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Virtual Congress

Inspiring Healthy Communities for People and Nature

Now Online and FREE!

We moved the Chicago Wilderness Congress online! That means you get access to the latest thinking about the region's most pressing conservation issues, while making sure everyone is safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Chicago Wilderness is an alliance that connects people working in conservation, business, science, education and beyond. Together we tackle challenging issues and strive to foster a resilient region in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

The Chicago Wilderness Congress 2020 brings together people who represent government agencies, cultural and education institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations and more. Congress sessions are organized around the six focus areas of our work: Advocacy & Awareness, Climate Communities, Green Economy, Planning & Policy, and Science & Natural Resource Management.

We believe that when all our region’s communities and identities are represented, we can achieve our common goal of supporting resilient natural ecosystems and improving quality of life for all communities, including those impacted by environmental issues.

It's the best of the Chicago Wilderness Congress, brought straight to your computer or phone via Zoom. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for details on future sessions throughout the spring and summer. 

Virtual Congress Session 3: Will Be Rescheduled at a Future Date Due to Current Events.  Please Stay Tuned.


You are welcome to attend one or both presentations.   

1-2pm Using CMAP Tools for Conservation and Climate Resilience Planning

(Planning and Policy)

Through the development of the ON TO 2050 regional plan and the agency’s local planning activities, CMAP has created several tools and datasets practitioners can use to further their conservation and climate resilience planning. Staff from CMAP and the Nature Conservancy will present publicly available tools and data on stormwater, water demand, and natural resources in northeastern Illinois and share some ways partners have applied them. Tools to be discussed include CMAP’s Conservation Areas Local Strategy Map and Flood Susceptibility Index, a guidebook on integrating climate science into local plans, and the Nature Conservancy’s Chicago Greenprint. Topic Areas: Green Infrastructure, Stormwater Management, Science-based Decision Making for Natural Resourcesv

Brian Daly, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
Nora Beck, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
John Legge, The Nature Conservancy

2-3pm Building Advocacy Networks to Support Your Cause
(Advocacy & Awareness)

Gallup polls tell us that more Americans are concerned about the environment now than at any other time in the last 30 years. But during the same time, the percentage of Americans who identify as ‘environmentalists’ has never been lower. We have a unique opportunity to engage concerned Americans by empowering them to advocate effectively. During this session, professional advocates will discuss tools they use to grow advocacy networks – volunteer training programs, online platforms that organize grassroots campaigns, harnessing ‘big data’ to identify sympathetic voters (and lawmakers) – as well as how Chicago Wilderness members can more effectively deploy these tools. t. Topic Areas: Green Infrastructure, Stormwater Management, Science-based Decision Making for Natural Resourcesv

Andrew Szwak, Openlands

Viviana Gentry Fernandez-Pellon, Advocates for Urban Agriculture
Tucker Barry, Illinois Environmental Council
Ashley Maybanks, The Nature Conservancy - Illinois Chapter

With appreciation to our Congress Sponsors

 Your support allows us all to view the conservation world from new perspectives and contribute to the region's green vision. Thank you!

Wilderness Patron

Conservation Collaborator

Green Advocate


Congress Supporter

Debra Shore
Commissioner of the Water Reclamation District of Chicago

Conservation Friend