Teen Conservation Leadership Conference


TCLC2019-Logo.pngThe Teen Conservation Leadership Conference Returns!

The Teen Conservation Leadership Conference (TCLC) is an event open for teens all over the Chicagoland area, created by teens, for teens. In partnership with John G. Shedd Aquarium and Lincoln Park Zoo, this three-day conference will feature presentations on a variety of topics, ranging from animal care to subjects in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and leadership, from both industry experts and teens across the Chicagoland area. 

In addition, there will be an Expo at the conference where teens can have access to non-profit organizations that focus on STEM and conservation topics. The third day of the conference, teens will participate in an action day, going out into Chicagoland communities to engage in conservation action projects.

Teen Registration:

  • ■ Admission to two days of sessions and the Expo at Dominican University (July 30th and 31st)
    ■ Admission to Conservation Action Day (August 1)
    ■ Conference T-shirt and goodie bag
    ■ Lunch on all days attended
    ■ Transportation to conference events from one of our partner organization sites.
        Must indicate pick-up site at registration.

   Register Now!

Schedule of Events


Tuesday, July 30

Keynote Speaker: Jo-Elle Mogerman

Early Career Advice
Sarah Huskisson and Ivy Yen, Lincoln Park Zoo, Jocelyn Woods, Chicago Zoological Society
Saving the Bees
Ellen McManus, Dominican University
March Mammal Madness: the Power of Science as Narrative                    
Chris Anderson, Dominican University
Making a Migration Match
Amanda Berlinski, Lincoln Park Zoo
Sustainability: A Way to Cope with Chaos
Debra Kutska, Oakton Community College
The Art of Enriching Animals’ Lives
Sarah Feliciano, Matthew Owens, Kayla Fowler, Chicago Zoological Society
Technology and Science
Jodi Houlihan, Benedictine University
Teen Programs at Shedd Aquarium
Miranda Kerr, John G. Shedd Aquarium
SSP Management
John Andrews and Paul Senner, Lincoln Park Zoo, Anne Nichols, Chicago Zoological Society
Environmental Graphiti – The Art of Climate Change
Alisa Singer
A Wild Path to Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Julie Sheldon, Chicago Zoological Society
Role Facilities and Engineering Play in Reducing Waste in AZA Institutions          
Kyle Freeman and Sevy Rodriguez, Lincoln Park Zoo
From Neuron to Behavior-Building the Animal Brain                                      
Dr. Robert Calin-Jageman, Dominican University
The Food System Chain Game
Kate Gannon, Chicago Botanic Garden and Windy City Harvest Youth
Evidence-based hope for the future: The human population bottleneck & conservation reserves as re-wilding centers
Ray Dybzinski , Loyola University
Kim Schollenberger
The Effects of Microplastics on the Environment
Julie Moller
Evaluating Your Impact
Stephanie Bohr, Lincoln Park Zoo
The CO₂ Crisis: What’s Happening to Our Oceans?
John Kanzia, Environmental Quality Manager, Chicago Zoological Society
How do you answer questions that cannot be googled?                               
Soma Roy, The Nourishment Project
STEM and Citizen Science
Kristen Vogt Veggerberg, Boy Scouts of America
From Dart Frogs to Whales: Veterinary Care for Shedd’s Residents
Dr. Caryn Poll, John G. Shedd Aquarium
Shedd’s Teen Lab
John G. Shedd Aquarium staff and teens

Wednesday, July 31

Keynote Speaker: Adam J. Hecktman, Director of Technology & Civic Innovation – Chicago, Microsoft Corporation

