Laura Barghusen

Prior to joining Openlands in 2004, Associate Greenways Director Laura Barghusen spent three and a half years at the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission working as an environmental analyst and focusing on wetland and stream mapping, modeling, and assessment. She is also the author of The Bear: Endangered Animals and Habitats, published by Lucent Books. She has extensive natural resources and conservation experience, which she utilizes to help create water trails for paddlers and coordinate Openlands’ StreamLeaders course.

Since joining Openlands, Laura has coordinated the implementation of the Northeast Illinois Water Trails Plan. Currently, she is developing a Calumet River Water Trails Map, coordinating a 15-site headwater inventory in northwest Indiana, and assisting Water TrailKeepers, a program of Openlands and Illinois Paddling Council.


  • B.A., University of Chicago
  • M.S., Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, OH
  • M.A., Environmental and Urban Geography, University of Illinois at Chicago

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