Dr. Abbie Schrotenboer and Students Present at Wild Things Conference

Dr. Abbie Schrotenboer, Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science majors Brendan Covell ’23 and Egna Setiawan ’23 attended and presented at The Wild Things 2023 Conference, which was held at the Rosemont Convention Center on February 25th.

This annual event invites nature enthusiasts from across Illinois and beyond to learn about the flora, fauna, and natural history of the Prairie State. With a community of 3,000 volunteers, conservationists, and natural resource professionals, the 2023 Conference celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Illinois Nature Preserves.

Dr. Schrotenboer was pleased to be able to attend the conference in person this year, as previously, attendance was limited to virtual participation during the pandemic. The Wild Things Community is recognized as one of the nation’s largest networks of people engaged with nature. The community comprises stewards, monitors, advocates, educators, Chicago Wilderness members, volunteers, and staff working together to promote and protect the prairies, woodlands, wetlands, wild yards, and natural parks of Illinois, northwest Indiana, and southeast Wisconsin.

Covell and Setiawan had the opportunity to present to a large panel of participants during the one-day session. During their time, they shared their research and findings, taking time to answer questions from participants about their project “Stream Macroinvertebrate Diversity Near Suburban Development vs. With a Forest Buffer.”  This project reviewed how aquatic macroinvertebrates respond differently to pollution and other stream conditions, so their composition can indicate general water quality. Using a macroinvertebrate Pollution Tolerance Index, they sampled two sites, one near suburban development and one with a forest buffer, for one year, checking for a difference in stream quality.

Covell stated how he enjoyed the experience and the chance to share the knowledge from the research they had worked so hard on, saying, “It was great to have questions from participants during our presentation – we were excited to share the things we learned from this project we have been working on for several months.”

Dr. Schrotenboer added, “Brendan and Egna have been a pleasure to work with.  It is fun to see them excited about conservation and caring for God’s creation and how they can find that synergy between their interests and what God is stewarding them toward in their careers.”

Through generous funding from the VanderVelde Junior Scholarship, the team gained knowledge from their research, networking, and hands-on experience.  Covell concluded, “This would be a great conference for future Trinity students to participate in – there was great value in the one-day event as it related to my major and career.”

Click here to learn more about the Environmental Science major at Trinity.