Chicago Wilderness Hosts Sixth Biennial Wild Things Conference

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Nearly 2,000 conservation professionals, exhibitors, presenters, citizen-scientists and advocates gathered in Chicago on January 31 to participate in the 2015 Wild Things Conference. The biennial conference and trade show offered the diverse community of attendees more than 90 lectures, presentations, discussion groups and workshops to choose from across a wide range of interest areas including:

Advocacy/Constituency Building/Communication
Backyards/Neighborhoods/Urban Environment
Birds/Bird Conservation
Ecological Land Management and Restoration
Ecological Monitoring/Research
Natural History of the Chicago Region
Sustainability/Climate Change
Tools for Educators
Volunteers/Stewardship/Community Engagement
Water and Aquatic Ecosystems
Youth Stewardship


This year’s conference put a special focus on empowering citizens groups, trained volunteers and other advocates - providing them with information and the opportunity to network with other like-minded enthusiasts.

CDF staff members attended the day-long conference to take part in several break-out sessions and see keynote speaker Bill Kleiman from the Illinois Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.


Of special interest was the break-out session entitled, A Users Guide to Floristic Quality Assessment, presented by Greg Spyrea of the Illinois Natural History Survey. The Floristic Quality Assessment (FQA) is a scientific method first developed by CDF Principal Gerould Wilhelm to inventory, analyze and monitor native plant communities. Spyrea’s presentation provided listeners with a brief introduction to FQA, its philosophy and use, as well as a summary of the research on it.


Other show highlights included the exhibit of botanical art by internationally-renowned botanical artist Heeyoung Kim, as well as a poster exhibition and book signings by 7 esteemed authors.


For more information about the Wild Things Conference, go to:










Tags: chicago wilderness, wild things, Floristic Quality Assessment,

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