2023 Annual Gathering


Hosted by the Central Chapter

When: September 29, 30 and October 1, 2023

Venue: The State House Inn, 101 East Adams Street, Springfield, IL

Keynote speaker: Doug Tallamy

Registration Information

Full Conference

  • INPS MEMBER (includes Friday evening meet and greet with heavy hors d’oeuvres, choice of Saturday field trips with box lunch, Saturday buffet dinner with keynote speaker, Doug Tallamy, and choice of Sunday morning field trip) – $75
  • INPS MEMBER WITH NON-MEMBER GUEST (includes all of the above) – $150
  • NON-MEMBER (includes all of the above plus an INPS membership through 2024)$100
  • STUDENT, enrolled half time or more (includes all of the above except membership)$60
  • 2023 STATE GRANTEES (includes Friday meet and greet, box lunch, and Saturday dinner) – no fee

Saturday Evening Only

  • MEMBERS/NON-MEMBERS (Saturday buffet dinner with keynote speaker, Doug Tallamy) – $50

Meals and beverages: The Friday meet and greet will include heavy hors d’oeuvres with a cash bar. The Saturday buffet dinner will include a vegetarian option and a cash bar. Please specify your preference for a vegetarian box lunch when registering for a Saturday field trip.

Schedule of Events

Sign-in and evening activities will be in downtown Springfield at the State House Inn, 101 East Adams Street, Springfield, IL 62701. Please note that you may need some additional travel time in Springfield because there are one-way streets in the area and detours caused by railroad relocation construction.

Silent Auction
Donations to Saturday’s silent auction are welcome. Donors should please email trishquintenz@gmail.com and include for each item the name(s) of the donor, what the article is, a good concise description, and an approximate value. Please include contact information for the donor and the name/contact information for the person bringing the item. There is information in this form about when and where to bring the item.

Friday, September 29

5 to 7 PM—Registration and check-in at hotel. Meet and greet with cash bar. Drop off silent auction items.

7 to 8:30 PM—Welcome and Introductions by INPS President Janine Catchpole, Central Chapter President Trish Quintenz, and INPS Grants Committee Coordinator Susanne Masi

Brief research reports by INPS Grantees

Saturday, September 30

8 AM—Meet at State House Inn

Pick up box lunches for today’s field trips

Drop off Silent Auction items

8:30 AM—Meet your field trip leaders and be sure you have today’s instructions/directions. NOTE: Participants in the SPECIAL TREES field trip will meet the trip leader at 8:20 for orientation and depart at 8:30.

Depart for field trips

4 PM—Arrive back at the State House Inn

4 to 5 PM—Free time and clean up

5 to 6 PM—Book signings by Doug Tallamy and Guy Sternberg, cash bar and silent auction bidding

6 to 7 PM—Dinner buffet

7:15 PM—Key Note Speaker, Doug Tallamy, presents The Nature of Oaks

8:15 PM—Final bids on Silent Auction items

8:30 PM—Silent Auction successful bidders announced. Successful bidders must then pay using cash, check or credit card.

Sunday, October 1

8:30 AM—Meet for instructions for Sunday morning field trips

9 AM—Depart for field trips

Field Trips

WHAT TO KNOW: All field trips are to Illinois locations. Saturday afternoon field trips will be back in Springfield by 4 PM. Bring items appropriate to your field trip(s) from the following: suitable clothing, hat and footwear, insect repellent, sunscreen, extra drinks, cameras, cell phone, hiking stick, field guides.

Saturday, September 30

Attendees are responsible for transportation to field trip sites. Carpooling is required for the Special Trees field trip and encouraged for all others. Maldaner’s is a few blocks from the State House Inn, a walkable distance for those who prefer to walk.


Horn Prairie Grove is a 30-acre virgin prairie remnant in Fayette County under the stewardship of Keith Horn. It is part of the Southern Till Plain Prairie ecosystem, with seeps and other natural features undamaged. This is one of the rarest prairie types in Illinois, and Horn Prairie might be the largest intact example. A floristic survey of the prairie and of six acres of adjacent woodland was started in 2015 by INPS expert Henry Eilers with botanist Bill McClain (currently the plant specialist) and others also contributing. In 2022 there were 4 plant surveys in different locations in the Prairie. So far, this intense eight-year “search and ID” program has yielded 626 species!

Location: Near Ramsey in Fayette County. Driving time from Springfield is approximately 75 minutes
Tour Leader: Keith Horn
This day long tour on Saturday includes a box lunch.
Degree of Difficulty: Moderate (Mostly level terrain on cleared but lengthy paths)
Restrooms are available at the Casey’s in Ramsey. There is an outhouse on site.


