The 2020 Annual Chapter Meeting scheduled for March 27-29 in Cleveland, Ohio was postponed due to the coronaviuus (Covid-19) pandemic.  The Annual Meeting Committee is considering possible dates for re-scheduling the meeting.  More information coming soon.  In lieu of the traditional annual report that would have been presented at the annual meeting, the annual report is posted below.  There will be periodic updates.

2019 11th Annual Chapter Meeting at Central College in Pella, Iowa April 12-14. 

Over 200 restoration ecologists attended the 11th Annual Scientific Meeting of the SER Midwest Great Lakes Chapter April 12-14, 2019 at Central College in Pella, Iowa.  The theme of the meeting was Cultivating Innovative Restoration Connections in the Midwest.  The meeting was highlighted by oral and poster presentations, workshops and symposia on Friday and Saturday and field trips on Sunday.

The Keynote address on Saturday was by Laura Jackson, director of the Tallgrass Prairie Center at Northern Iowa University in Cedar Falls, Iowa who spoke on “Ecological Restoration and Rapid Anthropogenic Change: The Tallgrass Prairie of the Future.

One of the other very popular features of the Central College meeting was the “Posters in the Prairie” session.  This activity combined the best of a poster session combined with elements of a field trip, in that the poster session was staged in the college’s prairie restoration research site.  

Entitled, Small College – Big Project: The First Seven Years of the Prairies For Agriculture Project. Faculty, alumni, and students involved in Central College’s Prairies For Agriculture Project gave a “Posters in the Prairie” session describing results of research conducted during the first seven years of this long-term project. Topics to be discussed include mowing, droughts, bees, plant bullies, Monarch butterflies, and more.

Chapter Activities and Accomplishments

Membership Level

As of mid-March 2020 chapter membership stood at 393, nearly double what it was a year ago and an all-time high.

MWGL Chapter website migration and update.  The chapter website was migrated to an updated and more contemporary web style.

Advocacy and Endorsement. The chapter endorsed the federal Botany Bill

to promote botanical expertise in federal agencies and emphasizes the importance of protecting native plants & ecosystems.

SER MWGL Members in Action

Elena_Embarks for UN Climate Summit in NYC 

Elena Stachew, Midwest Great Lakes Chapter member from The University of Akron, attended the 2019 UN Youth Climate Summit on Saturday September 21, 2019  at the United Nations in New York City.  Elena is a student representative to the Board of Directors of the Midwest Great Lakes Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER MWGL).

SER MWGL Vice-president Joins Practical Farmers of Iowa Habitat Program

Mary Damm, Vice-president of the Midwest Great Lakes Chapter of Society for Ecological Restoration  (SER MWGL)  has been named to the steering committee of the Habitat Program of the Practical Farmers of Iowa.  The Habitat Program comes as Practical Farmers of Iowa is broadening its definition of farming to include a variety of approaches to land stewardship, including engaging with those of us–like Mary Damm, who is both a farmer and a restoration ecologist–practice ecological restoration.

SER MWGL Member in Action: Jessica Miller

SER MWGL Secretary, Jessica Miller is featured in the latest Member in Action Profile from the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER).  Jessica is a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the Midwest Great Lakes Chapter of SER.

Jessica Miller is the Senior Manager of the Midwest Region for the Natural Resources Services Line of Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc (ECT). Jessica has been in the environmental consulting business for 20 years. In her current role, she manages 18 people in multiple offices across the Midwest.  Jessica adds that: “I am working with my team to research efficient and effective integration of pollinator plantings into landscape planning for solar farms.”


Chris May, SER MWGL Treasurer is a co-author on a recent publication in Wetlands Ecology and Management.  Braswell, A.E., C.A. May (Chapter treasurer), and J.A. Cherry. 2019. Spatially-dependent patterns of plant recovery and sediment accretion following multiple disturbances in a Gulf Coast tidal marsh. Wetlands Ecol and Manage 27: 377-392.

Chapter members Brad Gordon and Chris Lenhart were co-authors on this publication:

Gordon, B.A., Lenhart, C. and LaPara, T.M., 2020. A comparison of nitrate removal and denitrifying bacteria populations among three wetland plant communities. Journal of Environmental Quality 49 (1):210-219.

Chris Lenhart also contributed to this publication:

Hernick, M., Lenhart, C., Kozarek, J. and Nieber, J., 2019. Minnesota Guide for Stream Connectivity and Aquatic Organism Passage through Culverts. Minnesota Department of Transportation, St. Paul, MN.

State Level Events

West Michigan Restoration Talk and Tour

Sponsored by the Midwest Great Lakes Chapter of SER was held on Friday, October 18th, 2019 1 pm ~ 5pm+ with a tour two restoration sites in West Michigan.  The first tour visited an oak savanna/prescribed fire research project in Ottawa County, Michigan.

Chapter Communications

SER MWGL maintains a website and blog  The website was recently updated with a new web platform and fresher, more contemporary look.   Thanks to SER for providing this service.

The chapter communications committee, chaired by Beth Markhart, is active on social media, with a presence on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.  

Chapter Publications

The chapter published its first restoration book, an edited volume titled, “Ecological Restoration in the Midwest, Past, Present, and Future.  The book was edited by  SER MWGL board members, Christian Lenhart  and Peter C. Smiley, Jr. and published by the University of Iowa Press.

Student Research and Student Implementation Grants

Since 2013, the chapter has offered an annual competitive restoration research grant to students in the region; since 2016 the chapter has also offered a student implementation project grant.  This year, one award, for up to $2000 was offered in each category.  The  2019 awardees are:

  • 2019 student grant awards
    • Research: Julia Brokaw, University of Minnesota. Maximizing the potential of prairie restoration and management for ground-nesting bees.
    • Implementation: Jack Zinnen, University of Illinois. Creating seed production areas for high quality prairie forbs at Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve.