TPE Conference

"Inspired by Fire"

Our 2021 conference was held virtually on February 24-27.


Thanks to the attendees, exhibitors (including student posters) and all other contributors. Special thanks go to all who presented talks at the conference, especially our featured speakers (see below). And last but not least, thanks to our sponsors (see below) who helped support TPE in delivering this virtual conference.

All attendees now have on-demand access to the conference materials for the next six months.

If you registered for the conference, but have not yet visited the conference pages, it's time to create your account here. (Mobile phone and tablet users may be required to download an app.)

Sign up (red arrow) with the email address you used when you purchased your registration. If you have questions about signing up, contact Evanne Hunt at [email protected]. You will also get conference information via email.


We have all experienced extraordinary changes and challenges in the past year – truly a “trial by fire”.  In response to the pandemic, TPE’s 2021 Conference was held online.  We used the award-winning Whova virtual event software platform. 




Featured Speakers

Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer gave our closing keynote address on the final day of the conference. She then joined 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 gave 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 gave the opening keynote in our Restoration Practice session: “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 included sessions on the latest in scientific research and restoration practices. A special “Prairie 101” session at the beginning of the conference was offered for those new to our work. We also held 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. 

Arts Opportunities

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

Thanks to our 2021 Conference Sponsors:

Gold Level




Silver Level



Bronze Level


Showing 7 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Robert Fisher
    commented 2021-02-25 17:39:14 -0600
    Log in procedure too damn complicated Remember the old rule KISS (Keep It Simople Stupid)
  • Crystal Hartman
    commented 2021-02-19 07:08:26 -0600
    Hello! What are the hours of the Zoom Orientations? Thank you!
  • Thomas Davis
    followed this page 2021-02-09 10:27:56 -0600
  • Larry Sheaffer
    commented 2021-01-30 23:01:59 -0600
    Is there going to be an online auction?
  • Kent Gallaway
    commented 2021-01-28 17:19:29 -0600
    ok what are the hours each day ,is this available if you can’t make the times?
  • Patricia Trochlell
    followed this page 2021-01-20 16:17:13 -0600
  • Carol J Owens
    commented 2021-01-12 03:09:00 -0600
    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