THIS TRIP IS FULL. This all-day Saturday trip features unique trees from Springfield north in Sangamon County and adjacent Menard County. It’s an opportunity to see trees that are especially rare, large, historic or special in other ways, plus a few surprises! Trip leader, Guy Sternberg, has permission to visit sites on private land not usually accessible to the public, sites he has discovered during decades of “tree hunting”. Because many of the sites are privately owned, this trip is adults only, no collecting. The group will car-pool caravan (7 vehicles maximum with at least 4 persons per vehicle). The tour involves no bushwhacking, creek wading or climbing. If the trip stays on schedule, there will be the opportunity to visit additional intriguing sites.

Location: Sangamon and Menard Counties
Tour Leader: Guy Sternberg of Starhill Forest Arboretum
Degree of Difficulty: Easy with numerous times getting in/out of vehicles.
This day long tour with lunch begins with orientation at 8:20AM, departure at 8:30AM, and return to the hotel by 4PM.
Restrooms are available at the lunch stop.


Located on the highly dissected loess hills of southern Mason County, Revis Hill Prairie offers grand vistas 200 feet above the broad Sangamon River bottom. Revis represents some of the best remaining hill prairies once common on steep slopes and hilltops of the Prairie State. Lou Nelms, local steward of this 450 acre nature preserve owned and managed by IDNR, will lead this all-day Saturday tour. Participants will see a rich community of dry prairie species exposed to extremes of sun, wind, droughty soils and frequent fires. They will also walk to the top of the ‘Big Prairie’, representative of loess over glacial till prairies, and have the opportunity to discuss geology, environmental history, and challenges to stewarding this precious preserve.

Location: Mason County
Tour Leader: Lou Nelms
Degree of Difficulty: Challenging terrain with steep hills. Wear boots.
This day-long trip includes lunch.
Restrooms: Not available at the site.


The Illinois Department of Natural Resources Sand Prairie Scrub Oak Nature Preserve features “a mixture of dry sand prairie, dry sand savanna, and dry sand forest. Little bluestem, goats rue, eastern prickly pear cactus, sand love grass, and porcupine grass characterize the sand prairie. Blowouts, areas of actively moving sand, are sites where beach grass, three-awn grass, and Mohlenbrock’s sedge may be found.” Blackjack, black oaks, mockernut, and black hickories are present in the forest.

The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve results from restoring more than 6,000 acres of Illinois River floodplain. One of the most significant wetland restoration projects in the Midwest, the Emiquon Preserve provides habitat for various aquatic, terrestrial, and avian species. In addition to aquatic habitats, Emiquon restoration includes prairie, floodplain forest, and upland forest habitats.

Together, these remarkable land- and waterscapes provide an opportunity to discuss geology, river history, human use of the landscape, restoration ecology, and the significance of wetlands.

Location: Mason and Fulton County
Tour Leader: Michael Wiant and Terri Treacy
Degree of Difficulty: Level terrain. Comfortable walking shoes/boots.
This day-long trip includes lunch.
Restrooms: Available at Dickson Mounds Museum.


This Saturday morning tour of 3B Natives Plant Nursery is a rare opportunity to visit a nursery specializing in growing native plants. This wholesale operation, a subsidiary of Fromm-Huff Farm, Inc., has over 30 years of experience producing native plants for large scale restoration projects as well as home garden installations. Owner Terra Ozenkoski and grower Wendy Beckerman have invited us to learn about the growing process. Follow the entire cycle, from germination and growing for sale, to the fields and seed processing. We will tour the greenhouse production area, get a look at the seed production fields, and potentially take a look at the prairie restoration and native woodlands on site. The nursery is located in Sangamon County near Pleasant Plains, Illinois. More information can be found on their website.

Location: Near Pleasant Plains, in Sangamon County
Leaders: Terra Ozenkoski and Wendy Beckerman
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
This half day trip begins at 8:30
Restrooms: In Springfield; with limited availability on site


Susan Helm, developer of a number of local native plant projects, leads this Saturday AM visit of one of Springfield’s unique gardens. Maldaner’s in downtown Springfield is the oldest continuously operating restaurant on Route 66. Chef and owner Michael Higgins is an environmentalist and his rooftop garden is a testament to this, hosting a bee hive, solar panels to help provide power for the building, and about 300 crates filled with native plants. These portable plants offer a unique pollinator habitat 3 floors up from the sidewalk. Started in 2009 as a way to provide the restaurant with fresh vegetables and herbs, the garden soon morphed into a one supporting pollinators.

