APRIL 2022 The Humane Gardener: Nurturing Habitat for Wildlife
Why do we call some insects “beneficial” while others are “pests”? Why do we welcome some larger animals to our garden while calling others “nuisances”? Why are some plants considered “desirable” while others are “weeds”? In this myth-busting talk, learn how common growing methods divide the natural world into false dichotomies and perpetuate misperceptions about the wild species living among us.
Discover practical ways to put humane gardening philosophies into action by protecting nesting and overwintering sites; eliminating unintended hazards; identifying and nurturing plants that provide food and shelter; restoring habitat with minimal disturbance to animals; and humanely resolving conflicts with mammals and other commonly misunderstood creatures.
Nancy Lawson is the author of The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife, a habitat consultant, a columnist for All Animals magazine, and a frequent speaker on garden ecology. She founded Humane Gardener to pioneer creative planting strategies and animal-friendly landscaping methods.
Lawson’s presentations at diverse venues—from national wildlife refuges and wildflower preserves to universities and state natural resource agencies—have inspired even seasoned horticulturists and wildlife experts to look at their landscapes in a new way. Certified as a Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional and master naturalist, she partners with nonprofits in the national capital region, including Howard County Bee City, Audubon Society of Central Maryland, and Patapsco Heritage Greenway. Her book and garden have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Oprah magazine and other media outlets.
MARCH 2022 Prairie Haven: Habitat Restoration on an Old Wisconsin Farm
Marcie and Mike O'Connor bought an old farm in Wisconsin in 2000. Since then they've been working to restore it back to the prairies, savannas, and wetlands that were there before the land was settled. They've planted prairie in the old crop fields, cleared and expanded remnant prairies and savannas, and replanted and restored damaged wetland prairies and sedge meadows. Their goal is to create as diverse a native ecosystem as possible, and to encourage the return of native animals. Marcie keeps an extensive website about their efforts, and inventories and information about the plants and animals they find. www.prairiehaven.com
Marcie became interested in plants when she was about 10 years old, and then earned a BA in Biology from Grinnell College. In the past she transformed most of their yards into various native habitats, but now she concentrates on habitat restoration at their farm.
FEBRUARY 2022 Brooklyn Bridge Park Lessons (so far!) in Constructed Ecology
Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre, organic park in the middle of New York City, was created with ecology in mind. The Park’s award winning piers host top notch recreation, from opera to outdoor films, all of it beautifully designed. But the piers also contain native woodlands, freshwater wetlands, salt marshes, and numerous meadows. These areas closely mimic native ecosystems and are managed with an emphasis on wildlife habitat.
This talk will detail many of the strategies employed to design an ecological park, as well as the management techniques used to cultivate biodiverse parkland. If we can do it, so can you. Rebecca McMackin is an ecologically obsessed horticulturist and garden designer. By day, she is the Director of Horticulture at Brooklyn Bridge Park, where she manages 85 acres of diverse parkland organically and with an eye towards habitat creation for birds, butterflies, and soil microorganisms. In her imaginary free time, Rebecca writes about landscape management and pollination ecology, as well as designs the occasional garden. Her writing has been published by the New York Times, the Ecological Landscape Alliance, and the Landscape Institute. View a recording of this presentation
JANUARY 2022 Botanical Latin: How Plants are Named
Have you ever wondered and puzzled over what those strange scientific plant names mean and why even bother with them? Gain the insight for understanding scientific names and the logic behind them. Learn the what, why, and how of botanical Latin.
Shirley Mah Kooyman is a botanist with a specialty in plant taxonomy (plant names and identification) and an award-winning teacher. She currently works as the native plant specialist at Natural Shore Technologies in Independence, which is 2 miles west of Maple Plain. Shirley worked at the MN Landscape Arboretum for 25 years and was the Adult Education Manager there for 2 decades. She has lectured on numerous botanical and horticultural topics to many different groups. Shirley's Handout
NOVEMBER 2021 Jumping Worms: Protecting our Garden Spaces
In spring of 2020, just as we became aware of how quickly Jumping Worms were infesting our local gardens, Wild Ones Twin Cities considered canceling our popular donated plant sale, hosted by Julia at her garden in Minneapolis. While not wanting to unknowingly spread an invasive species, we believed we were thorough in our efforts to minimize any risk. As we continue to learn more, we can no longer make that assumption. Even the nursery trade can no longer guarantee their products do not have cocoons, as worms have been found on trucks delivering plants from out state.
Last fall (2020), Julia began to experiment transferring plants via bare roots. As this technique is new to many of us, testing via her Bare Root Clinics and Demonstrations continued this spring and will continue into 2022 with support from other members of Wild Ones Twin Cities. In her presentation, Julia will share what we have learned thus far along with mitigation updates from gardeners who already have infestations. These best practices will hopefully become the new normal, protecting our gardens and natural areas from accidental introduction of invasive species.
Julia Vanatta has been a homeowner and active member of Longfellow Community in Minneapolis since the late '70s. Getting serious about gardening roughly 20 years ago, Julia has used her own gardens to experiment and learn all she can about native plants and the wildlife they support, especially insects. For the past 15 years, Julia has been active as a leader in various capacities for Wild Ones Twin Cities. More recently she started the Facebook group, Native Plant Gardens in the Upper Midwest, a discussion group where members engage in an exchange of ideas and practices for local ecosystem gardening.
OCTOBER 2021 Still Searching for Minnesota’s Native Wildflowers, Even in our Own Backyards
Meet Phyllis Root and Kelly Povo, authors of Searching for Minnesota’s Native Wildflowers; A Guide for Beginners, Botanist and Everyone in Between. Learn about why they are crazy about native wildflowers, where they search and (sometimes) find them, and why they are also planting them in their own backyards. You’ll learn where to look, when to go, and how to find some of Minnesota’s little-known native wildflower treasures. They will also share stories of their own adventures (and misadventures).
