A Fox River Testimony Community Symposium

The A Fox River Testimony Community Symposium will take place on Thursday, November 8th, 9am to 1pm in the Crimi Auditorium at Aurora University.
Note:  Registration from 8am to 9am will take place in the AU Welcome Center just across the street from Crimi Auditorium.
Join a panel of scientists, educators and ecologists as they share their expertise and appreciation for the Fox River and its associated landscapes. Learn about the land area that drains to the Fox River and the vibrant natural communities that are dependent upon its health.
Also joining the panel are specialists that are involved in current work to designate the Fox River as a water trail under the National Park Service’s River, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program. 

Fox River Testimony Community Symposium Agenda

8:00am – 9:00am              Registration, AU Welcome Center


9:00am – 9:15am                Opening Remarks, Crimi Auditorium

                                                Brook McDonald, CEO, The Conservation Foundation


9:15am – 10:00am              Our Fox River Watershed

A healthy Fox River begins with its neighbors.  We all live in a watershed. Watersheds or basins are interconnected and humans are part of this dynamic water system. As citizens of the Fox River watershed, we personally play a major role in the health of the river and the environment. How we maintain, manage and monitor our individual properties can impact and ultimately promote a healthy Fox River ecosystem for all its inhabitants.

Richard Boniak, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Environmental & General Sciences and Program Chair for the Environmental Science Program at George Williams College of Aurora University


10:00am – 10: 45am           Natural Communities of the Fox River                                                     

The paintings by Joel Sheesley are hauntingly beautiful and nearly all provide a glimpse of the Fox River and its environs that survived for thousands of generations.   During the last 6 generations, however, the Fox River has undergone a vast transformation.   The forests that graced its eastern banks and the prairies that extended west almost as far as the eye could see have now largely been replaced by places for humans to live and in which to make a living.  We should not fault those generations that immediately preceded us, for we stand tall on their shoulders because of their sacrifices and hard work.  We do, fortunately, have a better understanding and appreciation for the “wild”places that have been captured so beautifully on canvas by Joel.  We need to become a visible part of those paintings, assuming our generation’s responsibility (“standing tall”) for the protection and stewardship of these surviving wild places.

Steven Byers, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, Illinois Department of Natural Resources


10:45 – 11:00                        Break


11:00 – 11:45                        Fish Communities of the Fox River

There are many species of fish residing in the Fox River, taking advantage of the diverse habitats so brilliantly captured in the work of Joel Sheesley in "A Fox River Testimony."  We will examine the rare and common fish species, where they live, what they do for a living, and how they tell us about the condition of the streams throughout the watershed.  We will also review factors influencing these important fish communities and an overview of current efforts to protect and improve our valuable stream resources. 

Stephen Pescitelli, Region II Stream Specialist, Illinois Department of Natural Resources


11:45 – 12:30                        Paddling the Fox River

Keen paddler interest in exploring waterways has spawned water trails worldwide.  Community supported water trails provide a series of sustainable, safe, legal water access and camping sites along with public information.  Water trails eligible for designation under the National Water Trail System also provide more information including ecological stewardship and public engagement.  Members of the Fabulous Fox Water Trail team will share their experience developing the water trail along the beautiful Fox River in Wisconsin and Illinois with technical assistance provided by the National Park Service.

Karen Miller, Executive Planner, Kane County Development and Community Services Department

Angie Tornes, Wisconsin Field Office Manager, Rivers, Trails, & Conservation Assistance Program, National Park Service, Great Lakes States Manager, Hydropower Assistance Program           


12:30 – 1:00                          Panel Discussion