The Naturally Beautiful Conference with Doug Tallamy

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Date(s) - 04/04/2020
12:45 pm - 4:30 pm

Oak Park Unity Temple


Nature’s Best Hope: Creating Sustainable Ecosystems in Home Landscapes

Learn why and how you are “nature’s best hope.” Be a catalyst for change in your community by learning how to bring biodiversity back.

Sponsored by Wild Ones West Cook and Unity Temple Environmental Justice Team

While the headlines about our planet’s declining biodiversity are bleak, we humans have the power and knowledge to be nature’s best hope. We just need to realize it, learn the steps, and act. On April 4, our conference will present national and local experts who will show how ordinary people can heal nature while bringing beauty to our communities. Register at Eventbrite.

conference page Eventbrite


12:45–Doors open

1:15-2:15 –“Building Neighborhood Ecosystems” by Annamaria Leon and Ken Williams


2:30-4:00–“Nature’s Best Hope” by Doug Tallamy

4:00-4:30–Book signing

Opening presentation, begins at 1:15

Building Neighborhood Ecosystems

Presented by Ken Williams and Annamaria Leon

Land is precious and can provide limitless bounty. Today, residential land is used primarily for ornamentation. There is a pressing need to change this, for beautiful residential properties to feed all neighbors: the soil microbes, birds, butterflies, and humans. Community gardening is a proven model for affordably accomplishing this. Experience community gardens that reintroduce neighborhoods to the webwork of life by blending permaculture with native plants and ecological landscaping.


Horticulturist Ken Williams has drilled oil wells, restored prairies, and done a lot of what lies between. A lifelong vegetable gardener with a love for natural history and native plants, horticulture became his life while working for 16 years at a small town city park and zoo in Kansas. For the past 11 years he has participated in the ecological landscape movement in the Chicago area seeking ways to spread the wealth. You can follow Ken on Instagram @ kenzhort.

Annamaria Leon is Co-Owner of Homan Grown, L3C, a social enterprise focused on propagating urban durable perennials, and on creating regenerative edible and ornamental landscapes. A certified Permaculture Designer and Teacher, she is Co-Founder of the Permaculture Chicago Teaching Institute, located in Chicago’s Westside North Lawndale neighborhood. Annamaria focuses her community organizing efforts through projects that reflect her love of greening and beautification.

Break: 2:15-2:30

conference page Eventbrite

Keynote address, begins at 2:30

Nature’s Best Hope: Creating Sustainable Ecosystems in Home Landscapes

Doug Tallamy returns to the Chicago area!

Presentation description:

Recent headlines about global insect declines, the impending extinction of one million species worldwide, and three billion fewer birds in North America are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current landscape designs have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us. Such losses are not an option if we wish to continue our current standard of living on Planet Earth. The good news is that none of this is inevitable. Tallamy will discuss simple steps that each of us can- and must- take to reverse declining biodiversity and will explain why we, ourselves, are nature’s best hope.

We will have his NEW book available for purchase at the conference: Nature’s Best Hope: Creating Sustainable Ecosystems in Home Landscapes.

About Doug Tallamy:

His work has been a catalyst for change at the grass-roots level and has helped us form the principles that guide how we treat our landscapes and prepare the ground (literally!) for future generations. He has taught us that without native plants, there is little biodiversity, which humans as a species need to survive. As he puts it, “Biodiversity is not optional.” He is also an Honorary Director for the national Wild Ones.

Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 95 research publications and has taught insect related courses for 40 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers’ Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014. Doug’s new book Nature’s Best Hope was released by Timber Press in February 2020. Among his awards are the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence, the 2018 AHS B.Y. Morrison Communication Award and the 2019 Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award.


Sponsored by Wild Ones West Cook, Environmental Justice Team of Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and PlanItGreen

conference page Eventbrite

Other helpful information:

Please plan to eat before you come to the conference. We will serve light refreshments during a break; there are very limited dining options nearby.

Parking can be challenging around Unity Temple. Public transportation (CTA, green line, Oak Park Avenue stop) is very close by, within 1/3 mile. There is a parking garage at Oak Park Avenue and North Boulevard, also within a 1/3 mile walk to Unity Temple. Bike parking next to church.

If you select the ticket option with a membership, please let us know your address, so you will receive materials from National Wild Ones.

Ticket price day-of conference will increase to $20 for members and $30 for non-members.

Check-in begins at 12:45 PM. Ken and Annamaria will begin speaking at 1:15 PM.

Featured image: Cassandra West

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