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Environmental Studies Speakers and Events

See additional events for the campus 2022-23 Theme "The Power of Place" here! Check back regularly for more events to come....

December 2023

Dr. Emily Minor, Professor of Biology at the University of Illinois at Chicago
Monday, December 4, 2023
7 p.m.
CNS 101

On December 4 at 7 p.m. in CNS C101, Dr. Emily Minor, a Professor of Biology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will talk on “Noticing nature” or “extinction of experience” – the future of urban biodiversity

Living in cities can lead to the “extinction of experience,” a feedback loop in which people who have little interaction with nature are less likely to protect it. This cycle could result in a continual erosion of biodiversity over time. Although this concept was first introduced 45 years ago, we still know little about the hypothesized feedback loop, if or how it plays out on the ground, and how it might be reversed. More recently, researchers have hypothesized that an alternate version of this loop may occur that incorporates environmental engagement, or “noticing nature,” leading to better outcomes for biodiversity. In this talk, Dr. Minor will describe the first empirical test of these feedback loops, using ecological and social data collected from residential neighborhoods in the Chicago suburbs. She will describe the connections between suburban residents, their yards, and the birds in their neighborhoods, and talk about how these connections can benefit people and birds alike.


September 2023

Mike Avara, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science at the University of Illinois
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
7 p.m.
CNS 101

On September 12 at 7 p.m. in CNS C101, Mike Avara, a research scientist in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science at the University of Illinois, will give a talk on “Bird Migration and Motus Towers in Illinois.” 

The Motus Wildlife Tracking System (Motus) is an international collaborative research network that uses coordinated automated radio telemetry to track the movement of birds and animals as small as insects.  As of 2022, more than 1,500 receiver stations have been installed in 34 countries, although most are located in the United States and Canada.  Mike Avara, who bands migratory birds and monitors the Illinois Motus telemetry network, has studied the Northern Saw-whet Owl, the smallest owl species found in Illinois.  He has live-trapped and attached Motus tags to this species at banding stations in central Illinois in an effort to learn more about their fall/winter stopover behavior and fall/spring migration trajectories.  Mike will report on some of his research findings and discuss how the Motus network has expanded and transformed bird migration research throughout the state. 


Annual Environmental Studies Picnic 
Sunday, September 10, 2023
5-7 p.m.
IWU Peace Garden (corner of University & Evans)
Illinois Wesleyan University

The Environmental Studies Program will host its annual fall picnic at the IWU Peace Garden on September 10, 2023. This is a great time to gather outdoors, meet new people, and connect with your ES faculty and fellow ES students! The event will feature food, games, a chance to check out the garden and beehives, and a fun venue for getting to know ES students and faculty.

February 2023

Through the invitation of an Environmental Studies student, award-winning poet and conceptual sound artist Jonah Mixon-Webster visited Illinois Wesleyan to speak with students and give a reading from “Stereo(TYPE),” a collection of poems that explore his identity as a Black man, a queer individual and a resident of Flint, Michigan.

Award-Winning Poet Jonah Mixon-Webster to Visit Campus


April 2021

Peace Garden Spring Honey Harvest
Saturday, April 17th, 2021
12-2 p.m.
IWU Peace Garden (corner of University & Evans)
Illinois Wesleyan University 

Join us on Saturday, April 17th from noon to 2pm in the IWU Peace Garden to extract some honey from our hives! Stop by if you enjoy the outdoors, good people, and good plants. As always, masks and social distancing are required.

Sit Down with Senate Featuring Mercy Davidson
Monday, April 12th, 2021
4-5 p.m.
Hansen Student Center or Via Zoom
RSVP Here!

Student Senate would like to invite you to our Sit Down with Senate event featuring Normal City Planner, Mercy Davison! Come to the Hansen Student Center or via zoom to learn about sustainable city initiatives in our own community. There will be a presentation, student Q/A, and reusable straws for those who RSVP in person!


Mohr Tree Planting
Friday 4/9, Saturday 4/10, Sunday 4/11
ParkLands Foundation Mohr Tract
Sign up to volunteer here!

The “Mohr Trees!” project is a partnership with the ParkLands Foundation, the McLean County Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Living Lands and Waters. The Ecology Action Center pledged to help ParkLands plant 4,200 small trees at the Mohr Tract near Lexington in April 2021.  With the help of Living Lands and Waters, the EAC now hopes to more than double that number to plant 10,000 trees in 2021. Help is needed with the planting of these trees at the ParkLands Foundation Mohr Tract on Friday April 9th, Saturday April 10th, and Sunday April 11th. If you are interested in helping, please sign up here.


March 2021

Paint and Plant with SSC and Peace Garden
Friday, March 26th, 2021
4-5:30 p.m.
Young Main Lounge

At this event, you will be able to decorate a pot or upcycled container and use it to plant a starter seed for the Peace Garden! Once the seeds have sprouted in your artful containers, they will be transferred to the Garden to become a part of the summer crop. It's a great way to celebrate the season, enjoy the ES community, and make a positive impact on our campus environment.

Masks will be required at all times and attendance will be recorded. If you have questions, contact Leah Bieniak ( or Refugio Moreno (


January 2021

PossePlus Retreat: The State of Leadership: Community, Conflict, and Change
Saturday, January 30, 2021
2-4:30 p.m.
Virtual Event
Registration Required HERE

Through Posse’s first-ever Virtual PossePlus Retreat, you'll have a unique opportunity to talk about what leadership means in the now; in this powerful, world-altering moment. How can your community come together to help lead the world forward? Where are the opportunities for you to lead as an individual? How can we continue to build community while we are physically distanced? And how might the upcoming election shift the social and political dynamics for change within our country?

These and other questions will be considered at this year’s virtual retreat: The State of Leadership: Community, Conflict, and Change. To spark the conversation, we’ll be showing a dynamic video on some of the most compelling issues facing our world today. Together, we will connect through a half-day of dialogue to consider the roles all of us can play in driving the change we so desperately need.



Click here for a sampling of Fall 2020 Events and Speakers.


Abigail Jahiel - Professor of Environmental and International Studies

Department - Environmental Studies