After taking 2021 off, the IACD Conference will return February 17th and 18th, 2022. . Our conferences are an intimate gathering of friends and professionals dedicated to conservation management and education. You are invited to join us at the 2022 IACD Conference for presentations that matter, to network with other professionals, and have fun with like minded friends.

2022 IACD Conference

February 17&18, 2022

Starved Rock State Park



Registration for the 2022 IACD Conference will begin in the fall of 2021. The 2020 conference was incredibly popular, so be sure to register early to ensure your spot. When you attend IACD conferences, remember, overnight accommodations are separate from conference fees and are the responsibility of the attendee.

Although registration is not quite ready, rates and deadlines will be as follows:

Early-bird registration is from November 1st, 2021 to January 10th, 2022.

​Early-bird fees are $85 for members and $95 for non-members.

Registration fees after January 10th, 2022 are $100 for members and $110 for non-members.

If your agency would like to inquire about a group/agency commitment to attend, email us at, or call Shane at (217) 423-7708.


Conference host lodging will once again be at the Starved Rock Conference Center and Lodge. Lodging reservations are separate from your conference registration. Please contact the Starved Rock Conference Center and Lodge at (815) 667-4211 or at and ask for the IACD Conference Room Block.

We will be updating the registration and planned topics soon. Below are the presentation topics​ and speakers from the 2020 conference.

Keynote Speaker: Ed Collins, Director of Land Preservation and Natural Resources, McHenry County Conservation District  

Diverse partnerships have long served a critical role in achieving the goals of conservation agencies, funding land protection, public access, restoration and education projects. The process of building consortiums, integrating the goals of multiple organizations and navigating the reefs of budget building can be complex and time consuming. The organizational noise surrounding our conservation confederations can drown out the most critical partnership of all, that between the land and those who care deeply about its future. Embracing the genus loci, the living spirit of the landscape, is the heart and soul of our work as conservationists. This spiritual symbiosis is the source of our commitment and our strength, the wellspring of our ability to shape a true future for the natural world. In this session we will explore how accepting openly that conservation is at its root a pilgrimage into the sacred can bring a renewed sense of purpose and perspective to our work as organizations and individuals.

Dinner Speaker: The Plight of the Bee, Isaac J. Stewart, Instructor of Biology at Black Hawk College East Campus

As a scientist, it’s exciting when your topic of study becomes the “hot” science. Tragically, the reasons behind bees coming to the forefront of the scientific, agricultural, and conservation communities has been nothing short of dire. The human species is at a crossroads, and our pollinator communities must be considered before we can hope to move forward successfully. We explore what has been happening to bees, what has been done, and consider important next steps that humans, as members of a biotic community, must take to avoid further tragedy. 

Pre-Conference Workshop: Five-Step Chainsaw Felling Plan -Thursday 2/20

Jay C. Hayek, Extension Forestry Specialist S.A.W.W. Certified Chainsaw Safety Trainer; Ethan Snively, Natural Resources Specialist, Macon County Conservation District

This course is designed to teach novice and seasoned saw operators in chainsaw safety and directional felling, including body position and sight line; open-face notch; hinge; bore cutting; back cut; trigger; and wedges.

Pre-Conference Workshop: Green Jobs: Exploring Forest Careers -Thursday 2/20
Meghan Bowe, Illinois Projects Coordinator Consultant with the Environmental Education Association of Illinois
Project Learning Tree’s new unit Green Jobs: Exploring Forest Careers addresses the emerging generation’s desire to work with purpose and their commitment towards making a difference in the world. “Green” Jobs produce goods or services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources. This workshop will provide hands-on instructional activities for those who have the opportunity to interact with youth including green job professionals; 4-H, Scouts or FFA youth leaders; school guidance counselors; or non-formal educators. It is designed to engage youth in exploring pathways towards green careers.

Effects of Prescribed Fire on Fauna of the Southern Great Lakes Basin-Thursday 2/20
Chris Anchor, Wildlife Biologist, Forest Preserve District of Cook
From the smallest soil dwellers to large mammals, it’s commonly understood that the timing, frequency, and pattern of prescribed burn practices have the potential to significantly impact wildlife.   Aside from the immediate impacts of fire, how does an established fire routine change wildlife interactions with their habitat and with one another?   This presentation will seek to answer some of these questions, summarizing three decades of data exploring how prescribed fire changes the landscape and influences the health, abundance, and diversity of wildlife within it.

IMRF Benefits
-Thursday 2/20
Jon Renner, IMRF Field Representative
The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund has been providing the highest quality retirement services to their members. Since 1941, IMRF has provided employees of local governments and school districts in Illinois (with the exception of the City of Chicago and Cook County) with a sound and efficient system for the payment of retirement, disability, and death benefits. This presentation will highlight the benefits of the IMRF system.