Phyllis Root is a writer, Kelly Povo is a photographer, and they love searching for, learning about, and finding Minnesota’s native flowers. Their first wildflower adventure together was over ten years ago, to Big Bog State Recreation Area, where they walked on the boardwalk a mile into the bog and saw plants they had never seen before. Since then, they have waded rivers, slipped down snowy hillsides, and visited more places than they can remember.
Phyllis, an award-winning author, has written many picture books about Minnesota, including Big Belching Bog,Plant a Pocket of Prairie,One North Star, and most recently, TheLost Forest, all published by the University of Minnesota Press. Kelly, a professional photographer for over thirty years, has exhibited in galleries and art shows across the country. Her photographs have been published on posters, calendars, note cards, and in books. They have collaborated on several books, including Girlfriend Gumbo and Gladys on the Go. Whatever they are doing, Phyllis and Kelly laugh—a lot.
SEPTEMBER 2021 An Oak Savanna Case Study: Restoring a Historic Habitat in Burnsville, Minnesota Oak savanna is a unique and now rare habitat type that once covered significant areas of the state. Widely spreading oaks and understory of grasses and wildflowers were once a common site in many areas of Minnesota but most of these habitats are now either gone or severely degraded.
There are many landowners and organizations working hard to bring our remaining savannas back to life, including right here in the Twin Cities. One of these example projects is at Terrace Oaks Park in Burnsville where management is underway on about 50 acres of previously degraded savanna, with another 20+ acres of restoration planned for this upcoming winter. Caleb Ashling, Natural Resources Specialist with the City of Burnsville, will present on the history of the site, some challenges and successes the City has seen during the restoration effort and some of the restoration strategies that have been employed throughout the project.
Caleb Ashling attended Northland College, receiving a degree in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Ecological Restoration. Caleb started his career as a traveling bird researcher, spending time wandering the arctic tundra in Alaska, mangrove swamps in Jamaica and uninhabitated atolls in French Polynesia while working on bird research projects for various organizations. Caleb moved on to working in habitat management and water quality for a local park district before landing at his current job in Burnsville which allows him to employ his scientific background and love of wildlife to make on the ground changes in local parks that benefit the community and the environment.
MAY 2021 Fundamentals of Garden Design: Plant Communities, Ecosystem Function, and Climate Resilience Benjamin will explore what plant layers are in naturalistic garden design, how to mimic these layers based on observations in nature, native plants to use in each layer, and how to manage this kind of garden. We'll take a special dive into seasonal layers from spring through winter, as well as how to plan for successional layers in the years after planting.
Monarch Gardens is Benjamin Vogt. His 5,000' home garden on a 1/4 acre lot has been featured in Fine Gardening, Garden Design, The American Gardener, Nebraska Life, the Omaha World Herald, and the Lincoln Journal Star. For five years (2012-2017) Benjamin wrote an award-winning garden column for Houzz (over 3 million reads with 200 articles) and has contributed to books such as Lawn Gone! and Pollinator Friendly Gardening. You'll find his freelance photography and writing in several publications, including The Xerces Society's Gardening for Butterflies (Timber Press), as well as Orion Magazine, Northern Gardener, APLD's The Designer, Fix, Fine Gardening, and many others. He has been interviewed for dozens of podcasts, articles, and books while speaking nationally on environmental activism and sustainable urban design for wildlife.
APRIL 2021 Notes From the Underground: Ants in the Prairie While many ant species worldwide go unnoticed, ants consist of a large biomass with more than 15,000 species named. Populations of these insects have been discovered on every continent except for Antarctica. As a part of the food chain, they eat waste products that other animals won’t eat and some species are important predators of other insect species. They move plant seeds around for dispersal. They also aerate the soil when they form a hole during their excavations. They’re part of the whole picture and complexity of an ecosystem. Grassland ants all nest underground, but during the growing season, most live nearer and become active at the surface or even above ground level, where the flourish of prairie life is in such vibrant force.
Dr. James Trager has graduate degrees in entomology specializing in ant research, but has always been broadly interested in the natural history of terrestrial ecosystems. After a 10-year stint as a research entomologist in Florida, Brazil and Argentina, family matters brought him to Missouri, and he found employment as the interpretive naturalist and ecological restoration biologist at Shaw Nature Reserve near St. Louis, where he worked for 28.5 years, until he retired during the summer of 2019 (though staying on as an instructor and volunteer in the restoration program). He is currently working on a guide to the approximately 150 species of Missouri ants, frequently interrupted by “Zooming” off to entomology and other sorts of nature talks, even occasionally giving one himself. Lately he has become enchanted with a granddaughter, born in August, whom he hopes to influence as a student or at least a lover of nature.
MARCH 2021 Deep Oak Savanna This presentation explores the deep meaning of oak savanna, from an ecological standpoint, one of earths most amazing ecosystems ever. Stephen will begin by providing a definition for savanna and reinforcing the concept via a planetary field trip, in time and space, to witness an ontological theme and variation thereof, and to expose savanna as the most advanced, diverse, and provisional terrestrial ecosystem ever. He will then focus on our regional Midwest savannas and conduct enthralling natural histories of keystone species and their reinforcing roles of the savanna configuration. The presentation covers the recent demise of savanna and associated drivers, and also, why losing this powerful ecosystem, from a planetary perspective, poses a threat to livability. The presentation then shifts to savanna restoration, from ground layer flora to shrubs and canopy trees, from buffalo to goats, and from large scale preserves to lawnscapes. Emerging concepts of silvoculture and working lands are discussed. Throughout the presentation, a powerful array of scientific principles are rendered via fascinating stories concerning our native savanna flora and fauna, feedbacks and ecosystem phenomenology, in ways which provide the audience a deep ecology and sense of wonder for oak savanna.
