by Jen Lyndall
Bloomington, Indiana–The SER Midwest-Great Lakes Chapter (SER MWGL) held their 8th annual meeting at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana from April 1 to April 3, 2016. Over 200 attendees gathered to discuss a number of topics related to this year’s meeting theme, “Overcoming Challenges to Ecological Restoration in the 21st Century.” The meeting hosts included Eco Logic, Indiana University, and the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation.
Indiana University Memorial Union
The keynote speaker was Douglas Ladd, the Missouri Director of Conservation for The Nature Conservancy. Doug provided a humbling and inspiring speech, “Does Ecological Restoration Need a Rethink?” The opening plenary featured speakers from The Nature Conservancy (John Shuey, Ellen Jacquart), Michigan State University (Lars Brudvig), and The Restoration Ecology Lab (Steve Glass) to provide a diversity of perspectives on the challenges for ecological restoration and potential strategies for overcoming these challenges to ensure the success of future restoration efforts in the Midwestern United States. Both the keynote and the opening plenary session are archived on the SER MWGL website at https://chapter.ser.org/midwestgreatlakes/2016/04/03/ser-mwgl-2016-keynote-and-plenary-sessions-archived/.
The meeting also included a meeting host plenary session, three symposia (soil microbes in ecological restoration; restoration in rights-of-way, and restoration and management in ravines and steep forestland), two workshops (sedge identification and data quality), a sponsorship reception, a business meeting, and 63 contributed oral and poster presentations. Presenters from nine states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky) and Bogota, Columbia shared their experiences involved prairie, forest, savanna, stream, wetland, and lake restoration. Presentation topics include invasive species control, use of fire, evaluating restoration techniques, overviews of restoration designs, and more! On Sunday, attendees had the opportunity to attend one of two field trips: 1) Large Scale Shallow Wetland and Native Grass Prairie Restoration or 2) Increasing Ecological Resilience in Southern Indiana Forests.