Midwest Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation

Meeting 2010

This original meeting announcement is available for historical purposes. Highlights from the 2010 meeting in Oregon, Illinois are also available.

Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)

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Rock River

Nachusa Grasslands

Loredo Taft Field Campus

Blanding's Turtle Biology, Conservation, and Management Conference

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Download the color flyer for the meeting.

Meeting Site

Lorado Taft Field Campus of Northern Illinois University, 1414 N. River Road, Oregon, IL 61061. The Lorado Taft Field Campus is located 1.5 miles north of Oregon in north central Illinois. It is adjacent to Lowden State Park and overlooks the Rock River.

The Taft Campus has a rich history. During the summer of 1898, the noted American sculptor Lorado Taft and a small group of artists, architects and scholars established a summer retreat as a place to work, exchange ideas and socialize. This enclave became known as the Eagle’s Nest Art Colony and flourished until the death of its last original member in 1942. In 1951, Northern Illinois University acquired a portion of the original art colony and the 141-acre campus is now the university’s outdoor education and conference center. Among Taft’s monumental, heroic sculptures, is a fifty foot statue of Black Hawk, which stands on a promontory overlooking the Rock River adjacent to the Taft Campus.

Housing and Meals

Dormitory style housing is available on site. All dorms are air-conditioned and heated with complete bathrooms. Pillows, mattress covers, and pads are provided. Linen sets are available at an additional cost. Friday dinner; Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and Sunday breakfast and lunch are included in the cost of registration. Meals are served family or buffet style in a modern, air-conditioned dining hall overlooking the Rock River - quality meals are a point of pride!

Registrants wishing to camp may do so at Lowden State Park, adjacent to the Taft Campus. Other lodging options are available in nearby Oregon, IL.


Directions and a Taft Campus map can be found at http://www.niu.edu/taft/location/index.shtml. Nearby airports include Chicago O’Hare (97 miles), Chicago Midway (105 mils) and Madison, WI (105 miles). Meeting participants needing ground transportation from Chicago O’Hare should contact Collin Jaeger .

Meeting Theme

Blanding’s Turtle Biology, Conservation, and Management

Keynote Address

Dr. Justin Congdon is Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL) where he was a Senior Research Scientist until 2001. He holds adjunct positions at the University of Michigan and Arizona State University. He has conducted long-term research on aspects of aging, ecology, and life histories of painted turtles, Blanding's turtles, and snapping turtles on the University of Michigan's Edwin S. George Reserve (31 years) and Sonoran mud turtles in the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona (16 years) and on hatchling orientation and dispersal from nests and the composition of a seven species turtle community in the Weaver Dunes area in southeastern Minnesota (6 years). Research results have appeared in over 150 peer-reviewed publications.

Blanding's Turtle Biology, Conservation, and Management Invited Speakers

  • Jennifer Anderson-Cruz (NRCS - Iowa)
  • Whitney Banning (INHS, University of Illinois)
  • Kent Bekker (Toledo Zoo)
  • Steve Harvey (Ohio DNR)
  • Andrew Kuhns (INHS, University of Illinois)
  • Madeleine Linck (Three Rivers Park District, Minnesota)
  • Dan Ludwig (Illinois DNR)
  • David Mifsud (Herpetological Resource and Management, Michigan)
  • Michael Pappas (Minnesota)
  • Jeanine Refsnider (Iowa State University)
  • Arun Setherman (Iowa State University)
  • James Spetz (Cleveland MetroParks, Ohio)
  • Dan Thompson (DuPage County Forest Preserves, Illinois)
  • Lee Walston (Argonne National Lab, Illinois)

Blanding's Turtle Status in the Midwest State Synthesizers

  • Illinois - Dan Ludwig (Illinois DNR) / Mike Dreslik (Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois)
  • Indiana - Bob Brodman (St. Joseph’s College) / Bruce Kingsbury (IUPU-Fort Wayne) / Mark Jordan (IUPU-Fort Wayne)
  • Iowa - Karen Kinkead (Iowa DNR)
  • Ohio - Greg Lipps (OH) / Kent Bekker (Toledo Zoo)
  • Michigan - Yu Man Lee (Michigan Natural Features Inventory) / David Mifsud (Herpetological Resource and Management, MI)
  • Minnesota - Carol Hall (Minnesota DNR)
  • Missouri - Jeff Briggler (Missouri Department of Conservation)
  • Nebraska -
  • South Dakota -
  • Wisconsin - Gary Casper (Great Lakes Ecological Services)

