News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
March 2, 2022
NOTE: Scroll down to end of press release to download photos.

Brookfield Zoo’s Virtual Spring Lecture Series Highlights Local and State Wildlife

Brookfield, Ill. — Brookfield Zoo is once again offering a virtual lecture series this spring. This year’s line-up will feature local and state wildlife—from turtles to coyotes to a famous pair of piping plovers. The best part for those interested in attending, is they can do so from the comfort of their own homes. Following each presentation, there will be time for a question and answer session. Lectures, which begin at 7:00 p.m. CT, are free, although a $10 donation is appreciated. Online reservations are required and can be made at Lectures include:
Blanding’s Turtle Conservation at Brookfield Zoo
March 9 (Wednesday)
The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), in partnership with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, has supported Blanding’s turtle conservation since 2011 in two primary ways. The first, is participating in the Forest Preserve District’s head-start program for young hatchlings that are brought to the zoo in the spring from several sources, including Peggy Notebaert Nature Center and Cosley Zoo. And the second, is maintaining a breeding pond at Brookfield Zoo, where adult female Blanding’s turtles are able to lay their eggs in a protected area. Join Andy Snider, curator of herpetology and aquatics for CZS, to learn about these initiatives that are contributing to the endangered Blanding’s turtle population in the local forest preserves.
Blanding’s Turtle Recovery Program
March 23 (Wednesday)
The Blanding’s turtle, an endangered species in Illinois, is struggling to survive throughout much of its range in North America mainly due to habitat loss. In the 1990s, remaining populations of the species found locally in DuPage County were critically low. In response, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County began the region's first Blanding's turtle "head-start" program in 1996. Tune in for an informative presentation from Dan Thompson, wildlife ecologist for the Forest Preserve of DuPage County, as he shares the daunting task of saving a species that is at the brink of extinction. Learn how a team collects the eggs from pregnant females found in the wild and give them a “head-start” on survival by caring for them at the Forest Preserve’s facility or placing them with one of the partner institutions, including Brookfield Zoo, before the turtles are released back to the wild.
Conservation of Biological Diversity in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
April 6 (Wednesday)
Join Chris Anchor, wildlife biologist for the Forest Preserves of Cook County, for an informative discussion about the research and management relative to the conservation of biological diversity in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. During his talk, Anchor will share his knowledge about the Urban Coyote Study, fish telemetry, zoonotic disease surveillance, as well as insight about bears, wolves, mountain lions, North American river otters, and badgers.
Maintaining the Traditions of the Ancestors and Restoring to Health the Natural Environment
April 21 (Thursday)
For over 30 years, Joseph Standing Bear Schranz, president of Midwest SOARRING (Save Our Ancestor's Remains & Resources Indigenous Network Group) Foundation and a member of the White Earth Band Minnesota Ojibwe Nation, has been an activist supporting Native American issues. These include the protection and restoration of local plants, animals, natural areas, and sacred sites in Illinois and throughout the country. Hear about the history of the Midwest SOARRING Foundation and its role in conservation success stories such as the establishment of a bison herd, protection of more than 1,900 acres of land throughout Illinois, the designation of Plum Island as a sanctuary for bald eagles, and more.
Monty and Rose—Piping Plovers at Montrose Beach
May 4 (Wednesday)
In the spring of 2019, and then again in 2020 and 2021, Monty and Rose, a pair of endangered piping plovers, nested on Illinois’ Montrose Beach Dunes—the first such recorded event in Chicago in more than 70 years. The pair and their chicks weaved themselves into the hearts of birders and non-birders alike, becoming local and national celebrities and stellar ambassadors for their species. Join Tamima Itani, volunteer coordinator, board member of the Illinois Ornithological Society, and author of the children’s book "Monty and Rose Nest at Montrose," who will share her love of piping plovers. During her engaging presentation, Itani will describe the species’ life history, how the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Effort is bringing these birds back, and sharing stories from the Chicago experience.

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Photo Captions--see individual images for credit
6816: Blanding's turtles at Brookfield Zoo's rearing pond (credit: Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo)

1898:  Dan Thompson, wildlife ecologist for the Forest Preserve of DuPage County, releases a Blanding's turtle to the wild. The turtle hatched at Brookfield Zoo as part of a "head-start" program for the species--the topic for a virtual lecture on March 23. (photo credit: Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo)

3: Chris Anchor,  wildlife biologist for the Forest Preserves of Cook County (photo credit: Chris Anchor)

2Joseph Standing Bear Schranz, president of Midwest SOARRING Foundation and a member of the White Earth Band Minnesota Ojibwe Nation (photo credit: Lynn Anderson)

2925: Piping plovers, Monty and Rose, at 
Illinois’ Montrose Beach Dune (photo credit: Tamima Itani)

About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, and CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Director of Public Relations
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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