The Prairie Enthusiasts Virtual Conference

Inspired by Resilience

The Prairie Enthusiasts Virtual Conference

Wednesday, February 16 - Saturday, February 19*

Prescribed Burn School: Tuesday, February 15


Inspired by Resilience will celebrate the role you play as a steward of prairies and oak savannas. Learn, connect, and be restored by the natural beauty of the land. Join us!



Tuesday, February 15

9:00am - 2:30pm - Prescribed Burn School


Wednesday, February 16 

1:00 - 4:00pm - Conference Welcome and The Prairie Enthusiasts Oak Savanna Showcase  

Conference welcome with Scott Fulton and session intro with Steve Winter
Rich Henderson - Empire-Sauk Chapter 
Jack Kussmaul: Oak Savanna and Woodland of the Southwest Chapter
Evanne Hunt - St. Croix Valley Chapter
Gabe Erickson - Minnesota Driftless Chapter
Kathy Stahl - Chippewa Savannas Chapter

4:00 - 5:30pm - Video Screening

5:30 - 9:00pm - Oak Savanna Research Session Presentations 

Intro with Steve Winter
Mark Leach: Restore to what? Savanna Ecosystems are not just “prairie with trees” but complex, dynamic systems worthy of protection and restoration
Jeanine Cavendare-Bares: Shocks to the system: community assembly of the oak savanna in a 40-year fire frequency experiment
Tyler Bassett: Connecting the dots: how does oak savanna restoration alter what controls ground layer plant communities, from Toledo to Madison
Lee Frelich: Influence of climate change and fire on prairie and forest biome boundaries in the western Great Lakes region
Scott Abella: An Overview of Adaptive Management Investigations in Northwestern Ohio's Oak Openings Region
Laura Ladwig: A comparison of restoration seed mixes and historical plant communities in Midwest oak savannas
Austin Yantes: Oak savanna restoration with silviculture
Amanda Martin: Examining Land Use Changes to Evaluate the Effects of Land Management in a Complex, Dynamic Landscape
Adam Pelligrini: Fire and disease jointly regulate the temperate savanna-forest boundary

Thursday, February 17 

12:00 - 1:00pm - Lunch and Learn 

1:00 - 5:00pm - Exhibitors, Artist Gallery, Video Screening, On-Demand Content, and Networking 

5:00 - 9:00pm - Stewardship and Protection Session Presentations 

Intro with Steve Winter
Gary Wyatt: Use of Herbicides in Restoration Projects (Woody plant management)
Matt Nugent: The Nachusa Grassland’s Arsenal of Restoration Equipment
Dan Carter: Introduction to Oak Savanna and Oak Woodland Restoration
Presentations about land protection options
Idea Exchange: How do you ensure sustainable stewardship of your prairies and savannas? 

Friday, February 18 

9:00am - 12:00pm - TPE Member Connections 

12:00 - 1:00pm - Lunch and Learn

1:00 - 5:30pm - Art Inspired by Nature Workshop

Dana De Greff: In Bloom - an introduction to nature writing
Chris Helzer: Building the prairie conservation constituency through storytelling
Bethan Burton: Cultivating curiosity through nature journaling

5:30 - 6:30pm - Ask the Experts

6:30 - 8:30pm - Social Activities and Poster Session  


Saturday, February 19 

9:00am - 11:30am - Keynote & Q&A with Douglas Tallamy 

11:30am - Closing Remarks 


*More details are coming! Check back again soon. All sessions (including Burn School) will be held online. Recorded presentations will be available online for 3 months after the conference. 


Thank you to our conference sponsors!


Gold Level:

Adaptive Restoration LLC


Good Oak Ecological Services


Prairie Moon Nursery


Silver Level:

C.D. Rigdon & Associates, Ltd.


Oak Woodlands and Forests Fire Consortium



Bronze Level:.

Helena Agri-Enterprises, LLC


Prairie Nursery


Tallgrass Prairie & Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium'


Please contact Executive Director, Debra Behrens, [email protected], for sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities.  

What is Burn School?

This 1-day online class is for people without previous burn experience or those who want a refresher. The training follows the guidelines of the Wisconsin Prescribed Fire Council and is taught by TPE volunteers. Successful participation in this training, plus a half-day field practical course provided by a local chapter, and helping on two TPE burns as an apprentice, provides the qualifications to be a new crew member on TPE burns.

Key topics addressed:
Why do we burn?: Fire ecology
Fire behavior
Fire suppression
Safety on the fire line
Burn crew roles

Photo Contest 

Calling all prairie picture takers: Now is a great time to be thinking of taking photos that can be entered into the conference photo contest. 

There will be 5 categories that you may enter photos for, with a limit of 5 photos per person, one for each category. A prize winner will be selected for each category and the grand prize winner will be the one of those five that gets the most votes from conference attendees.

The categories are: flora/fauna, landscape, people, seasons, and a new one this year, "anything goes". This one could be a shot with super-saturated colors, use of an artsy app, wabi-sabi (beauty in decay), or even black and white. This is one that you could really have fun with. The winner, runners-up and other submissions may be featured in The Prairie Promotor newsletter, on The Prairie Enthusiasts social media pages, and in the eNews. Copyright remains with the photographer. You must be a member of The Prairie Enthusiasts to participate.

Please don't think you don't have a chance since you don't have extra-fancy gear, as last year's grand prize winner used a little point-and-shoot camera that he keeps in his pocket in a plastic baggie.

Send all entries to [email protected] between 1-1-2022 and 2-1-2022.

Virtual Conference Platform

The 2022 conference will take place on the Whova virtual conference platform

Already registered? Log into the Whova conference platform from your computer to access conference details and start connecting with your conference community. You can also join via the Whova mobile app on your phone or tablet. Get started with these next steps:

  • Log in to Whova to set up your profile
  • Explore the Whova platform, see the Whova How-To Guide for instructions and helpful hints
  • Open the “Community” tab to start connecting. Start a discussion, ask questions, and interact with your peers before and during the conference.
  • Review conference details: event schedule, speaker and session details, exhibitors – all coming soon!
  • Check back for updates as more conference details are finalized.

Recorded presentations will be available online for 3 months after the conference. 


Questions? Trouble logging into Whova?

Write to [email protected] with any questions. See the Whova How-To Guide for help with the Whova conference platform. 


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  • Caleb DeWitt
    followed this page 2021-12-06 19:19:51 -0600
  • Jim Rogala
    published this page in Events 2021-11-19 11:21:39 -0600
  • Jim Rogala
    published this page in Events 2021-11-18 14:49:47 -0600