2020 Community Habitat Symposium

2020 Community Habitat Symposium

Building Native Ecosystems in your Community
February 22, 2020

Joliet Junior College
1215 Houbolt Road
U Building
Joliet, IL 60431

Cost: $35 per person by February 9, $40 afterwards. Registration closes on February 13, 2020. Limit of 125 people, so register early.

Registration includes:

  • Morning snacks: Coffee, tea, orange juice, fresh fruit bowl, cinnamon rolls, croissant, muffins and bagels, with butter and cream cheese
  • Lunch: Includes assorted Frito Lay products, assorted cookies, cans of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, or Sierra Mist
  • Sandwich Choices:
    • Italian Ciabatta: Salami, Pepperoni, Provolone Cheese, Pesto, Red Onions, Spinach, Tomato, Leaf Lettuce, and Italian Herb Vinaigrette
    • Turkey, Bacon Cranberry: Smoked Turkey Breast, Dried Cranberries, Candied Walnuts, Leaf Lettuce and Sweet Onion Vinaigrette
    • Grilled Mediterranean Vegetable Wrap: Grilled Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Tomatoes, Red Bell Peppers Onions, Spinach, Feta Cheese and Red Pepper Hummus
    • Chicken Caesar Wrap: Grilled Chicken, Romaine Lettuce, Parmesan Cheese and Caesar Dressing

The symposium is made possible by the Kankakee Torrent Chapter of the Illinois Native Plant Society in collaboration with Joliet Junior College Department of Natural Science.


Register online at the Community Habitat Symposium Registration page. Space is limited, so register early.

Saturday, February 22

8:30 Registration opens U Building Atrium
8:50 Welcome: Dr. Judy Mitchell U Building Auditoriums 1022-1026
9:00 Building Native Ecosystems in your Community: Floyd Catchpole U Building Auditoriums 1022-1026
Morning Concurrent sessions

At Home with Native Plants and Animals Acres of Prairie, Savanna, Woods and Work

U Building Second Floor: Rooms TBA U Building Auditoriums: 1022-1026
9:30 The Big Switch: Transitioning to a Native Plant Landscape: Kelsay Shaw Land Management Initiative in Southern Cook County: Chip O’Leary
10:30 Practical Advice for Gardening with Native Plants: Collecting and Preserving Seeds from your Garden: Iza Redlinski New Ecological Management and Monitoring Techniques: Juli Mason
11:30 Gardening for Butterflies and Moths in Illinois: Sue Dees Hargrove Conservation Opportunities for Private Landowners: Tony Kloppenborg
12:15 Visit vendors/lunch break Location U Building Atrium and Concourse
Afternoon Concurrent Sessions
1:30 Plants for Birds: Why Native Plants can turn your space into and Avian Oasis: Daniel Suarez Take the Shrub I.D. Challenge: Native or Not Dr. Sally Weeks
2:30 Strategies for a Changing Climate: The Growing need for Urban Forestry Oak Reproduction in Restored Savanna: Tom Simpson
3:30 Keynote Address A Thousand Distant Memories: An Entomologist’s Perspective on Ecosystem Restoration: Michael Jeffords

Community Habitat Symposium

Track 1

At Home with Native Plants

This track is geared toward homeowners and the urban/suburban community interested in building green corridors through neighborhoods yard-by-yard, park-by-park. The topics covered will explain relationships between native plants and native animals, explore the threat of non-native invasive species and share opportunities for learning more about this subject.

The Big Switch: Transitioning to a Native Plant Landscape (Kelsay Shaw)

Creating great landscape design with native plants using good design principles that will please you, your neighbors and the environment.

Practical Advice for Gardening with Native Plants: Collecting and Preserving Seeds from your Garden (Izabella Redlinski)

Come learn why and how to start and continue to grow your garden with native plants. Learn basic do’s and don’ts, plant and design suggestions. Find out more about seed collection and storage and see some lessons learned in practice. Some hand-outs will be available, good discussion and exchange with current gardeners should follow. 

Gardening for Butterflies and Moths in Illinois (Sue Dees Hargrove)

This talk will illustrate nectar plants and caterpillar foodplants for Illinois butterflies and moths. All stages of various butterfly and moth species and their appropriate larval host plants will be shown. Lepidoptera rearing will be discussed. 

Plants for Birds: Why Native Plants can turn your space into and Avian Oasis (Daniel Suarez)

Your garden is your outdoor sanctuary. With some careful plant choices, it can be a haven for native birds as well. Learn from Daniel Suarez, Audubon Great Lakes’ Stewardship Manager and native plant expert to learn how landscaping with native species in your yard, patio, or balcony can transform your home into a vital recharge station for birds passing through and a sanctuary for nesting and overwintering birds. Each patch of restored native habitat is just that—a patch in the frayed fabric of the ecosystem in which it lies. By landscaping with native plants, we can turn a patchwork of green spaces into a quilt of restored habitat. 

Strategies for a Changing Climate: The Growing need for Urban Forestry (Brent “Drew” Hart)

This presentation will focus on strategies for developing sustainable urban forestry programs in your community or neighborhood. Various success stories of community tree planting initiatives with volunteers will be presented. From gravel bed growing systems to corporate days of service, this presentation will share practical strategies on how to grow your urban forest. Based on the collective impact model, learn how to increase community engagement, provide volunteer opportunities, create habitat for wildlife and a healthier environment.

Track 2

Acres of Prairie, Savanna, Woods and Work

This track is geared to large tract private landowners, public land managers, and people working on restoration projects on a larger scale.

Land Management Initiative in Southern Cook County (Chip O’Leary)

The Forest Preserves of Cook County contain over 10,000 acres of natural areas arrayed along the southern tier of the county. Many natural communities persist here ranging from the shallow wetlands, prairies and savannas of the southeastern sand country to the forests, woodlands, and grasslands  of the morainal lands in the southwest. Embedded in a highly urbanized landscape, these natural communities face many challenges. Recent partnerships and projects are exploring ways to ensure these lands recover and the many state-listed plants that rely upon them to survive.

New Ecological Management and Monitoring Techniques(Juli Mason)

Invasive shrubs are a prevalent and persistent threat to our natural areas.  Juli has been using oil-water emulsions to treat invasive woodies in basal bark treatments that are both effective, efficient, and more ecologically friendly (uses less oil).   In this split presentation, she will also talk about a rapid assessment monitoring protocol that has been working well.  As managers and stewards of natural areas, we constantly have more management to do than time or resources to do all of it.  Monitoring plant community changes often gets booted to the bottom of the to-do list.  Juli will show a monitoring protocol that is fast enough for busy land managers and stewards to use systematically.

Conservation Opportunities for Private Landowners (Tony Kloppenborg)

This presentation will cover conservation opportunities for private landowners.  Programs discussed will include the USFW Partners for Fish and Wildlife, Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP),  USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).  Benefits for landowners and wildlife will be discussed.

Take the Shrub I.D. Challenge: Native or Not (Dr. Sally Weeks)

Winter is a prime time for managing woody species. But it is important to be sure you know how to identify plants without leaves.

Oak Reproduction in Restored Savanna (Tom Simpson)

Oak reproduction is often scarce or lacking in oak savannas and woodlands under ecological restoration, despite the fact that large canopy gaps created by the removal of invasive brush allow abundant sunlight to reach the ground surface. Understanding and facilitating natural reproduction is important to the progress of ecological restoration. I will discuss observations and experiments that provide a better understanding of the early stages in the life cycle of oaks, in particular factors related to the caching of acorns by squirrels and blue jays.

Keynote Address: Michael Jeffords

A Thousand Distant Memories: An Entomologist’s Perspective on Ecosystem Restoration

Michael Jeffords explores the complexity of habitat restoration with regard to native plants, native insects, and their interactions. 

About Our Speakers:

Floyd Catchpole

Land Management Program Coordinator

Forest Preserve District of Will County

Floyd received his B.S., botany from EIU and M.S. Biology, studying bison grazing effects at Kansas State. He has worked as an ecologist at the Forest Preserve District of Will County since 2001, and been active in the Illinois Native Plant Society since 1989. He is currently State President of INPS.

Susan Dees Hargrove

Biological Resources Specialist

Bureau of Design and Environment Natural Resources Unit

Illinois Department of Transportation

Susan has served as a biologist for IDOT since 1994, reviewing 300+ proposed projects annually for their potential impacts to endangered species and wetlands.  She has studied butterflies and moths for over 50 years and gardened for pollinators for over 25 years.   She was active in central Illinois environmental groups for over 20 years, and in INPS since 1989.  She managed family woodlands for invasive exotic plant species for 15 years.

