Urban Nature: Behind the Scenes
Columbia College Chicago
1104 S. Wabash Ave.
60605 Chicago , IL
United States
41° 52' 8.4072" N, 87° 37' 34.8816" W
Arts & Science

Urban Nature: Behind the Scenes

Urban Nature: Behind the Scenes

C2ST is pleased to present this event as part of our Science + Cinema initiative.

We go behind-the-scenes of the WTTW series Urban Nature with its producer and host, as well as one of the scientists featured in a segment filmed right here in Chicago.

We will screen segments from the series, which explores the surprising ways in which nature is thriving in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. Then producer Dan Protess and host Marcus Kronforst will discuss the making of the series, and explore Kronforst’s work as an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago. Scientist Joel Brown will disucss his role in Urban Nature, and what it was like to be a part of the show. Q and A to follow.

Dan Protess is the Producer and Writer of Urban Nature. He is also the Series Producer of the PBS primetime series 10 that Changed America, which is currently in production on its third season. Dan has been producing and writing at WTTW Chicago for 17 years. His other recent productions include the digital-first food series FoodPhiles, as well as the feature length architecture and history specials Chicago’s Loop: a New Walking Tour, Biking the Boulevards and Chicago’s Lakefront. He wrote and produced the Emmy-winning, James Beard-nominated The Foods of Chicago: A Delicious History. He has also produced candidate forums and feature stories for Chicago Tonight, the station’s nightly newsmagazine program, for which he has received the prestigious Peter Lisagor Award. He began his career at WTTW in 1999 as an associate producer of arts and architecture programming, and soon after served as the associate producer and writer of A Justice That Heals, a documentary about a teenage murderer and his young victim that was shown on ABC’s Nightline. He went on to produce and write numerous documentaries for Chicago Stories, an historical series, including Jewish Chicago, Chicago’s First Mexican Church, Chicago’s 1919 Race Riots, and numerous profiles of local luminaries such as Congressman Dan Rostenkowski, arts maven Lois Weisberg, and priest-turned-romance novelist Andrew Greeley. He began his career at public television station WHA-TV in Madison, Wisconsin.

Marcus Kronforst, PhD, is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolution at the University of Chicago. He is a prominent researcher in the field of evolutionary biology, where his work focuses on wing pattern mimicry in butterflies. Kronforst’s research addresses fundamental biological questions using modern approaches that are highly integrative – spanning genomics, molecular and developmental biology, animal behavior, and evolutionary theory. This innovative, multilayered analytical approach has led to a number of recent key discoveries, from identifying the specific mutations responsible for wing pattern adaptations in boldly colored tropical butterflies to mapping genomic changes associated with the origin of new species. Kronforst has published his scientific research in an array of highly influential journals, including Nature, Science, Nature Communications, Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences USA, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Genetics, and Genome Biology, among others. He has been named a Pew Biomedical Research Scholar and he is the recent recipient of both an NSF CAREER award and an NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity grant, along with a 2016 Distinguished Faculty Award from the University of Chicago. Kronforst earned his Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. He received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Miami in 1998. Prior to joining the University of Chicago, he held a five-year Bauer Fellowship at Harvard University’s FAS Center for Systems Biology. Kronforst joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2012.

Joel S. Brown Ph.D. is a Senior Member of the Moffitt Cancer Center and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  His research encompasses wildlife biology, evolutionary ecology and cancer. Childhood experiences in Zimbabwe created a love of nature and animals that grew into an academic career via a Bachelors at Pomona College PhD at the University of Arizona. His lab and graduate students have expanded to work from A to Z with aardvarks in South Africa and zebra at the Brookfield Zoo, Chicago. Collaborations with the Kenyan Wildlife Society (black rhinoceros and Amani sunbirds), South African National Parks Service (springbok, hyraxes, klipspringers and domestic goats), King Mahendra Trust for Conservation Biology (snow leopards of Nepal), and The Morton Arboretum and other Chicago organizations (prairie restoration, urban ecology) have cultivated an evolutionary approach to wildlife behaviors, populations, communities, and conservation. In Chicago, Brown’s favorite are the fox squirrels and grey squirrels that inhabit our yards, neighborhoods, parks and forest preserves. Brown serves on the Mayor’s Nature and Wildlife Committee, and as a Trustee for the Chicago Academy of Sciences and its Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. More recently as a member of the Department of Integrated Mathematical Oncology, Moffitt, Cancer Center, Tampa, Brown applies ecological and evolutionary principles to define, understand, and treat cancer.  



DETAILS: Wednesday, May 10, Columbia College Chicago, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago IL 60605. Doors open at 5 p.m., program begins 6 p.m. Theater is located on the third floor, room 310. This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Please register for the event so we know you are attending. Columbia College Chicago is easily accessible via the CTA Roosevelt train stop and is served by many bus lines. There are several parking lots available in the immediate area.