Why urban conservation (really) matters: translating plans into meaningful action in the Chicago Wilderness region

Thursday, October 23, 2014: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Horizon B (Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center)
Cities and associated metropolitan areas are becoming increasingly important to global biodiversity conservation. Most cities have been founded in places that are biodiverse and functionally valuable to society, such as in floodplains, along coasts, on islands, or near wetlands. Today, urbanization continues to expand into these valuable habitats and into the hinterland where society most often placed its biological reserves. Species previously outside city limits may need to migrate through urban areas as they adjust to a changing climate. Now, more than ever, large landscape conservation planning needs to incorporate how to effectively create and improve connectivity across metropolitan regions in order to maintain the ecological functioning of natural systems that benefit both people and wildlife.

Chicago Wilderness, a multi-state alliance of more than 300 organizations dedicated to restoring biodiversity, has nearly 20 years of experience developing collaborative partnerships and science-driven plans and actions for regional biodiversity recovery and conservation.  This session will present the work of the Alliance, focusing on how the Chicago Wilderness Green Infrastructure Vision is being used to help guide regional landscape scale work on a variety of interrelated efforts including: habitat restoration, habitat-specific climate adaptation strategies, climate-informed green infrastructure mapping for municipalities, engaging non-traditional conservation partners and establishing a National Wildlife Refuge. A facilitated discussion will follow intended to foster a knowledge exchange for how efforts in Chicago Wilderness and other metro regions can help to inform and build upon each other’s work.

John Rogner
Session Chair:
Abigail Derby Lewis
3:15 PM
Re-establishing nature in a vacant lot mindset
Nancy Williamson, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Mark Bouman, The Field Museum
3:35 PM
Translating climate science into urban conservation action
Abigail Derby Lewis, The Field Museum
4:15 PM
Establishing Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge in a metropolitan region from the ground up
Lenore Beyer-Clow, Openlands; Ed Collins, McHenry County Conservation District
See more of: Dedicated Sessions