Stephen Thomfordehas 28 years and 10,000 acres experience in design, implementation and maintenance of ecological restorations throughout the Midwest. This includes a decade of post graduate research at UW-Madison from which emerged a framework for ecological restoration in the 21st century and the first regional concepts based on State Transition Models, Working Lands, and Restoration of Ecosystem Services. For the past 15 years, his passion, work and research has focused on savanna ecosystems, from the scale of lawns to a model for future agricultural production. Stephen lives in Minneapolis, farms in Zumborta, and plays outside throughout the Midwest.
FEBRUARY 2021 Phytoremediation With Native Plants: How Native Plants Can Be Used to Clean Up Environmental Contaminants Environmental Project Manager Eric Fuselier will discuss how to use native woody and herbaceous plants to improve soil, air, and water quality, and remove environmental contaminants from soil, air, and water. The presentation is designed for green industry professionals and technical information will be presented. The ideas and concepts presented can be applied to a wide range of project types, from residential and commercial landscape design, to large-scale environmental remediation projects.
Eric Fuselier is an Environmental Project Manager at Crafton Tull where he works with civil engineers and landscape architects to select native plant species for the rain gardens, bioswales, detention ponds, and commercial development projects they design. Eric is currently serving as the President of the Ozark Chapter of Wild Ones in northwest Arkansas, a non-profit organization dedicated to ”promoting environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities.
JANUARY 2021 Gardening for Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths!) The program will show the diversity of the butterflies and moths one can attract to their home landscape in the Twin Cities including the host plants for their caterpillars and nectar plants/food sources for the adults. You will learn about gardening techniques that provide garden habitat for butterflies and moths as many have unique strategies for overwintering. Also learn about butterfly and moth population status and other impacts to them including misuse of pesticides.
Alan J. Branhagen is Director of Operations at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. For over 20 years he was Director of Horticulture at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s Botanical Garden and prior to that he had a nearly decade-long duty as Deputy Director of Resource Development for the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District in Rockford, Illinois. Alan Branhagen received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Iowa State University and a Master of Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University with emphasis on design with nature. He wrote The Gardener’s Butterfly Book in 2001 and in November 2016, Timber Press published his book Native Plants of the Midwest. The Midwest Native Plant Primer: 225 Plants for an Earth-friendly Garden was released in July, 2020. Beyond public garden management, Mr. Branhagen is an all-around plantsman and naturalist specializing in birds, butterflies and botany. He is in process of creating a new natural garden on 2.4 acres overlooking the Minnesota River Valley in Chaska, Minnesota.
DECEMBER 2020 Native Microbes in Native Plant Restorations Ecological restoration efforts can increase the diversity and function of degraded areas. However, current restoration practices cannot typically re-establish the full diversity and species composition of remnant plant communities. More and more, we learn that soil microorganisms play a central role in ecosystem function and the maintenance of highly diverse plant communities. This presentation will explore how soil communities can be harnessed to improve restoration outcomes and to assist in the establishment of challenging plant species. Dr. Bever will share new insights into how soil microbial communities and the functions they provide may shape the composition of restored plant communities.
Dr. Bever currently serves as a Foundation Distinguished Professor of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas. Jim obtained his Ph.D. from Duke University in the 1990s, where he pioneered approaches to describing and testing plant-soil community and thereby created a new field of scientific inquiry on plant-soil feedbacks. His highly successful research career has resulted in more than 160 publications and the mentoring of more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and assistant scientists. His areas of expertise include microbial contribution to the maintenance of plant diversity, ecology and genetics of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, restoration of native plant diversity after disturbance, and the evolution of plant-microbial mutualisms.
NOVEMBER 2020 Designing and Managing Sustainable Landscapes Lawn is an ecological hazard that surpasses corn acreage in the US. Implementing alternatives to lawn is a mission for many, but how much success have we had?? Fred will discuss what's in the way of broadly establishing sustainable and native landscapes, and what we can do to accomplish this important goal. He will present successful and unsuccessful projects through his 35 year career designing and managing sustainable and native landscapes, and discuss the lessons learned.
Fred Rozumalski is an ecologist and landscape architect currently employed in the water resources division of Barr Engineering Company in Minneapolis, MN. A believer in the power of every land owner's potential to help regenerate ecological balance, Fred has developed a specialty in designing practical landscapes that sequester carbon, harvest stormwater, and conserve energy. His work ranges from writing city-wide green infrastructure plans, to restoring native ecosystems, to designing corporate urban environments that feature native plants and perennial food crops. Fred is committed to teaching others to implement sustainable landscapes. Fred holds degrees in Horticulture, Ecology and Landscape Architecture. He also co-authored the book Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and has been adjunct faculty in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota.
OCTOBER 2020 Managing Buckthorn in our Forests Ed Mallum will present on the tools and techniques to manage invasive plants in our woodlands focusing on identification and control. The removal of invasive species is only the first step down the path of restoration. The detriments of invasive species cause a downward spiral of ecological collapse, so Ed and his crew strive to turn it into an upward spiral of rehabilitation, for the sake of the plant communities, pollinator insects, birds, mammals, water management, and even soil health.
Ed is a passionate protector of Minnesota native woods through his company, Ed's Buckthorn Control, which started in Minnetonka in 2017 as a contractor for the City of Minnetonka. His goal is to help restore our native woodlands to be similar to the high quality ecosystems they once were. Ed's company stands out among competitors by their methods to preserve the delicate landscapes at the same time as removing the nasty noxious species, such as buckthorn, garlic mustard, and many others.
SEPTEMBER 2020 Beneficial Raingarden Insects Jessica Miller of Dragons Wynd, shares the wonder and fascination of the insects and the services they provide us and our world. This talk will focus on Insects found in Raingardens and the benefits that the plant community and ecosystem gain.
