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Academics > Majors & Minors > Environmental Studies

Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference


Peter Schwartzman

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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The Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference includes nationally recognized plenary speakers - social and scientific innovators who have practical and visionary solutions for the world's most pressing environmental and social challenges (rebroadcast at Knox on a large theatre screen) - combined with workshops and presentations by local experts.

Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference
February 10 -12, 2017 
Knox College, Ford Center for the Fine Arts (Campus Map)

Interactive workshops, local food, renowned speakers, and more!

Free to all participants. Registration includes complementary meals.

Questions? Contact us at 

The Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference is sponsored by a generous contribution from the Knox College Dean of Students, Radish Magazine, Q's Cafe, and baked (pizza) and brought to you by the Office of Sustainability and the Department of Environmental Studies.

Conference schedule by day:

Friday, February 10

Saturday, Februray 11

Sunday, February 12


Friday, February 10

6:oo pm - Registration Opens

6:30 pm - Opening Ceremony and Plenary Speakers* 

  • Reclaiming Relationship & Tradition, Nina Simons
  • Maps, Magic, and Medicine in the Rainforest, Mark Plotkin
  • The Role of Spiritual Practice in Social Justice Work, Ericka Huggins

8:30 pm - Refreshments and Networking Break

9:00 pm - Evening event of music and poetry 

  • Spoken Word
  • Cherry Street jazz combo
  • The New Regulars

*Plenary speakers presented at the 2016 National Bioneers Conference in California. Their presentations will be rebroadcast for our audience on a large theater screen.

Saturday, February 11

8:30 am - Registration Opens

9:00 am - Morning Activities (concurrent)

  • The Larger Picture: Puzzling Out Sustainability, Arthur Sevestre, Two Oaks Farm (Två Ekar Gård)
  • Butoh: Embodying Self, Sangha, and Gaia, Alex Connors

10:30 am - Morning Break

11:00 am - Plenary Speakers* 

  • Occupy the Law: The Movement for Community Rights and the Rights of Nature, Thomas Linzey & Mari Margil
  • The Ultimate Symbiosis: Biomimicry as a Cooperative Inquiry, Janine Benyus
  • Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company

12:30 pm - Lunch 

2:00 pm - Local Interactive Workshops (concurrent)

  • Diversified Farming as a Business, Dusty Spurgeon, Spurgeon Veggies CSA
  • The Environmental, Economic, and Social Impacts of CAFOS in Illinois and Beyond, Karen Hudson, Illinois Citizens for Clean Air & Water (ICCAW) and Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP)
  • Earth Sheltered Homes, Marty Davis, Davis Caves

3:00 pm - Break

3:15 pm - Local Interactive Workshops (concurrent)

  • Food Justice: Classism and Other Taboo Topics, diana Mackin
  • Community Partnership and Economic Justice in Haiti, Daniel Beers, Resources to Resources (R2R)
  • Sex Slavery: Make Yourself Aware, Tom Colclasure, Asha for Life Community
  • Defending the Common Good: What I learned about running for office and why getting involved in politics matters now more than ever, John Curtis, Barefoot Gardens CSA
  • Renewable Energy Democracy, Dr. Howard Ehrman, University of Illinois at Chicago

4:45 pm - Break

5:00 pm - Plenary Speakers*

  • What Winning the Climate Change Battle Looks Like, Bill McKibben
  • What Are We Fighting For?, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

6:15 pm - Dinner

7:30 pm - Keynote Event

Mni Wiconi, Water is Life: Solidarity with Standing Rock
Al Eastman, American Indian Center

One Standing Rock in the Context of Climate Change Globally
Dr. Howard Ehrman, University of Illinois at Chicago

*Plenary speakers presented at the 2016 National Bioneers Conference in California. Their presentations will be rebroadcast for our audience on a large theater screen.

Sunday, February 12

9:30 am - Registration Opens

10:00 am - Morning Activities (concurrent)

  • Plant Your Own Microgreens, Sofia Tagkaloglou
  • Yoga with Laura Bush

11:00 am - Brunch 

12:30 pm - Plenary Speakers*

  • Youth activist hip-hop duo
  • Optimizing the Energy Transition, Danny Kennedy
  • Creating An Equitable Environmental Movement, Vien Truong

2:00 pm - Break

2:15 pm - Local Interactive Workshops (concurrent)

  • Embracing Bioregional Herbs, Tina Hope
  • Panel Discussion on Activism at Standing Rock, Walt McAllister and Knox College Students
  • Introduction to Sustainable Landscaping, Chris Enroth, University of Illinois Extension

3:15 pm - Break

3:30 pm - Local Interactive Workshops (concurrent)

  • Food Recovery and Reducing Food Waste, Karen Caballero and Shresha Karmacharya 
  • The Problem of Whiteness, Kwame Shabazz, Knox College
  • The Politics of Fracking, Ben Farrer, Knox College

5:00 pm - Break

5:15 pm - Plenary Speakers* and Closing

  • Creativity-the Antidote to Destruction, Climbing PoeTree

*Plenary speakers presented at the 2016 National Bioneers Conference in California. Their presentations will be rebroadcast for our audience on a large theater screen.

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Printed on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

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