2022 Illinois Indigenous Plants Symposium

Theme: Rarity

May 13-14, 2022

This is a FREE event! Please register using the form at the bottom of this page.

The board of the Southern Chapter of INPS has decided to make the 2022 Illinois Indigenous Plants Symposium free as it is a lighter version than past symposiums. This year will feature a student poster session and plenary talk on Friday evening, with light refreshments provided. Then Saturday morning will feature two botanical walks for you to choose from. See below for details.


Friday, May 13, 2022
5:00pm – 6:00pm Student poster session
6:00pm – 7:00pm Plenary talk

In Person
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Life Science III Auditorium
1135 Lincoln Dr.
Carbondale, IL 62901


Plenary talk: “Using conservation genetics to help conserve and manage rare Midwestern plants”
Christine E. Edwards, PhD
Stephen and Camilla Brauer Conservation Geneticist
Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development
Missouri Botanical Garden
4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis MO 63110

Correspondence: Christine.edwards@mobot.org

As natural habitats continue to be lost and degraded as the result of anthropogenic stressors, many rare plant species are becoming increasingly threatened. For many rare and endangered plant species, in-depth research into their biology is often necessary to prevent their extinction and to ensure that they are adequately conserved. Conservation Genetics is a field of applied research that employs genetic data to understand more about the ecology, evolution, and genetic diversity of rare, threatened and endangered species. Conservation genetics can help understand aspects of a species’ biology such as their life history characteristics, parentage, spatial structuring of genetic variation, evolutionary and demographic history, and their distinctiveness from relatives. The results of conservation genetic studies are used for conservation applications such as determining conservation strategies to conserve as much genetic diversity as possible and ensuring that conservation efforts are being devoted to unique species that are truly endangered, with the ultimate goal of helping to ensure that conservation efforts are effective and fiscally responsible. In this presentation, I provide an overview of the research conducted in the Plant Conservation Genetics Laboratory at the Missouri Botanical Garden and outline several examples where we have employed conservation genetics to help make conservation decisions for rare Midwestern plant species.

Saturday, May 14, 2022
9:00am – 12:00pm Ferne Clyffe Botanical Walk
9:00am – 12:00pm Giant City Botanical Walk

Walk Descriptions and Directions

Ferne Clyffe State Park – Round Bluff Nature Preserve Trail
Led by Jenny Lesko, Jennifer.lesko@illinois.gov

1.25 miles, Moderate

This loop trail takes hikers around the large and diverse Round Bluff. The bluff has xeric species that are adapted to very dry conditions and life on rocks. Below, the aspect of the bluff alters the species that are present. Ferns grow in vast quantities along the rocks and the trail has a suite of species that are not commonly encountered growing in such close quarters. Spring wildflowers will also be in bloom during the hike. The trail has some rugged terrain and moderate inclines but is maintained and many areas have stairs installed. Participants should wear sturdy hiking footwear and be aware that ticks will be out. Bug spray and drinking water is recommended.

The trail head is located at the pavilion overlooking Ferne Clyffe lake from the Southwest. From rt. 37 take the park entrance road to the first stop sign and take a left. Take the road to a fork in the road and take a left. The parking lot for the pavilion will be your first left after the fork. GPS: 37.53160238204584, -88.97904247397034

Giant City State Park – Trillium Trail
Led by Travis Neal, travis@friendsilnature.org

2 miles, Rugged

This loop trail has large overhanging bluffs with both dry and mesic species represented. There is a great fern diversity on the trail and spring wildflower display along with upland species like blackjack oaks and post oaks. The trail is popular and well-marked. The trail has rocky areas with steep terrain. Participants should wear sturdy hiking footwear and be aware that ticks will be out. Bug spray and drinking water is recommended.

The trailhead is off of Stonefort Road, Northeast of the Makanda town hall. There is limited parking at the trailhead so the group will use the shelter 1 parking lot nearby. GPS for shelter 1 parking lot: 37.625779427288386, -89.19942280107897