Jessica Miller first trained in art history then earned a masters of science in entomology. She has energy and creativity and will share her knowledge of insects she finds in her own yard. Her work connections with the Entomology Department at the U of Minnesota, as well as with Mississippi Park Connection, keep her informed of on-going insect issues and well as current focused messaging within a broad and caring community.
MARCH 2020 Earthworm Invasion in Northern Forest Ecosystems The northern forests from Minnesota to New England have no native earthworms. European earthworms have invaded many of these forests, where they transform soil structure by consuming the organic horizon (aka duff layer) and compacting the A horizon. These changes in soil structure lead to alterations in nutrient and water cycles within the soil. There are many important ecological cascades emanating from these invasions, including concerns for conservation of native plant and wildlife species, losses of forest and crop productivity, facilitation of invasive plant species such as buckthorn and garlic mustard, and soil and water quality.
Lee E. Frelich is Director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology. He received a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1986. Frelich teaches courses in Forest Fire Ecology and Landscape Ecology on St.Paul Campus, and has advised 23 graduate students. Frelich has authored more than 110 publications with 90 coauthors from 14 countries, including major works for Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press. He is listed among the top 1% of all scientists in the world in the Thompson-Reuters Essential Science Indicators, Ecology and Environment Category. Current research interests include fire and wind in boreal forests, old-growth hemlock and maple forests, invasive earthworms in forests, deer and moose browsing, patterns of tree height, and impacts of climate change.
JANUARY 2020 Restoring Ecosystem Functionality and Biodiversity How can humans benefit from green infrastructure and ecological landscape restorations? Heather will discuss ways we can achieve a sustainable coexistence with the rest of life on earth. Models of restorative landscaping including residential and community opportunities will be highlighted focusing on thoughtful plant selection, ecosystem functionality and how diversity can be maximized. A focus on pollinator habitat and outcomes, trouble shooting and monitoring of restorations, and local grant opportunities will be included as well.
Heather Holm is an award-winning author and nationally sought-after speaker spending much of her time passionately educating audiences about the fascinating world of native bees and the native plants that support them. Her first book, Pollinators of Native Plants, was published in 2014, and her latest book, Bees, published in 2017, has won six book awards including the 2018 American Horticultural Society Book Award. Heather's expertise includes the interactions between native bees and native plants, and the natural history and biology of native bees occurring in the upper Midwest and Northeast. She is also vice president of the Wild Ones Prairie Edge chapter.
NOVEMBER 2019 Among Suburban Wildlife There are hidden savannas, prairies, and forests in our backyards and parks. They are replete with predators and prey, herbivores and carnivores, parasites, and parasitoids in a network of life not unlike, in some ways, the savannas of Africa or the prairies of Yellowstone's Lamar Valley. But one has to look closely to find this diversity. This is a world dominated by humans that have destroyed or modified the habitats of a myriad of animals. Some disappeared under the onslaught of blacktop and manicured lawns, but others have adapted to our of backyards and parks and life there can be diverse. Gordon Dietzman will share his adventures among that wildlife and the places that support them. Gordon Dietzman grew up on a dairly farm in southwestern Wisconsin where he spent much time observing wildlife and creating wildlife habitat. He often ignored his farm chores to wander through the fields and woods of the Driftless Area. The love of the out of doors led him to a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in environmental interpretation. He has worked at the International Crane Foundation where he led education programming at ICF's headquarters in the Baraboo, Wisconsin area, but also worked on endangered species issues and preservation in Southeast Asia. He currently works as a park ranger with the National Parks Service, at least when he isn't wandering his backyard, area parks, (and national parks) photographing the wildlife with which we share our living spaces. OCTOBER 2019 Landscaping with Edible Native Plants Julie Noraker, an Elegant Edible Landscaping Educator from Gen 1:11 Farm in Andover will present on how to incorporate edible native plants into your home landscape. She will also take a closer look at specific plants, their medicinal properties, and edible uses like jams, jellies, breads, and more! SEPTEMBER 2019 Minnesota Butterflies and Their Native Nectar Plants Travis Bonovsky will share a stunning series of photos to illustrate common Minnesota butterflies and the native plants that provide them nectar. Travis is a nature enthusiast and native gardener who uses photography to learn about our natural world. His writings and photos have been featured in Minnesota Conservation Volunteer Magazine, National Audubon Society, Birds & Blooms Magazine, KARE11 Weatherguide Calendar, Capture Minnesota and more.
MAY 2019 Wholistic Design with Native Plants After a brief introduction to how to design with native plants, this presentation will use a range of case studies to illustrate by example how to design with native plants to: maximize sustainability and ecological function, draw out the beauty of regional landscapes, and create functional spaces that foster healthy, invigorating, meaningful connections between people and their environment. A range of examples of varying scales, context, and site uses will be included to show how the design process can vary from site to site. Nathalie Shanstrom started Pasque Ecological Design in 2016. www.pasquedesign.com
MARCH 2019 Native Landscapes for Bird Enthusiasts One of the best ways to bring birds to your feeders is to grow native plants. Adding native plants to your garden will attract and protect the birds you love while making your space beautiful, easy to care for and better for the environment. Join us as Kaitlyn walks us through the best, most bird-friendly trees, shrubs and perennials to plant in our region, along with how to establish a native garden that birds will love in your backyard. Kaitlyn O'Connor is the education and outreach coordinator at Prairie Moon Nursery in Winona, Minnesota.
JANUARY 2019 The Universe Beneath Our Feet: Restoring Soil Ecosystems Soil is one of the last truly uncharted territories. It is also the key to solving most of the problems we face today. Healthy soils clean and hold water, re-mediate pollution, sequester carbon, and grow resilient plants. Healthy soil is built by countless microbes working 24/7 - and they need our help! This presentation is for anyone interested in learning more about the vast and complex ecosystem beneath our feet. It will be led by Renaissance Soil, a St. Paul based non-profit dedicated to regenerating soil through education, outreach, and action opportunities. Kassie Brown,Founder and Educator of Renaissance Soil A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Kassie has always been passionate about reconnecting people, food, and nature. After studying the soil food web in courses taught by leading soil microbiologist Dr. Elaine Ingham, Kassie decided to make the amazing complexity of life below ground her primary focus. Kassie lives in Saint Paul with her partner and their six chickens, one cat, and innumerable microbes.
