Conference Program

Three days

The conference included over 40 speakers - a broad and deep field with presentations emphasizing:

  • fire ecology and fire effects
  • prescribed fire planning
  • lessons learned from prescribed fire implementation

A draft of the sessions is now available on our Program - Sessions and Speakers page.

A mix of formats

We aim to support different ways of learning about the latest research and innovations while also providing plenty of opportunities to connect with colleagues from across the region: 

  • 30 minute oral presentations featuring research and case studies
  • discussion sessions to explore key topics and questions
  • workshops and demonstration for sharing tools and techniques for all levels of experience
  • Rapid Exchange of Ideas + Networking - a fast-paced, 60 minute session designed to help participants make new connections and share ideas about hot topics in prescribed fire

The first half of the conference includes 35 presentations, emphasizing information on fire ecology from researchers and pracititioners. Following lunch on Wednesday, we shift to a format emphasizing presentations by practitioners who have integrated findings from scientific research, personal observation (natural history) and experience applying fire and observing outcomes over time. There are workshops on prescribed burn planning and preparation, demonstration of new tools, and discussions of complex issues and lessons learned.

Fire in oak-dominated systems 

This special track runs through the conference and spans the continuum from oak savannas located in prairie landscapes to oak woodland systems. Presentations on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning will cover the fire ecology of oak-dominated systems and case studies from restoration projects occurring across the Midwest. On Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, scoping and discussion sessions will provide opportunities to share your priorities  information and research needs and to help guide future field trips, workshops, and other fire and oak learning events sponsored by the consortium.

A list of titles, authors, and abstracts for oral presentations and roundtable sessions is now available as a PDF.

Social events

Social hours on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon will provide time to connect with poster presenters, exhibitors, and other colleagues.

Plenary and Keynote speakers 

Our plenary and keynote speakers will address the entire group. We've asked them to help us reflect on our work and offer examples of how to share our vision and goals with others.

Our opening plenary presenter is Pauline Drobney, Prairie and Savanna Zone Biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

On Wednesday morning, we reconvene with the plenary presentation  "Twenty-five years of fire at Nachusa Grasslands" by Bill Kleiman and Cody Considine of The Nature Conservancy Illinois Chapter.

At Wednesday evening's banquet, we'll hear from John T. Price, a writer rooted in the tallgrass prairie region. John is the editor of the anthology The Tallgrass Prairie Reader. John makes his home in the Loess Hills of western Iowa and he directs the program in creative nonfiction at the University of Nebraska Omaha. John will help us reflect on our history, our work, and the ties between science, practice and the humanities, through his keynote address "The Personal Prairie."


Reflecting on the 2013 Midwest Fire Conference

Your responses to our survey following the 2013 regional fire conference showed that participants highly valued 30 minute breaks between sessions, as well as the evening social events.

With that in mind, this conference will have plenty of lengthy breaks and other openings to complement the informative and inspiring talks - we know these are valuable and valued opportunities to find out more from the presenters or talk with colleagues from across the tallgrass prairie and oak savanna region. 

The 2015 Midwest Fire Conference format is designed to provide a time and place to share and learn from stories of challenges, mistakes, and innovations from across the region. 

“Could not ask for more than to have three days to talk about nothing but fire.”

- 2013 Conference evaluation