Greater DuPage Chapter 2021 Program Recaps

Annual Seed Exchange
Sat Nov 13, 2021 10:00 am – 1:00 pm 

Our annual seed exchange was held at The Growing Place in Aurora. It was nice to see friends and to “shop” for more than 90 species of native plant seeds. Here is a list of the species that we exchanged this year.

Click here to view more pictures from our event.

To learn more about collecting seeds visit our Seed Harvest page. To learn more about sowing native plant seeds check out the Prairie Moon Nursery Cultural Guide and Seed Starting Basics which includes germination codes and instructions. The Seed Propagation Information page on the Prairie Nursery site is also a good source for starting seeds.

Know Your Oaks
Thu Oct 21, 2021 7:00 pm 

Melissa Custic, Chicago Region Trees Initiative Operations Manager, shared her extensive knowledge of oak trees, which are ranked as the most beneficial to wildlife and habitat by Doug Tallamy. In her presentation, Melissa covered their natural history, current extent and also the biggest threats to their regeneration — invasive species, burn cycles, fragmentation, etc. and what we can do to help them out.

Here are some resources from Chicago RTI that Melissa recommended during the presentation.
Oak Recovery Plan
Oak Map
Witness Trees of Illinois
Management of Invasive Plants and Pests of Illinois
Healthy Hedges
Healthy Homes

How to Responsibly Collect, Clean, and Store Native Seeds
Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:00 pm 

Remic Ensweiler, Outdoor Lab/Prairie Manager at College of DuPage, presented on the importance of native seed collection and when and how to collect, clean, dry, and store native seeds

Here are a few links to resources that Remic referenced during the presentation.
Field Museum Field Guide, Illinois – Seed Heads of Common Native Plants of the Tallgrass Prairie Region
Pleasant Valley Conservancy Seed Collecting Dates
Eastern Illinois University Native Plant Nurseries in Illinois

Also check out our Seed Harvest Page for more resources on native seeds!

Take a Walk in a Local Prairie
Sun Aug 15, 2021 – Wed Sep 15, 2021 

Our August event was to visit a local prairie with family or close friends to take pictures to record the beautiful, the inspiring and the variety of life you may witness on the prairie. Click here to view the pictures that our members have sent to us.

We would love to add more pictures so if you have any to add please send them send your photos with your name, email, and your comments to: [email protected].

Wilcox Yard Tour
Sat Jul 24, 2021 10:00 am 

In July, we toured the Wilcox’s beautiful two-acre property, about half of which is native plantings, including the woods. There are about 200 different species. The native project was started about 18 years ago, so it has become quite mature. There are both tall grass and short grass areas and some extensive woodlands. Also, there is about a quarter mile of right-of-way native areas that stretch up and down the street. Dave Wilcox also offered tips on how we could start our own native areas

See our Garden Tours Photos page for pictures from the Wilcox tour.

Work and Learn at Jan Smith Park
Sat Jun 12, 2021 9:00 am – 11:30 am 

Long-time member of Wild Ones, Jan Smith, has created a native landscape in a public park which has been described as a native plant museum. The Carol Stream Park District has honored Jan by giving the park her name. We met in June to help Jan weed and we learned about the native plants in the park while we worked.

For more information about Jan Smith Park, including photos, click here.

Spring Flower Walk at Pat Armstrong’s
Sat May 1, 2021 10:00 am 

Pat Armstrong opened her amazing yard in May for a Spring Flower Walk for a spectacular display of many native spring flowers, grasses and trees! We also got to see Pat’s roof prairie and to learn about how it was constructed over 40 years ago.

See our Garden Tours Photos page for pictures from Pat Armstrong’s Spring Flower Walk.

Saving Dark Skies
Thu Apr 29, 2021 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm 

Adam Kreuzer and Barbara McKittrick, advocates for the International Dark Skies Association, presented on how we can fight light pollution and save our night sky. Protecting the night sky from light pollution is a critical mission that supports human health, preserves wildlife and provides visual access to celestial objects for professionals and amateur astronomers alike.

We did not record this presentation but you can watch a recording of a Saving Dark Skies webinar sponsored by The Conservation Foundation and presented by Adam Kreuzer in June of 2020 at

Gardening with Native Plants through the Seasons
Thu Mar 18, 2021 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm 

In March we took a journey through the seasons to discover native plants every gardener should try because they are great for wildlife, grow well in a range of conditions and look beautiful in most gardens, including small-medium landscapes. Plus they’re easy to find or purchase locally. Denise also shared some design tips for each.

Denise Sandoval is an award winning landscape designer and owner of Good-Natured Landscapes LLC, featuring native plants since 2005. She discovered the beauty and benefits of native plants after volunteering at a prairie restoration, while working on her horticulture degree.Prior to starting her business, she worked at The (original) Natural Garden native plant nursery. She also worked as a Conservation@Home assistant. She served on the boards of Wild Ones Greater DuPage for 15 years and the DuPage Monarch Project. She’s been gardening with native plants in her own yard for 18 years, performing prescribed burns, installing her first of many rain gardens in 2004, and collecting seed. The natural world is her greatest inspiration and teacher. Denise loves to share her knowledge about these wonderful native plants!

Winter Sowing with Natives
Thu Feb 18, 2021  

In February we enjoyed watching Jan Gricus show us how to make milk jug greenhouses. What a miracle it is to witness those tiny seeds become our beloved native plants. Thank you, Jan, for helping us cultivate wonder!

We did not record this presentation but you can watch a fantasic recording of the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener Winter Sowing program with Jan Gricus & Cynthia Cieckiewicz on YouTube. This program was hosted by the Lisle Library District. You can watch it at

Citizen Science at Home
Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm 

As we head into winter and isolation, we can pursue citizen science indoors with online activities; these offer opportunities to expand our knowledge and to collaborate with experts in fields of our interest.  Peter Chen focused on two citizen science web sites in this presentation: iNaturalist and Wikipedia – including the Wikipedia page for Wild Ones. Watch the recording of Peter’s presentation at

Peter is a retired genetics researcher, software engineer, science educator at College of DuPage, has taught biology/ecology/environmental science at College of DuPage since 2005. He has been the webmaster for the national Wild Ones website since 2002. His hobby is nature photography, which led him to engage in citizen scientist sites like iNaturalist and Wikipedia, where he created the Wikipedia Wild Ones article in September. Peter’s home page,,  has links to his contributions to iNaturalist and Wikipedia.