NOVEMBER 2018 Bring Nature Home- Creating Wildlife Habitat In Your Yard Paul Erdmann will present on ways you can provide habitat for pollinators, song birds, and other wildlife right in your own yard or neighborhood park- every little bit makes a big difference! Inspired by Doug Tallamy's book Bringing Nature Home, Paul will discuss why backyard habitat is more important today than ever before. This presentation will discuss invasive, ornamental, and native plants, what wildlife needs to survive and thrive, creating structures and homes for wildlife, and much more! Paul Erdmann is the Conservation Director of the Bush Lake Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America in Bloomington. Since 2010, he has worked to restore the Chapter's five acre property of prairie, wetlands and woods. He has also worked to get others involved and advocates for clean water, ecological restoration and creating and preserving habitat for wildlife. OCTOBER 2018 Gardening with Grasses and Sedges Join the grass revolution! Learn how to combine the serenity of grasses and sedges with the visual punch of flowers in any garden. No longer seen as ornamental novelties, grasses are a crucial component for low maintenance gardens and an important source of food and habitat for pollinators. This presentation features time-lapse pictures of gardens, showing how grasses and sedges add cohesion to native gardens throughout the year. From garden recruits to designer generals, everyone has a role to play in the sedge resistance. Dustin Demmer is the owner of Blazing Star Gardens, a native plant nursery and landscaping company located in Owatonna, with exceptional public and private gardens located throughout the state.
SEPTEMBER 2018 Healthy Soils & Water Conservation Want a healthier landscape that needs less (or no) supplemental watering? Learn tips to improve soil health to encourage improve root development, rainfall absorption and moisture retention. The presentation will also provide tips for safely and effectively capturing rainwater for reuse. Gregg Thompson is a Watershed Specialist with the City of Eagan. He provides technical support to reduce stormwater runoff impacts on water resources, through land projects and watershed stewardship activities. Originally from a farm in South Dakota, where he developed his fascination with water, vegetation and soil, his background is in landscape architecture with 25+ years of experience working in residential/commercial landscapes and public-land projects.
MARCH 2018 Minnesota Wildflowers Katy Chayka & Peter M. Dziuk www.minnesotawildflowers.info For anyone who is interested in learning about Minnesota?s native or invasive plant species, Katy Chayka and Peter Dziuk have developed one of the best online field guides of any state. Find out how this online guide was started and how to search for plants, learn photography tips and view beautiful photos of rare/endangered and other plant species.
JANUARY 2018 The Importance, Care, and Feeding of Native Pollinators Presenter: Dave Crawford, retired Minnesota State Park NaturalistDave will share photos and videos of pollinators to illustrate a sample of the diversity of this group, and the specific needs which must be provided for in order to maintain pollinator-friendly habitat. He?ll illustrate a proposed ?palette? of native plants which can help provide for pollinators? nutrition throughout the growing season, based on what has worked in his own native plant gardens. Dave Crawford is a retired Minnesota State Park Naturalist who has worked and volunteered at parks up and down the St. Croix Valley for over 40 years. After retiring, he developed a growing interest in the many hundreds of species of pollinating insects that are native to Minnesota. He documents his pollinator finds in parks and in his home?s native plant gardens through video and still photography. He?s presented talks on pollinators and native plant gardening to a variety of audiences across central Minnesota.
NOVEMBER 2017 Restoring Native Soil Microbes To Support Native Plants Presenter: Bob Dahm ‘Organic Bob’Bob will explore the connection between soil microbes and ecological restoration. He will discuss exotic invasives and the damage they cause to soil, the link between native plants, pollinators and native soil microbes. Attendees will learn what to do to heal the soil in a way to support native plants and create an environment that discourages exotic invasives. As a farm-raised son of a farmer and school teacher/soil conservation activist, Bob watched his Dad and Grandpa and many of their farmer friends die of cancer. He was convinced there had to be a better way. Later, as grounds manager for a children?s psychiatric hospital, he refused to use chemicals on the playground. After using organic methods and products, the playground grass looked better than the chemically treated turf. Staff asked him to do it on their lawns and Organic Bob was born. That was in 1986.
OCTOBER 2017 Landscaping for Water Quality Presenter: Matt Kumka, Landscape ArchitectFind out the latest in designing for water quality improvement. See examples of innovative projects with inspirations from nature including proven planting strategies. Matt Kumka has a master?s degree in landscape architecture and specializes in sustainable site development and green infrastructure, including regenerative design, stormwater best management practices, and native plant community restoration. He has served as lead designer and project manager on numerous landscape projects related to stormwater quality improvement and ecologically-appropriate placemaking.
SEPTEMBER 2017 The Microbial Revolution: Harnessing Soil Microbiomes to Feed a Hungry Planet Presenter: Dr. Linda Kinkel, Plant Pathologist, University of MinnesotaSoil and plants support complex microbiomes composed of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Microbiomes have significant impacts on agricultural productivity, and have attracted enormous interest as the ?new frontier? for advancing capacities to sustainably produce sufficient food, feed, and fiber to meet the projected global population of 9 billion by 2050. However, we have much to learn about the complex relationships between plants and their microbiomes. Current research efforts focus on developing practical strategies for managing plant microbiomes for enhanced plant productivity in the face of increasing global population, drought, climate change, and reduced availability of nutrient and pesticide inputs.
MAY 2017 Grow Native: Bringing Natural Beauty to Your Garden Presenter: Lynn Steiner, Author Lynn will provide inspirational photos of native-plant landscapes and detailed information on selecting plants to help people develop an environmentally friendly native-plant garden that will be just as attractive to birds, butterflies, and other wildlife as it is to the gardener who tends it.Lynn Steiner is the author of numerous books including Landscaping with Native Plants of Minnesota and her most recent book Grow Native. Lynn will have copies of her book(s) for sale at the meeting for $20 each, please bring cash or a check.
APRIL 2017 Restoring Native Pollinator Habitat Presenter: Cheryl Culbreth Learn how to increase the value of your property for pollinators, wildlife and even resale value. Cheryl Culbreth is a specialist in restoring and protecting native woodland habitats, and passionate about teaching others management practices that will restore and preserve our valued native wildlife habitat.
MARCH 2017 Harvesting Rainwater with Creative Outcomes Presenter: Roxanne Stuhr How do I capture and reuse rainwater? With a BWMP (acronym for Best Water Management Practice), of course! BWMP is a shorthand expression for a type of water pollution control. The myriad of possibilities for each of us to incorporate in our own landscapes are as broad as our imaginations, but most commonly we think in terms of water catchment (i.e. rain barrels, cisterns); water infiltration (i.e. rain gardens, dry wells, French drains, permeable paving, native plants); and water redirection (i.e. dry creek beds and terracing). We will explore each of these areas and others; discuss which option(s) may be best for you and your home; and learn how to make these a real part of YOUR landscape this spring! What should you bring? Please bring your goals, questions, and an open, creative mindset. Roxanne Stuhr grew up gardening; is educated as a landscape architect; has been professionally gardening since 1981 and designing landscapes since 1995. She is a certified MNLA professional and is a certified Master Water Steward. She owns True Nature Design, and her work emphasizes creative integration of nature supportive practices.
JANUARY 2017 Reptiles and Amphibians of Minnesota Presenter: John Moriarty John will be talking about the natural history and conservation of amphibians and reptiles in Minnesota and what homeowners can do to help them. He will have copies of his books available for sale. Amphibians and Reptiles in Minnesota – $40.00 Turtles and Turtle Watching – $10.00John Moriarty is the author of Amphibians and Reptiles in Minnesota (U of MN Press 2014)and Turtles and Turtle Watching in the Northcentral States (MNDNR 2004). John has been involved in reptile and amphibian conservation in Minnesota for 30 years John started the Minnesota Frog and Toad Surveys in 1995. He has served on a number of state committees involving reptiles and amphibians. During the day, John is the Senior Manager of Wildlife for Three Rivers Park District in Plymouth MN. He successfully reintroduced Bullsnakes in the District?s prairies, initiated a long term (25 year) Blanding?s Turtle monitoring program and just received a $250,000 with the Univ. of St. Thomas to study an urban turtle community in one of his parks.
NOVEMBER 2016 Native Alternatives to Commonly Planted Exotic Plants Presenter: Ruth Peterson, Carver-Scott Master Gardener While working on restoring the woodland areas on our property, I learned about the many benefits that native plants offer to our landscapes. Prompted by my search for a better option to the common orange daylily (Hemerocallis fulva), I began to explore ways to incorporate more native plants into my more traditional gardens, especially as replacements for invasive non-native plants.This talk proposes Minnesota native alternatives that deliver beautiful flowers and structure to the garden, along with food for birds and insects, while providing better ecological solutions and easier care than many of the traditional garden plants that are commonly used.
OCTOBER 2016 Woodland Gardening: Converting Urban Shade Gardens into Natural Retreats Using Native Plants Presenter: Julia Vanatta, co-president of Wild Ones Twin CitiesMany of our city lots have mature trees shadowing traditional shade gardens. What does it take to transition a shady yard or garden into a woodland garden of native plants ? Over the past 15 years, Julia Vanatta has naturalized her backyard by building plant communities that mimic those she loves in nature. In her presentation, Julia will lay out a step–by–step process she has learned, from where to begin, to how to manage a woodland garden in a sustainable manner. Julia Vanatta is co-president of the Twin Cities Chapter and a Wild Ones member for more than 10 years. She regularly visits natural areas and has attended two botany workshops on Isle Royale, whose natural flora are a primary inspiration. Julia continues to experiment in her own Minneapolis garden, learning about which plants perform well in its site conditions. Her passion for native woodland stems from her love of natural diversity and of wildlife who need our help.
SEPTEMBER 2016 A Non-Gardener’s Wildlife Garden Journey Presenter: Liz Stanley I began 9 years ago with the goal to create habitat for birds in my Bloomington back yard. With no gardening background, and not having any real plan other than the vague notion of using native plants, I began the experiment with the help of a neighbor who donated a few plants, and an order from Prairie Nursery. Since then it’s been a lot of hard work, trial and error, and a sometimes frustrating but ultimately very rewarding learning experience that has gone well beyond birds. In this presentation I’ll share photographs I’ve taken throughout the process and what I’ve learned from my perspective as a non-gardener.Bio: I’m originally from Atlanta, but have lived in Minnesota for almost 12 years. Professionally I’m a software developer, and in my spare time I’m a Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer. I’ve been involved with several organizations such as the Raptor Center, Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and Richardson Nature Center. As an avid birder and photographer, I enjoy observing and documenting the garden as well as the wildlife it attracts.
MAY 2016 Taming Prairie Gardens for City Living: Design for Small Urban & Suburban Residential Landscapes Presenter: Erik Olsen Landscape Designer, Out Back Nursery Prairie gardens are springing up around our metro area as our communities seek more environmentally friendly land practices at home. Often enough, many of these gardens offer much to insects, pollinators and birds, but may seem lacking in aesthetics. This presentation will cover various design strategies regarding how to plan, arrange, and modify existing prairie gardens with simple techniques so that these gardens will be attractive to wildlife and people.Erik James Olsen graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Environmental Design and a Masters in Landscape Architecture in 1995. Shortly thereafter, he was introduced to native plants by a friend who worked for a local prairie restoration company. Erik joined Out Back Nursery & Landscaping in 1997 and began designing and installing landscapes using primarily native plants. Erik brings vision into his designs that merge ecological processes with horticultural practices.
