Dr. Wilhelm's study of lichens has been a life-long passion. Currently he is working on a new book, Lichens of the Chicago Region

Dr. Wilhelm’s Field Notes


Watch this page for information about Dr. Gerould Wilhelm's latest projects and research, plus upcoming and recent appearances.

►Essay: "Otankik: On the Edge of the World that Bore Chicagou" (June 2018)

"How lovely it must have been to stand, 200 years ago, on the brow of the great sweeping bluff southwest of Chicago! Fifty feet above the vast, low prairie flats to the north and east the humid haze of the great lakeshore delineated the horizon. Out before you lay in the distance the area known to the local native people of the time, Chicagou—“the place were grows the plant that smells like a skunk”—namely, Allium tricoccum, Wild Leek..." Read this essay by Dr. Wilhelm.

►Preview of Dr. Wilhelm's work on a new book, Lichens of the Chicago Region

A new version of the working document is available at the following link: Lichens of the Chicago Region (May 2018).

►Nature Speaks: Consilience, Concinnity, and the Way (June 28, 2018)

Speaking at Prospect Heights Public Library at 7 PM on June 28, 2018. This program is co-sponsored with the Prospect Heights Natural Resources Commission.


Consilience means “jumping together” and is typified when all the elements of an ecosystem are working in harmony. The health of an ecosystem is directly related to consilience. If one acknowledges that plants and animals grow in habitats to which they are adapted, then one must accept the corollary: Change the habitat and the inhabitants change. All elements in an ecosystem must be in consilience if the system is to remain stable enough to endure changes at the rates at which mountains rise and fall.


Registration (free).

►Essay: "Building a Loving, Healthy Home for a Tree"

"Of the 1879 plants native to the Chicago Region, only 110 (6%) can be classified as trees. Yet, most of us have a visceral affinity to trees that is significantly out of proportion to other groups such as shrubs, grasses, sedges, and wild flowers. People spend academic careers studying the matter. Bards wax poetically about them. Artists depict trees with special characteristics and moods in paintings. We like to sit under them and be near them. The "greening" of a landscape generally connotes planting them. Irrespective of the biome, peoples of the world generally cleave to trees---for whatever reason. So, how does our culture, here in the Midwest, manifest its love of trees? How might this love be more fulfilling for both us and the tree?" An essay by Dr. Wilhelm.

►Essay: "David's Story: A Child's Lesson" (July 2018)

"In 1984, we finally accumulated the financial resources to purchase a new home in a suburban neighborhood, just three miles from where I worked as a botanist at the Morton Arboretum, near Glen Ellyn, Illinois..." Read this essay by Dr. Wilhelm.