What the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) Can Do For You! NAI Benefits - Thursday 2/20
Suzy Lyttle, Interpretive Naturalist for the Forest Preserve District of Will County and NAI Illinois State Representative
Interpretation is the tool used to relate the everyday person to the science behind our natural resources. Discover how the National Association for Interpretation, or NAI, can help you gain the skills to effectively engage visitors at your sites. NAI is a professional association involved in both natural and cultural interpretation resources for a variety of settings such as parks, museums, nature centers, historical sites, and more. This session will cover what NAI is, how incorporating interpretation can benefit and justify your current projects, and what resources are available to make your goals a reality. The best part is everyone can make an impact including volunteers, naturalists, historians, rangers, field technicians, planners and more. 

Foot Stamping and Booming, Illinois' Greater Prairie Chickens
- Thursday 2/20
Bob Gillespie, Illinois Department of Natural Resources
This presentation will provide insights into the land management techniques utilized at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area to maintain populations of imperiled grassland wildlife, including the state's remaining greater prairie chicken flock.  A discussion of the life history of greater prairie chickens and the heritage of this champion of grassland birds will be imparted.  Prepare to foot stamp and boom!

Illinois Mushrooms: What is Here and What are They Doing?
- Thursday 2/20
Gregory M. Mueller, Chief Scientist and Negaunee Vice President of Science, Chicago Botanic Garden
Illinois forests are home to 1000s of mushrooms and related fungi.  A relatively few of these species are plant pathogens, but most are either saprotrophs (nature’s recyclers), or beneficial symbionts. The session will cover the diversity and ecology of fungi encountered in Illinois natural areas plus some information on how to identify them.

Solar 101
- Thursday 2/20
Julian Vandervelde, Midwest Market President for Moxie Solar  
Julian will be walking through the basics of how we take a solar project through the process of evaluation and feasibility to equipment selection and design, and finally to installation and energizing. He will also cover options for public facilities and municipalities to utilize solar within various economic structures.

Tools of the Trade: Seed Collections - Asclepias to Zizea 
- Friday 2/21 
Josh Clark, Natural Resource Manager, DeKalb County Forest Preserve; Aaron “Ace” Minson, Natural Areas Technician, Boone County Conservation District
Session will cover seed collection, processing, storage, and mixing. In true Tools of the Trade form, the session will also cover gadgets and tools. We will also share information about the Northern Illinois Native Seed Network. 

Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Search for Relevance - Friday 2/21
John Rogner,
Assistant Director, Illinois Department of Natural Resources

North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is no longer sufficient to sustain fish and wildlife agencies.  In recent
decades we have been asked to address an ever-wider range of environmental threats and challenges, and serve much broader and more diverse constituencies.  This session will provide an overview of traditional programs that are familiar to Conservation Districts as well as ways IDNR must adapt in order to remain relevant to society.

Get an Intro to iNaturalist  - Friday 2/21

Cassi Saari, Field Botanist, Ecology and Vision, LLC ; Patrick McCrea, Restoration Ecologist, DeKalb County Forest Preserve

Get an intro to iNaturalist, a community science platform and global network of people making observations of nature. Learn how local amateurs and professionals are sharing their observations of flora and fauna, getting help with species identification, and using iNat data for conservation planning, nature education, monitoring, and research.

Keeping Feral Swine Out of Illinois - Friday 2/21 
Peggy S. Doty, Educator, Environmental and Energy Stewardship, University of Illinois Extension
Feral swine, also known as Eurasian boar or feral hogs, are not native to North America. Peggy Doty, on behalf of the USDA-WS and the IDNR, will be sharing information on feral swine and why we do not want these invasive species to become established in Illinois. There are NO know populations currently in the state and no population ever confirmed outside of Fulton, Pike, and the adjoining counties. Peggy will talk about the threats to land, fish, and wildlife if these animals would show up on your properties. She will also share research and successful methods of removal.s.​

Dipping Your Feet in Social Media - Friday 2/21 
Ross L. Smith, Assistant Park Ranger Forest Preserve District of Rock Island County
We will explore the basics of social media (apps, platforms, posts, and trolls) and how it can be both a useful tool and a headache.

Growing Partnerships  - Friday 2/21

Nathan Hill, Farm Bill Biologist - Pheasants Forever
Pheasants Forever isn't just a hunting organization.  This session will cover the efforts of PF statewide to partner with government and private interests to promote wildlife habitat, prescribed burning, to benefit native birds and pollinators.