The annual environmental summit at Western Illinois University is now known as the Prairie Lands Environmental Summit.
“What we wanted to do was give the summit a more regional focus…have something that would be suitable and marketable for the tri states area,” said Timothy Collins, Assistant Director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs and one of the organizers of the summit.
For the first time, the summit will be held in the fall. It’s scheduled for Wednesday, October 22, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Most of the events take place in the University Union, though the closing reception is scheduled for the WIU Art Gallery beginning at 3:15 pm.
A complete schedule of events can be found on the summit’s web page. The summit will feature three tracks: “Greening Our Community,” “Arts on the Prairie Landscape,” and “Continuing Education.”
The summit is free and open to the public.
The keynote speaker is Michael Howard, an associate director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He’s also a community activist who converted a Chicago brownfield site into the Eden Place Nature Center.
“(He) paid reparation back to nature by creating a park-like setting, which allows children on the south side of Chicago to have some exposure to various aspects of nature,” said Collins, who added brownfields are not just a problem in urban areas – they are a problem throughout Illinois.