APRIL 2016 Restoration and Management of Prairies in Three Rivers Park District Presenter: John Moriarty Join John Moriarty as he discusses the history of the prairies within Park District and learn how they are restored and managed. John Moriarty is the Senior Manager of Wildlife for Three Rivers Park District and has been managing prairies in the Metro area for over 25 years. He is currently managing three legacy grants that will restore an additional 500 acres of prairie to Three Rivers Park District.
MARCH 2016 The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Presenter: Craig Mandel The Minnesota Valley NWR is one of 520 Units in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Operated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Minnesota Valley NWR is also one a handful of Urban NWR’s. This creates conflicts and opportunities for this unique Refuge. During this presentation you will visit some of the Refuges units and learn about the Flora and Fauna that can be observed at them.Craig has been a volunteer at the Minnesota Valley NWR, since 1989. He has participated in a number of wildlife surveys and conducts interpretive programs at the Refuge throughout the year.
JANUARY 2016 Wildlife Considerations for Habitat Management on an Altered Landscape Presenter: Christopher E. Smith Chris is a Nongame Wildlife Specialist for the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources? Nongame Wildlife Program. Chris has a bachelor?s degree from the University of Minnesota?s College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences in Fisheries and Wildlife Management; he also holds master?s degree from the same school in Conservation Biology with a minor in Entomology. Chris? work tends to focus on amphibian, reptile, and terrestrial invertebrate conservation biology, but he has experience working with other groups of wildlife as well (mammals ? including bats, birds, etc.).
NOVEMBER 2015 Monarch Butterflies Presenter: Vicki Bonk Where have all the monarchs gone? The monarch butterfly population has plummeted in recent years. But you can help monarchs by creating habitat in urban and suburban areas. Vicki will cover the monarch life cycle, habitat needs, the role of milkweed, and the annual migration through the presentation of her ongoing community outreach project ?Grow Monarch Habitat?. In 1995, Vicki proposed and shepherded a Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program project for a butterfly habitat garden at nearby Lake Nokomis. In 1998 a 4-acre native plant installation, the Nokomis Naturescape, became a reality. She has served volunteer coordinator for the demonstration prairie gardens ever since. In 2006, she developed Grow Monarch Habitat, to promote the benefits of native plants with the beloved monarch butterfly as the ambassador. The workshop gained popularity, acting as a catalyst for the Minneapolis Monarch Festival (www.monarchfestival.org), now in it?s 8th year and attracting 8-10,000 attendees.
OCTOBER 2015 Nature Printing Presenter: Sue Filbin We will apply water-soluble printmaking ink to plants with a soft-rubber brayer. By pressing mightily with our hands?or feet!?the impression of the plant will easily transfer to acid-free paper, creating an original print that each person will take home. Bring a favorite leaf or two with you to the meeting. Since 2002, Sue Filbin has applied ink to leaves and flowers to create distinctive prints. The impression made by the specimen beckons people to really see the dazzling bounty of shapes, sizes, and details of the plants?a discovery Sue very much enjoys sharing with others through her prints and note cards, and during demos and classes.
SEPTEMBER 2015 Invasive Plants: What are they and what’s the big deal? Presenter: Angela Isackson Invasive Species Coordinator ? Three Rivers Park DistrictBuckthorn and garlic mustard are invasive plant species that have become household names these days as the media pleads with the public to help stop their spread or pull them from nearby parks. In the U.S., about 3 million acres are lost to invasive plants each year (twice the area of Delaware). Invasive species, if left unchecked, will limit many uses on lands now and for future generations. Now is the time to act to reduce the threat of invasive plants in our region. Will you join the front lines of our defense team? Growing up in the Minnesota River valley of New Ulm, I found myself exploring and connecting with nature at an early age. I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology at Mankato, Minnesota State University and pursued a career in which I could utilize my passion for being outdoors and ensure the conservation of the natural heritage of our lands. I started working at Three Rivers Park District as a wildlife seasonal aide in 2009 and in 2013 transitioned over to the newly created position of Invasive Species Coordinator.
MAY 2015 Saving Our Planet One Yard (36″) at a Time Speaker: Douglas Owens-Pike Join celebrated local landscape designer and president of EnergyScapes Douglas Owens-Pike for an evening of conversation centered around his new book, Beautifully Sustainable. Doug’s presentation will feature gorgeous views of gardens he has designed, installed and maintained over his 25 years following ecologically sound principles. We will learn step-by-step how modify our own landscape to succeed with the least care. Doug will explain how to convert lawns to native habitat at a pace you can handle. While it may seem our world is overwhelmed with strife and turmoil this will be an evening helping us imagine calmer lives, while supporting other creatures who are under assault.
APRIL 2015 Growing and Gathering Native Edible Plants Speaker: Wesley Nugteren Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden Naturalist
MARCH 2015 Landscaping for Water Quality Speaker: Seth Bossert Urban Conservation Technician, Carver Soil & Water Conservation District Watershed District Cost-Share Grants Learn about the cost-share grants available in Nine Mile Creek Watershed District, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and other local watersheds. Watershed representatives will present for five minutes before the main presentation about the cost-share grants available and answer questions after the main presentation.
