Chicago Botanic GardenPHOTO

Adult Education Classes: Symposia

PHOTO: Robin Kimmerer

At one count early in the 19th century, between 3-5 billion birds existed in flocks spreading across most of Northern America. By the early 20th century, the passenger pigeon was extinct. The world's last passenger pigeon died on September 1, 1914, at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Forum on Ethics and Nature
A Cascade of Loss, an Ethics of Recovery

Friday, May 2, 2014
9 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Regenstein Center, Alsdorf Auditorium

Registration fee: $35 lunch option/$15 no-lunch option

To register by phone, call (847) 835-8261.

The Center for Humans and Nature and the Chicago Botanic Garden present this forum with a focus on the ethical dimensions of conservation issues.

The year 2014 is the centennial anniversary of the death of "Martha," the last passenger pigeon. The 2014 Forum on Ethics and Nature will mark this occasion by exploring the topic of extinction in non-obvious ways, balancing information and personal stories with ethical reflection about the possibilities of social and ecological recovery.

What are the new ecological realities in front of us and how do we respond to them with care?

Topics include:

  • needed ethical deliberation about recovering species through various means (e.g., the current de-extinction "debate"),
  • the relationship between species extinction and the destabilization and loss of culture, and
  • establishing new relationships in order to work toward the recovery of cultural and biological diversity.

This is a full-day symposium that features diverse and well-regarded speakers, panel Q & A discussions with our audience, and optional exploration activities at the Botanic Garden. The Forum on Ethics and Nature is a public event, attracting conservation practitioners and professionals, citizen-scientists and community volunteers, college and graduate students, and diverse people interested in the Forum theme. We hope to see you there!

Click here to check out our previous Chicago Regional Forums on Ethics and Sustainability.


Center for Humans and  Nature   Regenstein School of the Chicago Botanic Garden



A limited number of student scholarships for this symposium will be provided by the Center for Humans and Nature. Contact Beth Pinargote, manager of symposia and special programs at the Chicago Botanic Garden, at (847) 835-8278 for more information.


Symposium Location

The symposium will be held in the Alsdorf Auditorium of the Regenstein Center at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, IL. Directions to the Garden can be found here.



The Regenstein School of the Chicago Botanic Garden recommends the Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel for accommodations.



7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

Optional Bird Sound Walking Tour

Eric Leonardson is a Chicago-based composer, radio artist, sound designer, instrument inventor, improvisor, visual artist, and teacher. Join him for a sound walk focusing on bird sounds. Meet at the Visitor Center and dress for the weather. Limited capacity; separate registration required. Click here to register.

8 – 9 a.m.


9 – 9:15 a.m.

Introducing the Forum


9:15 – 9:35 a.m.

Stanley A. Temple, Professor Emeritus in Conservation, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Senior Fellow, Aldo Leopold Foundation

9:35 – 10 a.m.

Pati Vitt, Susan and Roger Stone Curator, Dixon National Tallgrass Prairie Seed Bank and conservation scientist, Chicago Botanic Garden, (on plants); and Allison Sacerdote-Velat, reintroduction biologist, Lincoln Park Zoo (on animals)

10 – 10:30 a.m.

Stretch Break and Networking

10:30 – 11 a.m.

Morning Keynote

Robin Kimmerer, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York

11 – 11:30 a.m.

Panel Discussion, Questions & Answers with the audience

Facilitated by Brooke Hecht, president of the Center for Humans and Nature

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Lunch — Enjoy good conversation and food

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Optional Exploration Activities: Guided Tours and Walks


Afternoon Sessions: "Conservation Ethics and Cultures of Place in a Time of Rapid Environmental Change"

1:30 – 1:45 p.m.

Liam Heneghan, professor of environmental science and ecosystem ecology at DePaul University (Chicago, IL)

1:45 – 2:15 p.m.

Afternoon Keynote: When Extinction is a Virtue

Ben A. Minteer, environmental philosopher, professor at the Center for Biology and Society, Arizona State University

2:15 – 2:45 p.m.

Stretch Break & Book Signing

2:45 – 3 p.m.

Dr. Jifunza Wright Carter, community health advocate and leader at the Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Renewable Living, Pembroke Township, IL

3 – 3:30 p.m.

Closing Keynote

Janisse Ray, author of The Seed Underground: The Growing Revolution to Save Food

3:30 – 4 p.m.

Panel Discussion, Questions & Answers with the audience

Facilitated by Brooke Hecht, president of the Center for Humans and Nature

4 – 4:15 p.m.

Closing Synthesis

Curt Meine, senior fellow of the Center for Humans and Nature