The Impact of Community Outreach and Government Affairs on Conservation
Jennifer Baader, Chicago Zoological Society; Andrea Densham, John G. Shedd Aquarium; Marybeth Johnson, Lincoln Park Zoo
Design Your Ultimate Life
Matthew and Joseph Moheban, 220 Leadership
What Does it Take to Operate a Zoo?
Stuart D. Strahl, Ph.D., Chicago Zoological Society
Mexican Wolf Recovery Program
Joan Daniels, Chicago Zoological Society
Melding Herp and Aquatic Management, Conservation, and Science     
Andy Snider, Chicago Zoological Society
Getting to Know Your Neighborly Ambassador for Nature: the Tree       
Chuck Cannon, Ph.D., The Morton Arboretum
Pathway through the Forest Preserves of Cook County: The Tale of the Ambassadors    
Credall Walls, Forest Preserves of Cook County, Robin Grooms, Kelvin Boyd
Preparing for Employment: Resume and Interview Tips for Teens
Tim Loatman, Rebecca Andersen, Collegis Education
Animal Hormones and Poop. What’s the Connection?
Jocelyn Bryant, Chicago Zoological Society
Connecting to Nature and Conservation through Art
Adam Pankratz, Kinklebearcat
From Here to There: Chicago Zoological Society Youth Program Alumni
Gabriel Andrle, Emily Cain, Evan Emmel, Amanda Ismail, Jordan Fleming, Guadalupe Loza, Selenia Murillo
Introduction to Circular Economies
Stef Funk, Plant Chicago
The Sarasota Dolphin Research Program Experience
Chicago Zoological Society’s King Conservation Science High Flying Scholars
What a New Energy Infrastructure Should Look Like
Melissa Brice, 350 Chicago
Lincoln Park Zoo Teen Opportunities
Lincoln Park Zoo program teens
Careers in Nature through Outdoor Recreation
Emily Leu, Theresa Salus, REI Co-op

Lincoln Park Zoo Teen Opportunities
Austin Li, Jonathan Lopez, Angelina Sergis, Lincoln Park Zoo
Zoo Nutrition: Fun with Food
Jennfer Watts, Ph.D., Chicago Zoological Society
You don’t find Mussels in the gym!
Dr. Kentaro Inoue, John G. Shedd Aquarium
Ecosystem Restoration: Improved quality of life. For whom?
Erik Neidy, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
Being a wildlife ecologist - the most rewarding job in the world
Dr. David Drake, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Beam Telepresence Technology
Lincoln Park Zoo staff
Shedd’s Teen Lab
John G. Shedd Aquarium staff and teens

Thursday, August 1

Conservation Action Day!
Join us on Thursday, August 1st for a chance to put our conservation passion to work! We will conclude our two-day Teen Conservation Leadership Conference by volunteering at two Chicago Park District locations for a morning of conservation action, followed by lunch and a day of fun at Brookfield Zoo or Lincoln Park Zoo!

Examples of the type of work you can expect to do includes but is not limited to: Pulling invasive plant species, trail maintenance, seed collection and dispersal and litter clean-up. Tools, gloves, water refills, snacks and instruction provided.

You will work at these locations from 10:00–12:00 p.m. Similar to the first two days of the conference, bus transportation to-and-from each action day site will be provided. If you are coming from Lincoln Park Zoo or Shedd, you will volunteer at Montrose Bird Sanctuary and can board the bus at 9:30 a.m. 2058 N. Cannon Drive. If you are coming from Brookfield Zoo, you will volunteer at Columbus Park Natural Area and can board the bus at the South Gate next to Riverside-Brookfield High School at 9:30am. Bring your water bottle! Apply sun screen and bug spray! Snacks will be provided at each site. At 12:00 pm, you will load the buses to return to your starting zoo. Upon arrival, you will get a lunch voucher and, of course, are encouraged to enjoy the rest of the day.

Note: As with the rest of the conference, attendees are welcome to drive to these action day sites and are not required to use the provided bus transportation! If you are driving on your own, the locations are:

  • Montrose Bird Sanctuary, 601 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60613
    • Take Lake Shore Drive and exit at Montrose Avenue. Travel east along the harbor as the road winds to the right. Park along the harbor and walk north (away from the harbor) where you will soon see a flagpole next to the beach house and beach (bicycle riders, there is a lockup at the beach house). The dune habitat is to the right, next to the concrete fishing pier. It's the only vegetated portion of Montrose Beach.

  • Columbus Park Natural Area, 500 S Central Ave, Chicago, IL 60644

    • Meet behind the Refectory across from the golf course entrance at W. Jackson Blvd. and S. Golf Drive. 

Keynote Speakers

Day 1 Keynote Speaker: Jo-Elle Mogerman, Ph.D.

Steve LevittDirector-North Campus, Saint Louis Zoo

Jo-Elle Mogerman is a native Chicagoan who grew up with a love of animals. Mogerman applied that love to her academic pursuits, obtaining a B.A. in biology from Macalester College, an M.A. in conservation biology from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in biology with a focus on foraging ecology from the University of Illinois-Chicago. In addition, she is currently adjunct at DePaul University’s School of New Learning, teaching a course that engages students as citizen scientists.

