Online STEM Cafe: Backyard Wildlife - Urban Ecology and Conservation

There’s a lot more to urban wildlife than squirrels, geese and raccoons. American toads, blue-spotted salamanders, red foxes and coyotes all make their homes in urban or suburban areas, including DeKalb and the Chicago suburbs. Find out more about how scientists study these animals and how humans and pets can safely coexist with them. In partnership with DeKalb Citizens’ Environmental Commission. 

About John Vanek: 

John Vanek is a wildlife biologist and urban ecologist. He has a B.S. in Wildlife Science from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, an M.S. in Biology and is currently a doctoral candidate in Biological Sciences at Northern Illinois University. His doctoral research focuses on the ecology and conservation of urban wildlife in the suburbs of Chicago. 
Vanek has also worked at the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory at Southern Illinois University studying skunks, at Purdue University tracking rattlesnakes, and at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tracking black bears and red wolves. Other species he’s worked with include turtles, peregrine falcons and giant salamanders. 

To register and attend: 

To register for this free, 2-hour event, go to You’ll receive a link to the event in your confirmation email. Click the link to join the meeting by 5:50 p.m. The online room opens at 5:30 p.m., and the presentation begins promptly at 6 p.m. On a computer, the Chrome browser works best, and you will be asked to download the Adobe Connect app. For tablets and mobile phones, go to your app store and download the Adobe Connect mobile app before attending. You’ll be able to listen to the speakers and have a chance to type in your questions. 

For more information, contact Judith Dymond, Ed.D., at 815-753-4751 or email

Wednesday, June 24 at 6:00 PM


Event Type

Lectures, Presentations and Workshops, Community Events



Target Audience

Students, Faculty and Staff, Alumni, General Public



This event is free and open to the public.

Biological Sciences, Environmental Studies, NIU Outreach, STEM Outreach


Contact Name

Judith Dymond

Contact Email or Phone

email or call 815-753-4751

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