Plants of Concern (POC) engages a diverse, dedicated group of citizen scientists to monitor endangered, threatened, and rare plants in the Chicago Wilderness region, which includes northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana. The program provides this data to partners, who use it to conserve and protect native wildflowers, grasses, and other plants that once flourished in our region. Plants of Concern is coordinated by the Chicago Botanic Garden in partnership with local, state, federal, and nonprofit agencies.

Plants of Concern is a flexible collaboration of public and nongovernmental conservation agencies, landowners, and volunteer groups, guided by an advisory group of land managers, scientists, and volunteers. The program is founded on four core tenets:

  • Monitor endangered, threatened, and locally rare plant species using standardized protocols
  • Assess long-term trends in rare-plant populations in response to management activities and/or threats to populations
  • Train volunteers as citizen scientists to monitor rare-plant populations and become conservation advocates
  • Provide information on population trends and potential threats to the populations to public and private landowners, land managers, and agencies as feedback to help determine future management practices