Contributed Posters

Participants wishing to present contributed posters relating to Midwest amphibians and reptiles should provide a title, author list and affiliations, and abstract on the online registration form. Abstracts for contributed posters will be included in the meeting program and will be due by July 16. (You can return to the registration site to update your information until July 16.) Information regarding poster size and abstract format is forthcoming. Space for posters is limited and so later submissions may be rejected. Questions regarding poster presentations should be directed to Allison Sacerdote .

Breakout Sessions

Breakout sessions will seek to (1) evaluate current Blanding’s Turtle status and management strategies with the goal of sharing that information with the USFWS and state agencies and (2) address current task team objectives. Contact information for breakout session organizers will follow.

Possible topics include:

  • Blandings Turtle Status - Information Gaps
  • Blandings Turtle Management - Tactics, Strategies, and Research Needs
  • Fire and Herps
  • Agriculture and Herps

Silent Auction

To raise funds for Midwest PARC, a silent auction will run throughout the day on Saturday, August 14. Individuals having items to contribute should indicate this on the online registration form or contact Kristin Stanford .

Social Events

Opening reception, Friday evening, August 13; Ravenswood Media screening and mixer, Saturday evening, August 14.

Field Trips

Richardson Wildlife Foundation, Friday afternoon, August 13

Located 30 mi south of the Taft Campus, Richardson Wildlife Foundation is a privately owned restoration site consisting of a mix of grassland and wetland habitats. Notable herps include Blanding's Turtles.

Nachusa Grasslands, Sunday afternoon, August 15

Located 11 mi south of the Taft Campus, Nachusa Grasslands is one of the Nature Conservancy's greatest success stories. Home to 600 native plant species, the 3,000 acre reserve is the site of on-going grassland restoration. Notable herps include Ornate Box Turtles, and both Eastern and Plains Hog-nosed Snakes.


Registration is available online. The deadline for early registration is July 16; late registration is available through July 30. Reduced registration rates are available to undergraduate and graduate students. Registration includes meals, snacks and beverages, and meeting materials. Questions relating to registration can be directed to Greg Lipps .

Early Registration (on or before July 16)
ProfessionalRegistration with onsite lodging, meals, and linens$157
Registration with onsite lodging and meals (no linens)$150
Registration only$130
StudentRegistration with onsite lodging, meals, and linens$107
Registration with onsite lodging and meals (no linens)$100
Registration only$80
Late Registration (July 17 - July 30)
ProfessionalRegistration with onsite lodging, meals, and linens$167
Registration with onsite lodging and meals (no linens)$160
Registration only$140
StudentRegistration with onsite lodging, meals, and linens$117
Registration with onsite lodging and meals (no linens)$110
Registration only$90


Recreational activities include hiking at the Taft Campus and adjacent Lowden State Park, fishing, canoe and kayak rental and swimming at the Oregon indoor pool. A collection of Eagle's Nest Colony art is on exhibit at the Oregon Public Library (Mon-Thur 9 am – 8 pm, Fri and Sat, 9 am - 4 pm, closed Sun) and can be viewed online (click on "Art Gallery"). The John Deere Historic Site is located in nearby Grand Detour, Illinois and features Deere's home, archaeological exhibit of the shop where in 1837 Deere developed the first successful steel plow, and a working blacksmith shop (Wed-Sun 9 am – 5 pm).


  • USDA Forest Service Eastern Region
  • Northern Illinois University Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability, and Energy
  • Northern Illinois University Department of Biological Sciences


Richard B. King
Department of Biological Sciences
Northern Illinois University
Phone: (815) 753-7833

Previous Meetings

Minutes from past meetings are available from the main meeting page.