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Students & Emerging Professionals

Chicago Wilderness students and emerging professionals groupMidwest nice. It’s a legit thing.

And there’s no place better to experience it than at the Chicago Wilderness Congress on April 2, 2020.


Spend your day with people who are passionate about caring for the natural communities that support humans and wildlife. Together, we’ll listen, learn, and make a difference. We’ll probably laugh. You might even get hugged.


Look for our table at the Congress. Say hello, ask a question, or make a new connection.


NEW! Show off your design skills in our logo contest. The winning logo will be featured at the Congress and in our materials, plus you'll win $100 gift certificate and a scholarship to the event. Entries must be received by March 2. Read the rules and get creative for conservation.


Scholarships to attend the Chicago Wilderness Congress are available; complete this form to apply


Why join the Students & Emerging Professionals Group at the Chicago Wilderness Congress?

  • FIRST! Attend our Networking 101 webinar on March 3 to get the basics on preparing for a conference.

  • NEXT! Check out these resources to help you network, find a job, attend professional events, and more!Fire friends Chicago Wilderness partners

    Then, come to the Congress and:

  • Build your network. Find your peers and hang out. Don’t forget to exchange contact information with everyone you meet. 

  • Find your groove. There are lots of different topics to choose from, and a variety of formats. Sample everything that interests you, and maybe you’ll discover something about your preferred learning style or be inspired to present at a future conference.

  • Get inspired. This is your chance to learn from people doing cutting-edge work across a swath of conservation issues. You might find a new area of interest or a project to collaborate on.

  • Bring your voice and your curiosity. Whether you’re at a roundtable discussion or chatting over snacks, your perspective is valued and appreciated. Speak up. Actively listen. Stay fully engaged.

  • Share your skills. Congress tracks focus on 6 areas of Chicago Wilderness work: Advocacy & Awareness, Climate, Communities, Green Economy, Planning & Policy, and Science & Natural Resource Management. Each of these is staffed by volunteers and we’re always looking for new members. It’s a great way to share what you know and build new expertise.

  • Low key job hunt. Maybe you’re not looking now. But you never know who you’ll meet. Your fellow attendees come from Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana and work across the entire spectrum from tiny nonprofits to large government agencies. Ask them what expertise they wish they had on their staff. It could be exactly what you offer. 

  • Keep in touch. Our group doesn’t disappear when the event is over, so don’t ghost us. Our feelings will be hurt. And there’s always more conservation to be done. 

  • Become a Chicago Wilderness partner. You don't have to join to attend the Congress. You should anyway. A student membership is just $10 per year. As a Chicago Wilderness partner, you'll be the first to hear about conservation successes, conferences and workshops, and jobs at partner organizations. 

  • Tag that. Or hashtag us. @Chiwilderness and #CWCongress. 

Questions or brilliant ideas? Email