JANUARY 2015 Dragonflies of Minnesota Speaker: John Arthur, Board Member of the Minnesota Dragonfly Society
DECEMBER 2014 Nature Poetry Speaker: Larry Wade Participants will be writing poetry from the inspiration of images and natural objects. They will be introduced to using metaphors and similes in their poetry; cinquains; haiku and free verse. In addition, participants will learn techniques and forms they can use in the field with students. Presented by educator, author and biologist Larry Wade. Larry served as Hopkins School District Naturalist for 8 years and taught nature and art classes at St. Thomas University and others. He also specialized in oceanography as a resident of California. www.oldnaturalist.com
NOVEMBER 2014 Climate Change in Minnesota Forests Speaker: Dr. Lee Frelich Research Associate and? Director, University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology Because Minnesota has three major biomes–grasslands, temperate forests of oak and maple, and boreal forests of spruce, fir, pine and birch–the native vegetation of the state is very susceptible to a warming climate. With a business as usual scenario we expect grasslands and temperate forests to move north into the boreal biome of the Boundary Waters. A number of other changes in the environment will reinforce the effects of warmer temperatures, including more droughts, storms, fires, deer grazing, and invasive earthworms. Lee E. Frelich is Director of the University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology. He received a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1986. Frelich teaches courses in Forest Fire Ecology and Landscape Ecology on St.Paul Campus, and has advised 23 graduate students. Frelich has authored more than 110 publications with 90 coauthors from 14 countries, including major works for Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press. He is listed among the top 1% of all scientists in the world in the Thompson-Reuters Essential Science Indicators, Ecology and Environment Category. His research has been featured in the news media 400 times, including such venues as The New York Times and National Geographic. Frelich has provided consulting services on forest management for many government agencies, including The U.S. Army, Air Force, National Forest Service, National Park Service, and Departments of Natural Resources in several states. Current research interests include fire and wind in boreal forests, old-growth hemlock and maple forests, invasive earthworms in forests, deer and moose browsing, patterns of tree height, and impacts of climate change.
OCTOBER 2014 With a Shoebox and a Spoon! Speaker: Bonnie Harper-Lore Bonnie will describe gardens she has designed since age 12 and discuss what worked and what did not – lessons learned. Yes, she was a school teacher about 15 years and continues to learn from every garden, including one for her daughter begun this summer. Bonnie?s interest in native plants began with her first wildflower garden at age 12. Following her graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she taught ecological principles at the University of Minnesota; established MnDOT?s native wildflower program; designed residential native gardens; and oversaw the FHWA national wildflower program for 17 years. After retirement she taught sustainable landscaping through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the U of M. She is currently writing a native gardening book.
SEPTEMBER 2014 Top 30 Native Plants for your Garden Speaker: Shirley Mah Kooyman With rain falls being so unpredictable during the growing season, it makes sense to take a careful look at Minnesota native plants. Remember the adage of ?right plant, right place?. Selected plants for different habitats will be discussed. Shirley Mah Kooyman is a botanist with a specialty in plant taxonomy (plant names and identification), award-winning teacher, plant information specialist, and Vice-President of the MN Native Plant Society. In February 2009 she received the Bruce Beresford Horticulture Educators Award from the MN State Horticultural Society. She worked at the Arboretum for 25 years and was the Adult Education Manager there for 2 decades. Currently she works as a Native Plant Specialist at Natural Shore Technologies, Inc. in Maple Plain. She has lectured on numerous botanical and horticultural topics for various groups. She has traveled widely around the world to study the area?s local flora and garden designs.
MAY 2014 Native Plants For Minnesota Landscapes: Choosing the Right Plant for the Right Place This talk details native plants for shaded woodlands, sunny upland sites and low-lying moist sites. Learn how to choose the right plant for the right place and why you want to maintain and incorporate natural components into your landscape. The role that native plants play in providing valuable habitat and food sources for wildlife including pollinators will also be discussed.
APRIL 2014 Maintaining Native Plant Landscapes Speaker: Paul Erdmann In a perfect world, native landscapes would be ?maintenance free.? Unfortunately, we don?t live in a perfect world, and our native plant landscapes need to be maintained. Come and learn management techniques and other tips to make your native area healthy, diverse, sustainable, and attractive. Paul will also discuss management of some common invasive plants, as well as some ?new invasives? to watch out for. Paul Erdmann is the Caretaker and Conservation Chair at the Bush Lake Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America. He maintains the Chapter’s 5 acre property on Bush Lake in Bloomington, working to restore native plants and to provide wildlife habitat. Prior to working for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in the Stormwater Program, Paul served as the Maintenance Manager at Natural Shore Technologies, an ecological restoration company and native plant nursery based in Maple Plain.
MARCH 2014 Botanical Wanderings Speaker: Michael Lynch Finding nature close to home and afield. Seeking inspiration from area native plant communities and enjoying the beauty of the natural world at the same time. What started as an effort to find out what the prairie really looked like turns into an exploration of nature and the environment. Michael has found that exploring the Twin Cities diverse landscapes is a great source of ideas for the garden and helps to understand the history and future of Minnesota’s environment. Since then, he has sought to share his experiences with others and bring people out into the wild. Join Michael’s Facebook group, Botanical Wanderings
FEBRURARY 2014 Invasive Weeds and Wild Nasties: Identification, Life Cycles & Control Speaker: Janet Van Sloun, City of Minnetonka, Natural Resources Restoration Specialist There are those who would like to reduce landscape maintenance by letting part of their property ?go natural?. In today?s world full of invasive species, this is a naive plan in an urban and suburban environment. Untended landscapes can lead to a property full of bad plants that can get you in trouble with your neighbors and the local weed inspector. Come to this workshop to learn what plants you want to get rid of in that un-maintained, ?wild? area. Restoration Specialist Janet Van Sloun has been working to restore native woodland habitats in Minnetonka city parks since 2006. She has been teaching plant identification since 1991 and invasive species workshops since 2002. Prior to her position in Minnetonka, Janet was an adjunct instructor for the University of Minnesota and Hennepin Technical College while she owned a small consulting business. She holds a B.S. degree in Urban & Community Forestry and minors in Horticulture and Forest Resources. She is also an ISA Certified Arborist.