TPE Conference

"Inspired by Fire"


Mark your calendar for February 24-27, 2021!

We have all experienced extraordinary changes and challenges in the past year – truly a “trial by fire”.  Yet as we know, fire is the key to the amazing diversity and resilience of prairies and savannas.

In response to the pandemic, TPE’s 2021 Conference is being held online.  The program is as engaging as ever, but without the need to travel, making the conference more readily available to everyone. We will be using the award-winning Whova virtual event software platform. Whova provides an excellent conference experience on both web browsers and mobile devices, as well as great opportunities for networking and access to conference content for six months after the event.

Click here to register now!


Featured Speakers

Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer is presenting our closing keynote address on the final day of the conference. She will then join author and historian Dr. Curt Meine and TPE President Scott Fulton for a panel discussion on partnering with First Nations peoples in restoration of the land. Dr. Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. As a writer and a scientist, her interests include not only restoration of ecological communities, but also restoring our relationships to land. Learn more about her books, Braiding Sweetgrass and Gathering Moss, here.

Chris Helzer is presenting our opening keynote in the Science session. Chris is The Nature Conservancy’s Director of Science in Nebraska, where he evaluates and shares lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work with other land managers. He also works to raise awareness about the value of prairies and prairie conservation through his Prairie Ecologist blog, presentations, and photography. Learn more about his books, The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States and Hidden Prairie: Photographing Life in One Square Meter here.

Jim Uhrinak is presenting the opening keynote in our Restoration Practice session on “American Indian Savanna Science”. Jim is Conservation Chair and a longtime board member for the Milwaukee Audubon Society, and a 1972 charter member of the Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society. He is a Land Restorationist and Consulting Arborist and works on land protection, education, and savanna restoration over a wide geography. He also researches American Indian cultural landscapes, and his work on anthropogenic savanna island habitats will inform this talk.



Exciting Program

The conference program includes sessions on the latest in scientific research and restoration practices. A special “Prairie 101” session at the beginning of the conference is offered for those who are new to our work. We are also holding a Friday evening special session with a "happy hour” hosted by our new Executive Director Debra Behrens followed by a lively discussion on the future of TPE. Check out all the program details here.

Calling All Artists!

In addition to our always-popular annual photo and haiku contests, the conference features two online art workshops on nature drawing and photography. We are also very excited to offer an online “fair” for artists and craftspeople with a prairie-inspired focus to exhibit and sell their work. Learn more here.

Prescribed Burn School

In keeping with our conference theme, “Inspired by Fire”, we are offering a special pre-conference prescribed burn crew training workshop just before the conference on Tuesday, Feb 23. Sign up is required. Learn more and register here.

Exhibitors & Sponsors

The 2021 TPE Online Conference is a great opportunity to connect with our community of passionate volunteers, private landowners, and conservation professionals. Learn more about exhibiting and sponsorship possibilities at the conference here.

Click here to register now!

Burn photo by Rob Baller


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  • Carol Owens
    commented 2021-01-12 03:09:00 -0600 · Flag
    Before I was moved out here (not my choice) to Tucson, Aridzona I lived near Janesville and was active in prairie things. Last March or so you had an article about displaying Gary Eldred’s ink drawings of prairie plants. I have a set of them which he donated to the PBS auction in Madison. I was the lucky winner and still have them in the package. I would like to offer them to the conference to auction again to help TPE with their work. I will mail them to the winner.
    Carol J Owens, Vail AZ