Code of Conduct

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The Northeast Chapter of the Illinois Native Plant Society aims to promote the appreciation, conservation, and study of the native flora and natural communities of Northeastern Illinois. The Northeast Chapter of the Illinois Native Plant Society aims to be a safe and welcoming space for all. This Code of Conduct lays out what behavior is appropriate from all INPS members, participants, and leaders, and details how we will work to address inappropriate behavior.

Exemplary behavior

  • Treating others with kindness and respect
  • Rejecting racist, sexist, ableist, classist, homophobic, sizeist, and xenophobic behavior
  • Using someone’s preferred pronouns
  • Acknowledging our own privileges and using them to lift up others who may not have those privileges
  • Taking turns when speaking/sharing; not monopolizing conversations; recognizing when someone’s voice has not yet been heard
  • Acknowledging and respecting differences of opinion; when disagreeing, doing so agreeably; politely critiquing ideas and not individuals
  • Recognizing that some events can present unique safety risks and taking steps to prevent harm (and recognizing that each of us have different abilities and concerns); examples may include walking/navigating/driving carefully, wearing long pants to avoid ticks or poison ivy, avoiding excessive sun exposure, and speaking up if there are any safety concerns
  • Following local rules, regulations, and naturalists’ codes of ethics. Our respect extends to the natural world. Leave natural features as found and never chase or disrupt wildlife. Avoid trampling by staying on trails where possible and if off trail routes are necessary, prevent new trail creation by walking slightly different routes when with a group of people. Refer to resources such as the Leave No Trace principles and ABA birding code of ethics

Inappropriate behavior

  • Unwanted physical, verbal, or written contact, sexual attention, or advances
  • Verbal harassment, including comments, epithets, slurs, threats, and stereotyping that is offensive, hostile, disrespectful, or unwelcome, such as unwanted comments on others’ appearance, abilities, or sexual orientation
  • Bullying, threats, intimidation, lying, or manipulation
  • Gear shaming, such as making fun of someone for wearing sneakers instead of hiking boots
  • Sharing others’ confidential information
  • Failing to sign/agree to an event waiver or other required agreement
  • Digging of plants, collecting seeds, or otherwise removing, disturbing, or disrupting flora, fauna, or natural features without permission of the landowner and/or other permitting bodies (other than minor disturbances, e.g. by an event leader for the purpose of illustrating identification or other educational purposes)
  • Retaliation for a reported violation

Northeast Chapter INPS members, participants, and leaders are responsible for upholding the terms of this Code of Conduct and reporting violations if they encounter them. This Code governs interactions between community members, participants, and leaders, including on walks, at events (both in-person and remote), and even in their personal lives. If you witness a Code of Conduct violation or have concerns about an individual’s past behavior, please send an email to the Chapter Board at with:

  1. the name of the individual(s),
  2. a description of the behavior or incident, and
  3. evidence, if you are able

If you feel more comfortable reporting details of a violation only to a trusted person (rather than the whole Chapter Board), please say so in the email and we can work with you to create a safe space to voice your concern.

The Chapter Board reserves the right to determine what constitutes inappropriate or unacceptable behavior and will take appropriate action in response. These actions can include, but are not limited to, warnings, removal of individuals from events, mediation, barring individuals from engaging in future INPS activities (in-person and online).

Note: this Code of Conduct was in part inspired by that of the Feminist Bird Club. Thank you.