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Preserving an Oasis: A Portrait of Humans and Nature

April 22 | 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Exploring Wolf Lake and the Calumet Region

Ravenswood Media and Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum present the history of the Calumet region as seen through the lens of the Anthropocene, our current epoch when humans have overwhelmed the Earth’s natural systems. Wolf Lake sits at the epicenter of the Calumet region just 20 miles south of the Nature Museum and its challenges over the last 200 years represent important lessons for humanity navigating the Anthropocene. This event will share these lessons with the public through an evening of a film screening, presentations from scientists and environmental historians and end with questions from the audience.

Some safety protocols remain in effect for our special programming. A mask and proof of vaccination are required in order to participate. Any guests with medical or sincerely held religious exemptions will be handled on a case-by-case basis and must provide proof of exemption and a negative COVID-19 test. Please click here to see the full list of requirements and guidelines.

About Our Presenters:

David McGowan is an Academy Award nominated filmmaker. He has traveled the world making films for environmental and conservation organizations. His career extends from filming mountain gorillas in Uganda to filming frogs in Illinois. Not only is he doing what he loves but he’s also contributing to the issue he feels is the most important – a sustainable natural world. 

Philip Willink is president of the Board of Directors of the NGO Association for the Wolf Lake Initiative. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. From there, he worked at The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and is now a fish biologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey (University of Illinois). Willink has conducted research from Wolf Lake to downtown Chicago River, bottom of Lake Michigan, heart of the Amazon, and jungles of Papua New Guinea. His current focus is bridging the gap between science and policy.

Doug Taron grew up in Massachusetts, where he received his first butterfly net at age 6. In 1979 he completed a BA in Biology from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. He migrated to the Chicago area that same year to attend Northwestern University, where in 1984 he received a Ph.D. from the department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Cell Biology. During his graduate studies, Doug began helping to restore Bluff Spring Fen in Elgin as part of the Nature Conservancy’s Volunteer Stewardship Network. Later, while spending 13 years working in the biotechnology industry, he coordinated the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network, a volunteer-based organization monitoring the health of butterfly populations on nature preserves throughout Illinois. In 1997, the Chicago Academy of Sciences hired Doug. He is now Chief Curator for the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Doug is active in butterfly conservation and monitoring research in the Midwest.  

Philip V. Scarpino, PhD. History. University of Missouri, Columbia, 1983.  Areas of specialization:  Environmental history, public history, oral history, historic preservation. Professor of History, Indiana University/Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI); Director of Oral History, Tobias Leadership Center, IUPUI. Books:  Great River an Environmental History of the Upper Mississippi River (1985); Public and Environmental History, co-edited (2004); and Rivers of the Anthropocene, co-edited (2017). Numerous articles and book chapters including, “A Historian’s Perspective on Rivers of the Anthropocene” in Janos Bogardi, et al, Editors, The Global Water System in the Anthropocene (2014). Most recent, “Public History and Environmental History:  Interpreting the Creation of Place Over Time,” Public History: A National Journal of Public History, China (July 2021). Taught workshops on public history and oral history in the U.S. Colombia, China, and the UK. 



April 22
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category: