Job posting for Restoration Ecologist McHenry County Conservation District

McHenry County Conservation District, northwest of Chicago.


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GRN 2018 workshop: Agenda, registration and details coming very soon

We have a great workshop planned and are very close to opening registration!

We also would like to thank Fermilab Natural Areas for their sponsorship and help in organizing the 2018 GRN workshop.

And we thank the Forest Preserve District of Kane County and Fermilab for co-hosting.

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Nachusa Grasslands Annual Prescribed Fire Report

Colleagues: You might enjoy this annual report.

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Introducing our Nachusa Ecosystem Restoration Scientist!


Nachusa is about to make a big move.  We are excited to welcome Dr. Elizabeth Bach as our Nachusa Grasslands Ecosystem Restoration Scientist.

Bach will coordinate with external scientific partners, TNC staff, and stewardship volunteers to design and implement a high-impact research program that supports/enhances on-site management and restoration efforts while further developing Nachusa’s status as the premier site for tallgrass prairie restoration research.  She will oversee scientific surveys of endangered, threatened and unique plant and animal species at Nachusa Grasslands, collect and manage long-term monitoring data, and will be responsible for tracking and evaluating the results of multiyear research projects.  She will share findings with the relevant science community by publishing in peer-reviewed journals, attending conferences, workshops, etc. While primarily focused on science, she will also assist with prescribed fire, bison management, events, and engage with volunteer stewards, donors, neighbors, and the general public.

Elizabeth Bach received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Iowa State University, M.Sc. in Plant Biology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), and B.A. from Cornell College, with honors.  Most recently, Elizabeth has served as Executive Director of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative, housed at Colorado State University.  We think Elizabeth is a great fit for this new position and are excited to have her at Nachusa.

Elizabeth starts at the end of May.

Below is a recent photo of former and current Nachusa science researchers, including Elizabeth, at the Natural Areas Conference in Ft. Collins, CO in October 2017.  Pictured from left to right: Ben Wodika (Assistant Professor of Biology, Truman State University), Elizabeth Bach, Ryan Klopf (Mountain Region Steward, Virginia Natural Heritage Program, and Member of the Board of Directors, Natural Areas Association), Lewis Reed (Reserve Steward, UC Davis Bodega Marine Reserve), and Nachusa Project Manager Bill Kleiman.

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Cut stem treatment on buckthorn

James McGee is the author of this thorough treatise on controlling invasive buckthorn.

Results of Frilling in Winter XIII James McGee

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GRN 2018 Workshop September 5 & 6, 2018

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GRN Konza Workshop well done


The night before the workshop some of us early arrivals met for dinner.

Sara Baer was the lead planner and host of this GRN.  Sara is a researcher at Konza who chairs the Plant Biology program at Southern Illinois University.  She studies various aspects of soil ecology related to grassland restoration.   Thank you Sara for a great workshop!

60 some folks attended. Day one we looked at various long term field experiments.  Here are the underground study plots where ideas are tested to see their effects on fungi and other microorganisms, soil characteristics,  and above ground species composition.

Konza Biological Station has published something like 1,600 papers, currently has about 120 annual researchers!  Their Long Term Ecological Research started in the early 1980s.  It is a very significant research station.

Konza is divided into various watersheds for decades long ecological studies. Here is a photo of a watershed that is Fall burned Annually, with no grazing.  It has a lot of grass and forbs.

Here is a watershed where it is not grazed, but burned annually in the spring. John Blair noted that the fall and spring fires resulted in very similar prairie.

Here is a patch burn watershed where a third of the unit is burned annually and cows choose where they want to go.  They like the recently burned sections and this area was just grazed that morning and likely a number of previous days.  Konza has bison too.

About 50 yards away is an unburned section of the patch burn unit with less cattle grazing.

The GRN format has us in the field to see and discuss.  Here are some Konza stars: In the aqua blue shirt is Jill Haukos who runs many education programs at Konza, then clockwise is Walter Dodds who showed us his study of the effects on stream water chemistry after thinning brush from an encroached stream.  John Briggs runs Konza.  Sara Baer, as I noted above, was the lead planner and host of this GRN.  Last with the Western hat is KC Olson who works for KSU on the livestock grazing end of research.

Jesse Nippert shows us the watershed that was on a “no fire” plan for 20 years, and now they are reversing the fire regime to annual fire.  Now they will get to study how to get the grassland back and give us the science we all can benefit from.


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