and floating plants. DuPont Natural Area is an approximately 160 acre remnant of dune and swale and was the far east side of the DuPont Corporation’s chemical manufacturing facility parcel. Aside from some historic sand mining and wetland fill on the west side, DuPont never developed this portion of their property. The Nature Conservancy has managed the property for nearly twenty years, transforming it from a badly neglected, invasive plant dominated remnant into the finest wilderness experience to be had in the Grand Calumet. Like Clark and Pine Nature Preserve, DuPont remains closed to the public. Open only for guided hikes, DuPont is a living showcase for the success of steady, consistent care. DuPont also provides one of the best opportunities to witness the ecological significance of the Great Lakes Legacy Act’s remediation efforts on the Grand Calumet River.



McMahon Woods & Fen and Cranberry Slough nature preserves (Northeastern Morainal Section) Difficulty: moderate, all day

These sites are the top land management priority of the Cook County Forest Preserves and total 1030 acres.

McMahon Woods and Fen supports rolling woodland and the notable fen community. Extensive land management is bringing out the best in this site.

Cranberry Slough typifies the rolling topography of the Valparaiso Moraine of the Northeastern Morainal Division of Illinois. Formerly, the site supported a mosaic of prairie and oak savanna. Currently, the steep slopes support both young upland forests and remnants of degraded prairie. The kettleholes currently support sedge meadow and marsh communities. Water levels have been held at artificially high water levels by shallow dams so consequently, beaver and other wetland wildlife have been recorded from this preserve.

Miller Woods and Cowles Bog (Lake Plain) Difficulty: Moderate, all day

Miller Woods – see https://www.nps.gov/indu/learn/nature/black-oak-savannas.htm

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore staff is managing over a thousand acres of black oak savanna. Featuring striking examples of dune and swale topography, this area has more dramatic topographic relief than the Illinois Dunes, due to the greater sand deposition in this area. Despite the tragic loss of the Karner Blue butterfly from Indiana, land management continues and this highly diverse landscape is well worth seeing.

Cowle’s Bog – see https://www.nps.gov/indu/learn/nature/great-marsh-restoration.htm. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is actively working to restore the National Natural Landmark, Cowles Bog, and adjacent wetlands. Collectively the area is known as Cowles Bog Wetland Complex. Although wounded by invasive species, the Park Service has been making great efforts to save and restore this remarkable natural area. This is still one of the great southern bogs in North America.

Indiana Dunes State Park Family Outing (Lake Plain), Difficulty: up to you, all day

Visit Indiana Dunes State Park – see http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2980.htm. A day at the beach for family and members who just want to play and see nature at their own pace. We will provide lunches for participants ($10). Indiana Dunes State Park is a great place to play on the beautiful beaches, hike the dunes, and see the nature preserve, or whatever you wish, although the lake will surely be cold.

Saturday Morning Half-day Field Trips 8:30 – Noon

Sedge Workshop (with Paul Marcum) Difficulty: easy, morning, Limit 12

Meet at room F1206 for a presentation and dichotomous key practice, then head to the field to look for sedges, then back in the lab to id some of the finds. Lunch will be followed by an opportunity for afternoon field trips.

Possibility Place Nursery Tour (with Kelsey Shaw) Difficulty: easy, morning

Tour the premier nursery for native woody plant production in Illinois. And they grow many forbs, as well. All plants produced with minimal chemical use, resulting in many native insects on the grounds.

Saturday afternoon Half-Day Field Trips 1:30 – 4:00

Chicago Ridge Prairie (Moraine Section) Difficulty: Easy; Length: afternoon

This site preserves mesic gravel and wet prairie of the northeastern Morainal Natural Division and was protected with significant help from two of our members, Jean Sellar and Lou Mulé. There will also be a side trip to another nearby small prairie. A little gem nestled in the city, this site will dazzle you.

Sculpture Park at Governor’s State University Difficulty: Easy; Afternoon.

The Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park is a collection of 29 master works of large-scale sculpture situated within 100 acres of prairie landscape. This “museum-in-the-prairie” is open for public viewing 365 days a year and is free of charge. The Park provides programs for adults and children that integrate art and nature. Although it is located on the campus of Governors State University, it was founded and is maintained through grants and donations from businesses and individuals. http://www.govst.edu/Nathan_manilow_Sculpture_Park/

Sunday Morning Field Trip 8:30 – 11:30AM

Limestone Park Bioblitz (Sunday) (Kankakee Sands Region) free lunch. Difficulty: moderate, Morning.

Visit Limestone Park (west of Kankakee) to do a bioblitz. Communities range from dry-mesic sand savanna to wet prairie sloughs. Land management activities have begun at this 120-acre park, but no botanical surveys have been done.

Hickory Creek Nature Preserve (Sunday) (Valparaiso Moraine), No Lunch, Difficulty: Hard, Morning.

This site protects savanna and woodlands, with a series of seeps located along Hickory Creek. Extensive thinning and ash die-off has made walking off-trail difficult in many areas. The rewards are nice seep springs, a seepy wetland and savanna in the early stages of recovery.

Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve (Sunday) Valparaiso Moraine), No Lunch, Difficulty: Moderate, morning.

This site protects woodland, savanna and some degraded prairie at the southern end of the Valparaiso Moraine. Once the site of the Massasauga Rattlesnake, it remains an exceptional herpetological location with Kirtland’s and smooth green snakes, blue spotted and numerous other salamanders.

Field Trip Partners:

The Nature Conservancy of Illinois and Indiana
Governor State University
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Cook County Forest Preserve District
Forest Preserve District of Will County
Village of Oak Lawn, Illinois


Red Roof Inn, Monee, Illinois, (708) 534-0022, https://www.redroof.com/property/il/monee/RRI748

Country Host Motel, Monee, Illinois, (708) 534-2150, http://www.countryhostmotel.com/

Quality Inn, Monee, Illinois, (708) 534-3500, https://www.choicehotels.com/

Super 8 Motel, Monee, Illinois, (708) 627-0181, https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/hotels/monee-illinois?brand_id=SE9


Camping at the Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve is available for INPS members at the in-county resident rate of $15.00 per night. This preserve offers pod campsites. Each pod contains two campsites, each with its own fire ring and picnic table. Pods can accommodate up to six tents each. These campsites are ideal for group camping trips. One campsite is on crushed stone and one concrete pad is ADA accessible. Drinking water is available. The site has pit toilets. Post-field trip showers are available at the GSU Recreation Center. This will be on the registration form as one-day passes will be issued for the Center.

Nearby amenities include 2.30 miles of natural surface and paved preserve trails, and the 3.17-mile crushed limestone Plum Creek Greenway Trail and Plum Creek Nature Center. Call 708-946-2216 to reserve a site.




Evil Horse Brewing, 1338 Main Street, Crete, Illinois Good beer, nice place, live music Saturday night.


Kankakee Mallow T-Shirts

T-shirts will be available to pre-order soon. Watch the Kankakee Torrent Chapter Page for more information. https://illinoisplants.org/kankakee-torrent-chapter/