Brett “Drew” Hart

Natural Resource Specialist Chicago Region

U.S. Forest Service

Working with cities and towns across the Chicago region to build momentum and capacity for urban forestry.

Dr. Michael Jeffords

Michael is a retired entomologist from the University of Illinois Prairie Research Institute, Illinois Natural History Survey, where he served as a research scientist and the education/outreach coordinator. Jeffords is a freelance writer and photographer, and has authored or edited fiver books, including Curious Encounters with Nature: From Grumpy Spiders to Hidden TigersExploring Nature in Illinois and A Field Guide to Illinois Butterflies (all with Susan Post). He was also staff photographer for the Illinois Steward magazine for nearly 20 years. While he and his wife (Susan Post) travel widely across the U.S. and the world, his home base continues to be Champaign, IL.

Tony Kloppenborg

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

I am currently the coordinator for the Illinois Recreational Access Program.  I have previously worked for Pheasants Forever and USGS as a biological technician, and started my career as a Fisheries Observer for the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Julianne Mason

Restoration Program Coordinator

Forest Preserve District of Will County

Juli grew up on a vineyard in upstate New York, where she got the “outdoor bug”. She has worked as an ecologist in the Chicago region for the past 20 years. She works as a restoration ecologist for the Forest Preserve District of Will County. She has a B.A. in Biology (as well as one in Japan Studies) from Earlham College in Richmond, IN, and a M.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from UIUC.

Chip O’Leary

Deputy Director of Resource Management

Forest Preserves of Cook County

Chip O’Leary oversees the department’s science sections (ecology, fisheries, wildlife). He formerly served as the Preserves’ senior ecologist. His prior conservation work has been in northwest Indiana and northeastern Illinois working on assembling and restoring examples of native ecosystems. Most recently, he has worked with partners on a comprehensive conservation plan to restore the most important biological sites in the county.

Iza(bella) Redlinski

Conservation Ecologist

Field Museum

Iza is a Conservation Ecologist working at the Field Museum to create more urban habitat and preserve the biodiversity of the natural areas in Chicagoland. Most of Iza’s professional experience is in large scale restorations where she worked to bring back native plant communities. Increasingly she finds herself working in smaller urban areas from front and back yards to community spaces and studying the effect of these spaces and their influence on both people and nature. In her time off you can find her in her own native garden (or in the gardens that belong to her family and friends trying to add native plants), or the tiny greenhouse where she dabbles in native plant propagation. 

Kelsay Shaw

Botanist and Sales Consultant

Possibility Place Nursery

Kelsay has a B.S. in botany from Eastern Illinois University and has been doing work in the industry for more than 25 years. He has taught classes on native plants, lectured about their uses and environmental impacts, as well as consulting on projects large and small for Possibility Place.

Tom Simpson

Research Field Station Ecologist

McHenry County Conservation District

Tom’s role at MCCD includes ecological restoration management, conducting a program of applied scientific research focused on improving techniques of restoration management, and teaching educational workshops for the public and staff of the Conservation District.  Tom also runs the Weekend of Restoration program, which invites members of the general public to Glacial Park for an intensive experience of doing and learning about ecological restoration. Participants plant trees, scatter seeds, eat, talk, learn, and listen to poetry and prose together. Tom has a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in Natural Resources, an M.S. in Forest Ecology from Auburn University, and a B.S in Forest Science from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Daniel Suarez

Stewardship Program Manager

Audubon Great Lakes

Daniel Suarez oversees volunteer and intern-led restoration work within Audubon’s priority grassland and coastal wetland sites. Daniel also co-chairs the Chicago Wilderness Grassland Bird Task Force, which coordinates grassland stewardship on a regional level. Prior to Audubon, Daniel was a Research Assistant for the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Plants of Concern program as well as a dedicated volunteer stewardship Workday Leader throughout the Forest Preserves of Cook County. 

Dr. Sally S. Weeks

Purdue Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources

Sally was born and grew up on a dairy farm near Winamac, Indiana. She “found” trees later in life, almost by accident while a student at Purdue University; they became her passion, Charles Deam her posthumous tutor, and photography her collection medium. She has received a BSF in wildlife management and a MS in Forestry from Purdue’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. She has taught Dendrology at Purdue for more than 25 years and has created two new courses, Native Shrubs of Indiana and Plants of Hoosier Habitats.