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2016 Congress: Call for Proposals

  

The theme of the November 2, 2016 Congress is “Celebrating 20 Years: One Home. One Future.” This year we will recognize the 20th anniversary of Chicago Wilderness, featuring what we have learned over the past two decades and what we envision for the future.

The call for proposals is closed, as of July 29, 2016. Please read below for details on audience and presentation timing and formats.

 

PRESENTATION CONTENT

The Congress program will emphasize building capacity and momentum around the six Chicago Wilderness Focus Areas through three tracks: Epic Fails & Triumphant Results, Step Out of Your Silo, and Show Me the Money. Presentations should align with one of these tracks, as described below.

Special consideration will be given to proposals that also address the Congress theme, specifically those that consider the past twenty years and into the future. All 50-minute collaborative presentations should also address at least two of the six Chicago Wilderness Focus areas (oak ecosystems, beyond the choir, data & member tools, priority species, landowners, and water as a resource).

The three Congress tracks are as follows:

 

1) EPIC FAILS & TRIUMPHANT RESULTS: Data Driven Learning
From species monitoring to program evaluation, how we measure failures, successes, and trends matters. Presentations in this track should address aspects of measuring impact, including but not limited to:

  • Data collection strategies (e.g., citizen science, innovative use of technology, etc.)
  • Information analysis and tracking trends (e.g., lessons learned over the last 20 years)
  • Data-driven strategy development (e.g., using climate data to inform conservation work)
  • 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 should address strategies and partnerships that exemplify this engagement, including but not limited to:

  • 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 addressing this, including but not limited to:

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

 

PROPOSAL FORMATS

The Congress Planning Committee is seeking proposals for 50-minute, collaborative presentations (with three presenters), 12-minute individual presentations (with one presenter), 10-20 minute film segments, and 45-minute “Breakfast of Champion” (with one presenter) presentations that align with the Congress tracks.

Please select one of the following formats for your submission:

50-minute collaborative presentations: These presentations will be 40 minutes in length plus an additional 10 minutes for questions and discussion. These are intended to serve as panels or collaborative presentations by three presenters and should align with one of the tracks and at least two of the six Focus Areas. Each room will be able to accommodate about 100 people. The Chicago Wilderness Congress will enforce presentation time limits to allow conference attendees to move from session to session. For those using audio/visual technology, please use Microsoft PowerPoint. If your proposal is accepted, you will be provided further information on operating system requirements for your presentation, instructions on getting your presentation loaded, etc.

12-minute individual presentations (will be combined with two other presentations into a 50-minute session): Individual presentations may be proposed for the concurrent sessions, although they will be combined with two other presenters to comprise a full 50 minute session. These 12-minute proposals should include time for questions and discussion. The proposal should align with one of the tracks and at least one of the six Focus Areas. Each presentation room will be able to accommodate about 100 people. The Chicago Wilderness Congress will enforce presentation time limits to allow conference attendees to move from session to session. For those using audio/visual technology, please use Microsoft PowerPoint. If your proposal is accepted, you will be provided further information on operating system requirements for your presentation, instructions on getting your presentation loaded, etc.

10-20 minute film segments: Excerpts from local films will be featured during the “Chicago Wilderness Film Festival” during the afternoon. These will be 10-20 minutes in length, depending on the number of films selected. The films will be screened in the Congress main room. Films may be introduced by one of the producers, using introductory text provided in the proposal process.

45-minute Breakfast of Champions: These informal presentations are intended for individuals looking to share specific expertise with Congress attendees (e.g., How to Build a School Rain Garden, Best Practices in Raising Monarchs, Dealing with Buckthorn, etc.) Presenters, or “Champions” will lead discussion at their table over the 45-minute breakfast period. The proposal should align with one of the tracks and at least one of the six Focus AreasWe especially encourage recipients of the Excellence in Ecological Restoration Program to submit proposals about their restoration best practices. Attendees will be free to rotate to different tables based on their interests. “Champions” will be assigned to a breakfast table, and engage attendees in discussion over a specific topic of interest. No A/V equipment or electricity is available, although you are welcome to bring your own precharged electronic equipment.

Note: Individual presentations will not be considered for 50-minute presentations. Presentations may not be used to solely market a specific business or product.

 

SELECTION PROCESS

The Congress Planning Committee and Chicago Wilderness Staff will review and evaluate all proposals. The selection process is competitive and not all submitted proposals will be accepted in the Congress program.

Proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Relevance to conference theme and tracks
  • Applicability and usefulness of the topic to the diverse audience of Congress participants, with an emphasis on lessons learned and practical application vs. simply a report of a program or project
  • Inclusion of emerging and innovating trends and collaborative research
  • Originality of topic/presentation, in alignment with the mission of Chicago Wilderness
  • For “50-Minute Presentations,” a balanced slate of speakers representing diverse backgrounds, viewpoints, and organizations.

 

HOW TO APPLY

Complete the online application here

View the application as a pdf. Please note that all proposals must be submitted through the online form.

Deadline: July 29, 2016.

 

CONGRESS AUDIENCE

The Congress is a regional gathering that attracts members of local, state and federal agencies; conservation organizations; cultural and education institutions; volunteer groups; municipalities; businesses; and faith-based groups. Attendees include practitioners, students, researchers, and leaders in the following fields:

  • Ecological restoration
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Environmental education
  • Community engagement
  • Communications
  • Engineering
  • Planning
  • Policy & advocacy
  • Public health
  • Regulation
  • Religion 
  • Natural and social science
  • And more!

The 2016 Congress will continue to build on our student and emerging professional engagement efforts from prior years through a speed mentoring program during the afternoon.

 

PRESENTER RESPONSIBILITIES

The deadline for submitting proposals is close of business on Thursday, July 29, 2016. All proposals must be submitted electronically. 

Proposals will be reviewed by the Congress Planning Committee, and presenters will be notified of their selection status by the end of August, 2016, at which point the Committee will communicate due dates for additional required information. Presenters are responsible for providing all required information related to their session to the Congress Planning Committee by the deadlines.

If selected, presenters agree to strictly follow the time allocated for each presentation. Congress facilitators ensure that presenters do not exceed their allotted time.

All attendees, including speakers, must register and pay to participate in the conference, including travel costs. The early registration fee is $80 for members, $95 for nonmembers, and $40 for students. Late registration is $110 per person.  A limited number scholarships are available for students as needed. If you are submitting a 50-minute presentation, please make sure the speakers in your session understand this requirement and are prepared to register and travel.

If you have questions or need assistance with the submission process, please contact info@chicagowilderness.org. 



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