Currently, she serves as the first African-American female zoo director as the Director-North Campus at the Saint Louis Zoo. There she is leading the effort to build from scratch a new safari experience and animal science and conservation breeding facility. At Shedd Aquarium she oversaw the vision and strategic direction for all learning and community programs. She brings extensive executive experience in informal education and community relations and is well-versed on topics related to the conservation and zoological community through nearly 14 years at Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo.

Dr. Mogerman has served as an Illinois Nature Preserves commissioner, chaired the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Diversity Committee, and has been a member of the Society for Diversity and the former Chicago Wilderness Executive Council. She has garnered more than 10 awards for the organizations, programs and projects under her lead.

Day 2 Keynote Speaker: Adam J. Hecktman

Adam-Hecktman-Keynote-Speaker-Day-2-Bio-picture.jpgDirector of Technology & Civic Innovation – Chicago, Microsoft Corporation

Artificial Intelligence is everywhere.  It is a buzzword that is being used every day, and in just about every industry.  But what is it?  And how can it be developed and used responsibly?  Hear from Microsoft’s Adam Hecktman on the promise and the responsibility of developing ethical AI solutions.

Adam is Microsoft’s Director of Technology and Civic Innovation for Chicago. In this capacity, Adam helps the cities' civic leaders, and the communities they serve, use cutting-edge ideas around technology to solve the city’s biggest social challenges. He provides guidance on the key issues and opportunities facing neighborhoods and communities today and in the future. Prior to this role, Adam was the Director of the Microsoft Technology Center – Chicago, helping organizations ensure long-term success when facing their toughest business challenges and opportunities. He has been with Microsoft in Chicago since 1991. Prior to Microsoft, Adam was a consultant at Accenture. Adam received a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is pursuing his Master of Data Science with a concentration on Computational Methods at DePaul University. Adam has served his community in various capacities and appointments at non-profit, civic, and professional organizations including Board of Directors of The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (workforce board), Board of Directors of The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (1871),  Board of Directors of The Chicago Public Library Foundation, Board of Directors of Genesys Works Chicago, Leadership Council of THRIVE Chicago, Leadership Council of Civic Consulting Alliance,  Executive Committee of ADA25 Advancing Leadership, Founder of the Chicago City Data Users Group,  Advisory Board of IT Knowledge Abilities Network, Editorial board of The International Journal of Innovation Science, Board of Directors of TechForward, and Past Board Chair of The Family Institute at Northwestern. Adam, a lifelong Chicago resident, lives with his family in the Old Town neighborhood. He can be found on Twitter and on his blog.

Participant FAQ

Who can attend the Teen Conservation Leadership Conference?
Any teen between the ages of 14-19 is welcome to register. If you are affiliated with a partner organization, please refer to teen programing staff for registrations details.

What will I gain from this experience?
This is an opportunity to experience a professional conference in a college campus setting and with programs specifically created with teens in mind. We hope all of our attendees gain a different perspective on conservation and STEM related careers and learn about various volunteer and internship opportunities available to you while developing skills in leadership, science and career/college readiness. Last, but not least, it will be a great opportunity to network and meet new friends.

Can my parents attend?
This conference is planned by teens, for teens. Due to limitations, we are only able to accommodate registered teen participants. Parents are welcome to drop-off and check in at registration/with pick-up site staff. Unless students need special accommodations and parent or guardian assistance, only student participants can remain on campus for the event days.

Where the TCLC take place?
The first two days will take place at Dominican University in River Forest. The third day, Conservation Action Day, will take place in a variety of worksites throughout the Chicagoland area.

Will transportation be provided?
Transportation will be provided at partner organization pick up sites, to Dominican University and Conservation Action Day work sites. Transportation information will be provided after registration, through email communication, before the event. Please note transportation times may vary due to city traffic.

Presenter Registration

The Conference is targeted to the teen audience. If you are interested in presenting please e-mail us at KingScholars@czs.org. The conference will follow a professional conference format and most of the spaces have a typical lecture setting. Speakers will be given 50 minutes to present. Presenters are encouraged to have engaging activities to compliment any digital content in their lecture. 

Presentation should include:

  • ■ An explanation of who you are and what type of work you do in conservation.

  • ■ Is there any action participants can take to impact conservation as it relates to your work?

  • ■ What is some professional advice you can give teens who may be interested in pursuing a career similar to yours?

  • ■ Lastly, your presentation should include 15-20 minutes of Q & A.