2022 Conference Speakers


Meghan Midgley, PH.D. is a Soil Ecologist at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. She studies how interactions among plants, microbes and soil influence ecosystem responses to environmental changes, including ecosystem restoration and management activities. Meghan seeks to build bridges between research and natural resources management by using scientific insights into soil biology to design and enhance effective ecosystem management strategies. Meghan earned a B.S. in environmental systems from the University of California – San Diego. She holds a master’s degree in environmental science and a PH.D. in ecology, evolution and behavior from Indiana University.


Emma Leavens, MS. cares for the Ware Field Experimental Prairie and supports research on interactions between plants and soils at The Morton Arboretum. She is particularly keen on understanding how to better conserve and restore our natural ecosystems through both science and stewardship. Emma has a master’s degree in plant biology and conservation from Northwestern University and an ever expanding admiration for organisms and their interactions with each other.



Jennifer Bell, PH.D. is a postdoctoral researcher at the Morton Arboretum and Northern Illinois University. She studies how soil bacteria and fungi respond to changes in the environment and restoration efforts in grasslands. Previously she has also researched plant-soil-microbe interations in agriculture. Jennifer completed her PhD in Soil Science from the University of Saskatchewan in 2021 and holds a Master’s Degree in biology from University of Mississippi.



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