Mark your calendars now for our 45th conference on the campus of Indiana University, October 23-25, 2018. The conference venue will be the Indiana Memorial Union (IMU), and conference accommodations will be at the historic Biddle Hotel, which is part of the IMU complex.
This year’s theme is Building Resilience: The Future of Natural Areas. Environmental change is dramatically impacting the resilience of natural areas and their ability to rebound from disturbance while maintaining biologically important features, and continuing to provide fundamental support to human health. Regardless of region or type, the hope for natural areas rests on planned actions that promote resilient systems in the face of daunting environmental change. This annual event is three days of symposia, oral sessions, poster presentations, social networking events, and field workshops, all aimed at bringing cutting-edge and emerging land management strategies to natural areas professionals. Sessions will focus on a variety of regions and climates—but will also offer strategies appropriate for Indiana’s varied natural areas and land management challenges, such as fragmented landscapes, the legacy of decades of logging & farming, and the role of private land conservation. 

Session Topic Areas 

The conference will include the following topics. Call for Presentations is now open.

  • Land Management in Light of Climate Change
  • Collaborative Approaches to Conservation
  • Native Plant Materials in Natural Areas Management
  • Pollinators in Natural Areas Management
  • Migration Corridors and Assisted Migration
  • Private Land Conservation
  • Karst Conservation
  • Fire Ecology
  • Genetic Diversity & Biodiversity
  • Invasive Species
  • Restoration Ecology
  • Working Landscapes Conservation
  • Urban and Wildland Interface Issues
  • Endangered Species Conservation
  • Monitoring Species Populations and Natural Areas
  • Maximizing Data and Technology to Inform Natural Areas Management  
  • The Role of Focal Species in Conservation Planning
  • Communicating the Importance of our Work
  • The Role of Humanities in Conservation

Venue / Reserve Rooms 

Most conference events will take place in the Indiana Memorial Union complex on the IU campus, which includes the historic Biddle Hotel

We have a block of discounted rooms available for attendees at the Biddle, where all guest rooms were newly renovated in 2017. Registration for the conference does not include accommodations: rooms must be reserved by calling 800-209-8145 or 812-855-2536  BEFORE SEPTEMBER 22, 2018 and mentioning the Natural Areas Conference, or by going online and using the code NATURALAREAS18.

Prices for rooms will range from $134 to $174, depending on room type. A limited number of rooms are available
at the government rate for those who qualify. Please inquire at time of reservation. Parking for hotel guests is free. Get additional information about the Biddle Hotel. 

We also have a block of rooms reserved at the nearby Courtyard by Marriott. Rates here are $132 a night if you identify yourself as part of the Natural Areas Conference. Parking is free. Reserve your room by calling 812-335-8000 or 1-800-228-9290. Deadline is October 8, 2018.

NOTE: Accommodations for attendees on THURSDAY, October 25th are very limited at the Biddle. We recommend that those staying over Thursday evening who cannot reserve at the Biddle take advantage of our room block at the Courtyard by Marriott. 

Plenary Speakers 

Opening Plenary
Professor Scott Russell Sanders, award-winning author of A Conservationist Manifesto and Stone Country: Then & Now, will be our keynote speaker.   Dr. Heather Reynolds of Indiana University will also appear as an opening plenary speaker. A plant ecologist, Heather heads the Reynolds Laboratory, which studies plant-environment interactions with a focus on native species, and restoration in the face of climate change. Indiana Department of Natural Resources plant ecologist Mike Homoya will present on the natural features of Indiana. Mike is the author of Wildflowers and Ferns of Indiana Forests: A Field Guide. We will also have Arthur Pearson, author of a biography of NAA co-founder George Fell, speaking at the NAA Awards Banquet. Find out more details.

We'll be posting details on our Closing Plenary speakers as soon as we have them confirmed. 

Field Workshops 

Field Workshops demonstrate land management strategies through case studies and on-the-ground observation, and are a critical part of conference programming. Field Workshops are currently being planned for a wide range of Indiana natural areas, and a full list of those offered will be available as soon as they are confirmed. Check back often!

Networking Events 

The Natural Areas Conference is designed to be a place where the natural areas professional community can come together to exchange ideas - but it's also intended to be a place where attendees can strengthen relationships with colleagues; younger members can benefit from the experiences of more established professionals; and everyone can help to build a stronger community. The conference features several networking events:

Tuesday, October 23

Student/Mentor Networking Lunch

Students and mentors who signed up for the lunch during registration are grouped together according to professional interest, and everyone enjoys a free buffet lunch.

Poster Session and Reception

The Reception is open to all attendees of the conference, and is usually the largest social gathering of the event. Those presenting posters mingle with guests and enjoy refreshments, while everyone catches up with new friends and old.

Wednesday, October 24

NAA Awards Dinner

All those who signed up during registration are free to attend. Our annual gala event, during which we present the George B. Fell and Carl N. Becker Stewardship awards. The high point of the conference!

Local Info 

Coming soon - information about travel from the Indianapolis airport, local attractions, and FAQs about Bloomington and Indiana University facilities. 

Future Conference 

We're pleased to announce that the 2019 Natural Areas Conference will take place in Pittsburgh, PA, at the place where the three rivers - Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio - meet! October 8-10, 2019 will see us gathering at our 46th conference at the Sheraton Pittsburgh, which is right on the waterfront in the city of Pittsburgh. We're excited to be partnering with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for this event. Find out more. Mark your calendars NOW!


Invest in the people who protect and manage our natural areas