Research Projects

New Research

 

It is our belief that while one could spend thousands of dollars to visit exotic lands and islands to come in contact with natural wonders, he could just as productively, within an easy drive from the great city of Chicago, encounter wonders and natural beauty in their “own backyard.” Indeed within our region, most of which area lies within a 75-mile radius of State and Madison, there are more native plants in natural remnants than can be experienced at Great Smoky Mountain and Grand Canyon national parks.

 

In no other great metropolitan region of the world do the citizens have such exquisite access to nature and her wonders.  We believe that to the extent to which Chicago area citizens become aware of their access to such wonders they will become more inclined to love them, nurture them, and preserve them for Chicagoans in perpetuity.

 

Having completed our Flora of the Chicago Region: a Floristic and Ecological Synthesis, we all have branched out into other areas the describe and celebrate the diversity of the Chicago Region. Gerould Wilhelm has begun work on the lichen flora of the region, a rough draft of which is presented here as a provisional reference:

 

Working Draft of Lichens of the Chicago Region (May 2018)

 

Laura Rericha has moved headlong into the bees of the region, their taxonomy and relationships with local plants. Margot Mazur is painting her drawings of Chicago Region Plants and is working with a tile artist to make them available to various venues that wish to extol the natural virtues of the Chicago Region.

 

We continue to seek support from lovers of local natural history to facilitate and make possible our research and education efforts. Other scientists and artists who have similar interests are encouraged to join our team and pursue their gifts in such a way as to provide Chicago’s citizens with an ever deeper understanding or our natural world and our role in its understanding and stewardship

Laura Rericha studying bees

Dr. Wilhelm with the rare fern Woodwardia areolata

Work at Conservation Research Institute is ongoing.

 

We need ongoing financial support so that our researchers can continue their work on lichens, bees, ants, and vascular plants, and so that our illustrator can hand-color botanical drawings for educational public art works. Donors will be acknowledged in
upcoming publications.

Landscape Inventory and Assessment

 

Scientists on our research staff are devoted to understanding our natural landscapes. They know that the essential attributes of such a landscape are most reliably imparted to science by the inhabitancy and character of its native plants and animals.

 

Our staff specialize in a deep knowledge of organisms, which knowledge is becoming rarer in America with each passing year.  More and more, colleges and universities are forsaking education in organismal biology.  There is more money, it seems, in the development of arcane ecological doctrines that favor corporate resource extraction interests or analysis of DNA.

 

Insofar as the health and well-being of our aboriginal landscapes, organisms are the arbiters of controversies that are formed around the various contemporary ecological doctrines.  Our scientists inventory the organisms within such landscapes and, through forensic analysis of the inhabitants understandings can arise with regard to implications for restoration, rehabilitation, and management.

 

Custodians of remnant lands who share an interest in discovering the organisms of their land and in using them to develop plans to care for their land are entreated to collaborate with our staff in such an effort. If you are interested, you may contact Dr. Gerould Wilhelm, our Director of Research.

 

We have included these projects for your review:

 

Timber Hill Savanna, Assessment of Landscape Management by Gerould Wilhelm and Laura Rericha, 2007

 

Inventory and Assessment, Plan for Stewardship and Management at Hitchcock Nature Center by Gerould Wilhelm and Laura Rericha, 2012

 

• Pokagon Lands of Rodgers Lake A People and Place Moving Forward Together Bgojinadzewin by Gerould Wilhelm and Margot Mazur, 2011

 

Restoration Plan for Bryant Children's Retreat and the Five Diamonds Baseball Field by Gerould Wilhelm, 2011