Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge
Featured Guests & Speakers

Laura Barghusen

Guest Presenter at the Friends of Hackmatack NWR Virtual Annual Meeting 2021:
Saving North America’s Most Endangered Organisms-Freshwater Mussels

laura-barghusenLaura is the Aquatic Ecologist at Openlands and works with local, regional, and state governments, communities, and other stakeholders to connect people to the waterways of northeastern Illinois through open space and water trail planning, biological monitoring of rivers and streams, legal and policy work, education, and events. Laura is a co-author of A Field Guide to the Freshwater Mussels of Chicago Wilderness. Laura holds a BA in History from the University of Chicago, an MS in Zoology from Miami University, and an MA in Environmental Geography from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Kentaro Inoue

Guest Presenter at the Friends of Hackmatack NWR Virtual Annual Meeting 2021:
Saving North America’s Most Endangered Organisms-Freshwater Mussels 

kentaro-inoueKentaro is an Evolutionary and Conservation Biologist who joined the Shedd Aquarium’s Daniel P. Haerther Center for Conservation and Research in 2019. Inoue leads freshwater mussel research in the Great Lakes region to understand how human activities and environmental change affect current mussel diversity. Previously he studied mussels in Texas and Europe. Kentaro earned a PhD in zoology from Miami University and M.S. in environmental sciences and a BS in wildlife ecology and management from Arkansas State University.

Cindi Jablonski

Guest Presenter at the Friends of Hackmatack NWR Virtual Annual Meeting 2021:
Saving North America’s Most Endangered Organisms-Freshwater Mussels 

Cindi JablonskiCindi is the McHenry County Conservation District’s Wildlife Ecologist. She worked with the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory Update, evaluating natural areas in the 18 northernmost counties in Illinois before coming to work at the District in 2012. Cindi received a BS in Biology from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago and MS in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

Chad Pregracke

Guest Presenter at the Friends of Hackmatack NWR Fall Gathering 2022:
Chad is the founder of Living Lands & Waters, and 2013 CNN Hero of the Year

Chad PregrackeChad has become the champion for the Mississippi River. Growing up on its banks, he worked as a commercial shell diver, experiencing the river from the bottom up. Sometimes spending 10 hours a day in the depths and current of pitch black waters, he crawled nearly 150 miles of river bottom over 6 years. He saw its beauty and was frustrated by the neglect. At the age of 17, he decided to clean it up. 23 years later, Chad and his Living Lands & Waters crew have organized and led over 1200 community clean-ups on 23 rivers in 21 states, and removed over 11 millions pounds of garbage.