Location: Downtown Springfield
Leader: Susan Helm
Degree of Difficulty: Easy—stairs or elevator
This half day trip begins at 8:30 and ends at 11-11:30. Restroom are available at the site.


This Garden serves as a living memorial to the landscape and native plants Abraham Lincoln would have known growing up in Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. Designed by internationally known landscape architect Jens Jensen, this 100-acre site features six miles of trails, footbridges, a pond, eight stone council rings, and dozens of wooden benches inscribed with Lincoln quotes. This Saturday afternoon tour, led by LMG’s head gardener, Marissa Jones, explores the garden’s extensive history and rich diversity of woodland and prairie species (perennials, shrubs and trees, including a state champion). LMG is an Emerald Ash Borer federal wasp treatment experimental site. It includes a preview of the garden’s newest installation, the Children’s Woodland Garden, and a stroll along Lake Springfield’s widest stretch of shoreline. All walking is along the woodchipped trails and sidewalk.

Location: Lake Springfield
Tour Leader: Marissa Jones, Head Gardener
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
This half day tour begins at noon with box lunch and ends at 3 PM Restrooms available at the Garden

Sunday Morning, October 1

Attendees are responsible for transportation to the field trip sites. One is conveniently located for access to I-55 North and the other is along I-55 South


The recently completed Route 66 Monarch Flyway exhibit combines two icons—Route 66 in Illinois and the monarch butterfly’s migration path and habitat. The Route 66 component includes replicas of the most iconic signs along Route 66 in Illinois. The monarch flyway component includes a pollinator habitat of four raised beds filled with over 60 species of native plants and is a unique tribute to the state insect, the monarch butterfly. In this Sunday morning tour, Susan Helm describes how representatives of private, public and volunteer groups came together to develop and maintain this year-round exhibit available to visitors of Route 66. What makes this story special is that the pollinator habitat is maintained by Illinois inmate crews as well as local volunteers.

Location: Springfield, Illinois State Fairgrounds
Leader: Susan Helm
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
This half day trip meets at 9 AM.
Restrooms are available onsite.

ROUTE 66 PRAIRIE (Off of I-55, approx. 50 miles South of Springfield)

A 10-acre site under the stewardship of Henry Eilers, along with Glenn Savage, the Route 66 Prairie along I-55 South near Litchfield is a rare representation of a Southern Till Plain prairie. Old US 66 once cut through the center of the tract, making the prairie a mosaic of remnant prairie vegetation and ongoing restoration. In 2017 Connie Cunningham and Eric Ulaszek of the INHS observed 217 species in 3 days. Some 10% of them have strong southern affinities. Among the late species that may still be flowering are 3 Gentiana species. This site is set apart from most other Illinois prairies by its seasonally very wet soils that have unique features such as numerous high PH alkaline pockets with mineral concretions. The extensive wet areas are mostly dominated by vegetation growing on tussocks. Wetland species, especially graminoids are an important part of the prairie matrix, especially so along a small prairie drainage.  Species diversity is very high, ranging from mosses to orchids.  A number of woody plant species form thickets: American and Chickasaw plum, Iowa crab, 2 species of dogwood, buttonbush, willow and more. The features of this prairie, no doubt, account for the high diversity of invertebrates and make the site an important pollinator haven. It has been declared a pollinator way station on the Illinois Monarch Trail. Infrastructure consists of parking, a well signed nature trail and a recently installed large Monarch sculpture.

Location: Near Litchfield in Montgomery County
Leader: Henry Eilers
This Sunday morning trip begins at 9 AM.
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Restrooms: In Litchfield

Lodging at the Conference Hotel

A block of rooms has been reserved at $119 per night at the State House Inn, 101 E Adams in Springfield. Be sure to ask for the INPS room block rate when making your reservation.


Attractions within 5 blocks of State House Inn:

Lincolns Home Daily 9am-5pm (visitor center opens at 8:30am)

Illinois State Capitol M-F 8am-4pm, Sat 9am-3pm (no tours Noon to 1pm)

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum Daily 9am-5pm (last entry is 4pm)

Illinois State Museum M-Sat 9am-4:30pm, Sun Noon -4:30pm (80’s Exhibit, Growing up X)

Old State Capitol Farmers Market
Corner of 4th & Adams St
Saturday, 8:00 am – 12:30 pm


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