Field Seminar: "Natural Areas of the Southern Lake Michigan Region" Class of 2019

Educational Services and Products

2020 Field Seminar/Workshop Series:
Northeast Illinois and Southeastern Wisconsin

Field dates: September 12th & 13th

Ecesis: The Process of Coming Home

If words like mindfulness, consciousness, nature, and ecology interest you, and if a chance to explore their confluence excites you, then this workshop may enlighten you. Ecesis [ih-see-sis] is the process by which a species becomes successfully established within a habitat. But it is so much more than this. It is the process of becoming part of, and interlaced within, the phenomenon of living time and living space. This necessitates not only a physical participation, but a consciousness confluence – a mindfulness. What does this ecesis, this emergent and ascendant collaboration with reality, look like?

Join Justin Thomas of NatureCITE and Gerould Wilhelm of the Conservation Research Institute as they spend two fascinating days in nature exploring and explaining the beautiful and life-affirming interrelatedness of mindfulness, consciousness, and natural integrity. Topics will include:

  • The consequences of ecological enrichment versus ecological degradation via living examples.
  • The mirroring relationships of healthy consciousness and healthy landscapes.
  • Using nature's order, balance, and beauty to gain access to our own.
  • Culturally induced reality in contrast to the functional reality of complex living systems.
  • Definition of natural remnant.

In essence, this is an exploration of our moral condition and conscious awareness along the road to human ecesis. We can only become home, we can only ecize, by exploring our consciousness in a living landscape and truly knowing it within ourselves, perhaps for the first time. The only prerequisite is an open mind.

Justin Thomas is the co-founder and Science Director of NatureCITE, a non-profit, field-based, research and education organization that focuses on the interrelatedness of evolution and ecology, especially as they pertain to natural systems management. He conducts ecological and taxonomic research and teaches field-based plant identification workshops throughout central and eastern North America. An authority of Floristic Quality Assessment, he is the co-author of the Ecological Checklist of the Missouri Flora, holds a research associateship at Missouri Botanical Garden, and serves as a scientific advisor to several conservation groups.

Gerould Wilhelm, Research Director for the Conservation Research Institute, received his Ph.D. in botany in 1984 at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. His dissertation focused on the vascular flora of the Pensacola Region in Florida and southwestern Alabama. He has co-authored with Laura Rericha, the definitive compendium on local plants, the "Flora of the Chicago Region: a Floristic and Ecological Synthesis." He is also an authority on the lichens of the Chicago region. He is also noted for his development of the Floristic Quality Assessment (FQA) methodology, which has become widely adapted for use in at many states and provinces. His research efforts include explorations in our understandi ng and awareness of the critical cultural relationships involved in the evolution of North American landscapes and ecosystems.

Dates: Two full days September 12 & 13: two areas in the field in Northeastern Illinois, two in Northwestern Indiana.

Cost: $400

Special Aspects: Students with a strong interest in philosophy, epistomology, and environmental pedagogy will benefit the most. The field seminar will be held entirely outdoors with a maximum of 30 people. Partici-pants may wish to bring foldable garden chairs for use during lectures, as well as snacks, water, and lunch.

Payment for Seminars

Speaking Engagements

Gerould Wilhelm, PhD, is available for speaking engagements through Conservation Research Institute (CRI). Jerry is an internationally renowned botanist and ecologist who has been studying the Chicago region flora for over 40-years. He is coauthor, with Laura Rericha, of Flora of the Chicago Region: A Floristic and Ecological Synthesis, published by the Indiana Academy of Science in 2017.

Dr. Wilhelm has been requested to speak to many groups over the past several decades, from professional botanical societies, to workshops and seminars, conservation groups, and local garden clubs. Topics close to his heart are listed below, but presentation topics can be tailored to a specific request. The base fee-stipend for a speaking engagement is $1000, necessary to compensate Jerry for preparation, presentation, and travel (for locations within a 25-mile radius from Glen Ellyn, Illinois). Speaking engagements are approximately 2 to 3 hours in length.*

  • Floristic Quality Assessment and Species Conservatism
  • The Ecology and Culture of Water
  • Biblical Environmental Wisdom
  • School of Athens Painting by Raphael
  • Consilience
  • Other topics have included: The Dune Flora; History of Botany in Chicago Region

Book Signings: Jerry and Laura are available for book signings for the Flora, which can include a brief 35 minute presentation.*

Educational Products

The Conservation Research Institute (CRI) is proud to offer the following special educational resources that are available for purchase:

The Hidden Beauty of the Grasses of the Great Lakes Poster

Watercolors by Mary Marguerite Lowther from A Call to Beauty. The poster is 18" x 28" in size. Gift included with donations over $300 to Conservation Research Institute.

Questions? Contact Margot Mazur,


Flora of the Chicago Region: A Floristic and Ecological Synthesis by Gerould Wilhelm and Laura Rericha (2017)

Completely updated and rewritten, the Flora of the Chicago Region: A Floristic and Ecological Synthesis is rich with new and expanded features in comparison with the 4th edition of the Plants of the Chicago Region by Floyd Swink and Gerould Wilhelm (1994). Also, it has added newly-described species and range updates; morphological descriptions; taxonomic etymology; re-evaluations of many problematic genera; an entirely new section of associate flora and fauna such as bryophytes, lichens, insects, birds, and mammals; in-depth descriptions of our region's habitats, geology, and soils; a re-evaluation of our region's coefficients of conservatism, and original illustrations for every genus. For more information, click here.

The Flora is available for purchase from the Indiana Academy of Science and the Morton Arboretum bookstore in Lisle, Illinois.


CRI is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization