Knox to Host Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference Oct. 25-27

Event explores solutions to world's environmental, social challenges

October 17, 2013

Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference

What can rainforests teach us about human connections? How can we build a future world that is powered 100% by clean energy -- and do it in a way that makes us happier and healthier? How can the leadership of women transform civilization?

Those are some of the questions that will be addressed at the Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference on October 25-27 on the Knox College campus. Local workshops on topics including fisheries, community volunteering, and factory farms, along with broadcast presentations from a wide range of speakers, will be featured at the event.

The conference at Knox is affiliated with the National Bioneers Conference in California. Bioneers, also known as the Collective Heritage Institute, is a non-profit environmental organization that focuses on exploring solutions for the world's most pressing environmental and social challenges -- from the Appalachian mountain top removal controversy to large-scale ecosystem restoration.

For 10 years, Knox students and faculty attended Beaming Bioneers gatherings, which bring the National Bioneers Conference experience to locations across the country and around the world. In 2011, Knox hosted its first Bioneers satellite conference, one of 18 across the country. Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference

This year's plenary speakers, whose remarks will be broadcast on a theatre screen at Knox, include Nalini Nadkarni, director of the Center for Science and Mathematics Education at the University of Utah; Billy Parish, an entrepreneur and co-founder of Solar Mosaic; and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, executive director of Green for All.

Local workshops will be led on the Knox campus by various individuals and organizations, including the Knox College Garden Club, Growing Together Inc., and Sitka Salmon Shares. Other workshop presenters will include John Curtis, owner of Barefoot Gardens just outside of Macomb, Illinois; Dan Kenney, founder of DeKalb County Community Gardens in northern Illinois; and Kristy Howell, director of the Sustainable Business Center in Galesburg, Illinois. (Photo at top: Students at a Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference. Photo at right: Knox College Environmental Studies Professor Peter Schwartzman leads an "Admiring Life Walk" around the Knox campus and Galesburg as part of the 2012 Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference.)

The third annual Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference is sponsored by the Knox College Department of Environmental Studies.

Cost of admission varies. Friday's conference events will be free. Admission on Saturday and Sunday is $10 each day, or $18 for both days. Members of the Knox College community and children under the age of 16 may attend free of charge.

Discounts are available for individuals with economic challenges. To find out more, contact Peter Schwartzman at or (309) 341-7142.

To register or get more information go to: