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Explore the full Congress program. Click below to view session details, speakers, tracks and room information. 

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8:00 a.m.

Registration & Breakfast of Champions | Hall & Main Room


9:00 a.m.

Opening Performance with Jackalope Theatre | Main Room


10:15 a.m. 

Focus Area Crawl | Breakout Rooms


12:00 p.m.

Lunch: Celebrating Chicago Wilderness and Members' Anniversaries | Main Room


1:30 p.m.



Chicago Wilderness Film Festival | Main Room  

  Panels: (Session Track, Room)  
  1. Engaging Communities to Build Effective Long-term Conservation (Step Out of Your Silo, Room D)
  2. Data Driven Approach to Protecting and Restoring Nature: The Lake County Green Infrastructure Model and Strategy (Epic Fails & Triumphant Results, Room E)
  3. Monarch Conservation: A Multi-scale Collaborative Effort (Step Out of Your Silo, Room F)
  4. Collaborations in Green Infrastructure (Step Out of Your Silo, Room G)
  5. Restoring the Wetlands of Calumet (Epic Fails & Triumphant Results, Room H)
  6. A New Model for Creating Sustainable Conservation Funding (Show Me the Money, Room I)

2:35 p.m.



Chicago Wilderness Film Festival | Main Room

  Panels: (Session Track, Room)  
  1. Activism, Politics and the Impact of Public Opinion (Show Me the Money, Room D)
  2. Collaborating for Clean Water (Show Me the Money, Room E)
  3. Citizen Science in the Chicago Wilderness: Understanding Rare Plants, Birds, and Butterflies (Epic Fails & Triumphant Results, Room F)
  4. RESTORE -- The Final Results (Epic Fails & Triumphant Results, Room G)
  5. Healthy Nature: Can Health-based Messaging Generate More Naturalists? (Step Out of Your Silo, Room H)
  6. Chicago Area Living Corridor Alliance: An Innovative Approach to Engaging Private Landowners (Step Out of Your Silo, Room I)

3:40 p.m.



Speed Mentoring | East Exhibit Hall

  Town Halls:   
  1. Oak Ecosystems | Room D
  2. Water as a Resource | Room E
  3. Priority Species | Room F
  4. Beyond the Choir | Room G
  5. Landowners | Room H
  6. Data | Room I
 4:30 p.m.

Reception & Species Story Slam | Main Room

 6:30 p.m. Event Concludes  


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The Breakfast of Champions tables and panels in sessions I and II are organized in three tracks:


From species monitoring to program evaluation, how we measure failures, successes, and trends matters. Presentations in this track address aspects of measuring impact, including:

  • Data collection strategies 
  • Information analysis and tracking trends 
  • Data-driven strategy development
  • Telling your success story and learning from failures
  • Leveraging resources to maximize impact


2) STEP OUT OF YOUR SILO: Collaborative Conservation

Building a strong conservation constituency means engaging people who represent the geographic, generational, economic, and cultural diversity of our region. Presentations in this track address strategies and partnerships that exemplify this engagement, including:

  • Interdisciplinary partnerships (e.g., with health, faith-based, cultural, financial, or other partners)
  • Successful efforts to build support for conservation across the Chicago Wilderness Region
  • Regional programs that intentionally cross geographic, generational, economic, and/or cultural boundaries


3) SHOW ME THE MONEY: The Shifting Landscape of Funding & Resources

In an age of dwindling resources, collaboration can help organizations achieve their goals with limited budgets. Many organizations in the Chicago Wilderness Region are impact by declining state and federal budgets and seeking innovative funding strategies. Presentations in this track should demonstrate multi-organization solutions to address:

  • Navigating a changing funding landscape
  • Partnerships that demonstrate resilience in leadership, policy, and funding changes
  • Efforts that leverage resources in order to build capacity