Governing Board

The Illinois Native Plant Society State Governing Board includes six Executive Committee members, two at-large board members, and the seven chapter presidents.

Executive Committee

Emily Dangremond

Emily Dangremond, now based in Vermont, continues her work in the field of plant conservation. While INPS President, Emily was an Assistant Professor of Biology at Roosevelt University, where she taught classes on ecology, evolution, and organismal biology. Her research experience is in population and community ecology, especially of rare plants and species range limits. She researched the population genetics and phenology of starflower in the Midwest, while continuing previous work on mangrove expansion in Florida. Emily worked as a postdoctoral research fellow with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center from 2013-2016. Emily received a BA from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008 and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013. She began research on rare plant population ecology as an undergraduate, working on sand dune plants in California.

Susanne Masi

Susanne Masi served as a botanist at the Chicago Botanic Garden from 1991-2013, where she co-founded and managed Plants of Concern (a citizen science-based rare plant monitoring program, now focused in NE Illinois and NW Indiana). Since retirement, in addition to volunteering for Plants of Concern, Susanne worked with the Garden’s Seeds of Success program to collect seed of Regional Forester Sensitive Species at sites in the Shawnee National Forest. She has been on the Illinois Native Plant Society Board as a member at large since 2016. Susanne served on the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board for 12 years and in 2018 is a member of the Board’s Endangered Species Technical Advisory Committee for the review of the Illinois endangered species list.

Susanne co-authored The Sunflower Family in the Upper Midwest with Thomas M. Antonio and led the team that wrote the “Status of Endangered and Threatened Species” for the 1999 Chicago Wilderness Biodiversity Recovery Plan. Susanne received Masters degrees from Northwestern University and Northeastern Illinois Universities and a B.S. from Loyola University. She lives in Algonquin, IL, with her husband Domenico D’Alessandro, an urban regenerative designer, and delights in five grandchildren.

Past President:

Lailah Reich

Lailah Reich is an ecologist with over 18 years’ experience conducting wetland delineations and developing mitigation and restoration design related to transportation, utility, commercial, and industrial development projects. She has also performed research and surveys for rare, state and federally-listed flora for over 22 years. Ms. Reich has also been involved with large-scale restoration projects at Illinois Nature Preserves and Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) sites where specific habitats for protected species are present. She has designed and conducted floristic monitoring for various wetland mitigation banks within the Midwest. In addition, she assisted with plant conservation research in the Chicago region through the Plants of Concern Program in 2003 and 2004 and conducted research through Baylor University’s REU program on a rare species endemic to Texas, Dalea reverchonii. Ms. Reich has also conducted over 1,000 wetland delineations within the Midwest Region, which requires floristic analyses.

Lailah is passionate about the preservation and protection of rare, endemic plant species in Illinois and has dedicated much of her life to gaining knowledge to aid in this pursuit. She dedicated to helping to preserve flora diversity and associated habitats for these species, and has been a member of the Illinois Native Plant Society for 10+ years.
M.A. 2008 – Candidacy Geography and Environmental Studies, Northeastern Illinois University.
B.S. 2002 – Biological Sciences, Illinois State University.

Close up of Monarda punctata inflorescence

Becky Croteau

Membership Chair:
Kelsay Shaw

Kelsay Shaw

At-Large Board Members

Nick Seaton

Nick Seaton grew up in Bourbonnais IL playing on the trails at the local Kankakee state park and in the gorges that were carved by the Kankakee torrent off rt 102. Scouts, sports, and camping were life during these years spending most of it outside. He moved down to S. IL in 2009 to study forestry and plant biology at southern Illinois University earning BS and MS degrees, respectively. Throughout the course of his time in S. IL he has worked for the Nature Conservancy with the Invasive Species Strike Team 2013-16 and is the current Project Coordinator for the River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area since 2017. He is also the current caretaker for an Audubon property in Pope co. Illinois called War Bluff Valley Sanctuary since 2018 and sits on the local SINPS board as a member at large. Outside of professional and botanical work he spends most of his free time running and woodworking and enjoying time with his animals Mingo and Lou.

Cirsium discolor

Kate Ahrens

Kate Ahrens is an Illinois native plant enthusiast, resident of the City of Joliet, currently a student of environmental horticulture at Joliet Junior College, current webmaster of the INPS and newsletter editor for the Kankakee Torrent Chapter, INPS.

Eric Ulaszek

Eric Ulaszek has been a member of INPS since its inception.  One of Eric’s first jobs was a prairie restoration technician at College of DuPage (1978). Eric has a BS in Botany and Horticulture from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and received his MS in Botany in 1988 at SIU-C.  Eric is currently a Botanist/Associate Scientist with the Illinois Natural History Survey in Champaign, conducting surveys for rare plants and assessing natural community remnants.  Eric’s previous professional experiences include botanical technician on the Shawnee National Forest and Land Between the Lakes (Kentucky & Tennessee), and Horticulturist for Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.  His hobbies include visiting southwestern deserts and propagating, growing, and sharing native plants.

Daniel Pohl

Daniel Pohl (Rockford, IL). Hi! I’ve been a member of INPS for the past 2 years. After graduating with a BS in Plant Biology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, I spent the summer traveling all over Illinois as an Assistant to Botanists on the INHS Critical Trends Assessment Project (CTAP). Then, I lived for many years in Chicago and worked in various capacities in non-profit social services, including lead government grant writer. In 2019 I moved back to Rockford and returned to the field of ecological restoration – first with the Rockford Park District, and then Applied Ecological Services (now RES). I’ve also been an active participant in the IL Botanists Big Year, events sponsored by INPS and the INPS NE Chapter, and I’ve supported and volunteered with a number of natural areas organizations in Northern Illinois. I’m interested in becoming more involved with INPS as an At-Large Board Member, and look forward to helping an organization and community that has very much helped me to be a better field botanist and a keen advocate for our native plants and natural areas. 

Sanguinaria canadensis

Brian Charles

Brian Charles

Floyd Catchpole – Kankakee Torrent
Samantha Chavez – Quad Cities
Joe Armstrong – Grand Prairie
Paul Marcum – Forest Glen
Trish Quintenz – Central
Nick Seaton – Southern

Editor: Chris Benda
Design: Martha Witt

Erigenia Editor: John Taft

Floral Update Committee Members: Eric Ulaszek, Paul Marcum, Dave Ketzner

Kate Ahrens

Connie Cunningham, Susanne Masi & Kelly Ksiazek-Mikenas

Members: Janine Catchpole, Caron Wenzel, Blazing Star, Inc., Juli Crane, Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, Kathy Hale-Johnson, Simply Native Plant Nursery, Corrine Daniels, Taylor Creek Restoration Nurseries, Roger Anderson, Illinois State University, Jack Kaskel, Red Buffalo Nursery, Kyle Banas, Pizzo Native Plant Nursery, Bill Carter, Prairie Moon Nursery, Jack Pizzo, The Pizzo Group, Rob Walker, Agrecol, Grace Koehler, Pizzo Native Plant Nursery, Ellen Starr, USDA NRCS, Sandy Ascot, Muddy Paws Garden Nursery, John Wilker, IDNR, Chris Evans, IDNR, Trish Beckjord, Midwest Groundcovers, Larry Creekmur, Country Road Greenhouses, Inc., Todd Polacek, Taylor Creek Restoration Nurseries, Carl Linman, Restoration Landscaping, Terra Ozenkoski, Fromm-Huff Farm Inc., Kelsay Shaw, Possibility Place, Terry Rohwedder, Possibility Place