Berkshire School, Sheffield, MA
Welcoming Diversity into our Landscapes
BBG’s 4th annual ecological gardening symposium challenges gardeners to think what can we do to welcome wildlife and plant diversity in our gardens, rather than working to keep undesired pests out. Invasives are harmful, we do not want them. Pests can be detrimental so we need to look out for the health of our plants. That all holds true, but in these times of ever-present studies showing what can do harm, our symposium speakers will look on the bright side: what steps we can take to encourage beneficial insects, birds, and inspiring plants -- all with a goal of creating unique and resilient landscapes.
Registration includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day.
This year’s speakers
Doug Tallamy: Helping Migrants Justify their Migration
Migration evolved in Neotropical migrants eons ago when the temperate zone offered a bonanza of insects each spring to any bird willing to fly north. Those that did migrate were able to produce more young from all of those insects than those that stayed in the tropics. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case in too many places. With serious declines in insect populations in the U.S., migrants can no longer make enough babies to counter the losses incurred during their dangerous and taxing migration, and they are declining precipitously. Doug Tallamy will discuss ways to return insect populations to their historic highs right where we live, work, and play.
Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 97 research publications and has taught Insect Taxonomy, Behavioral Ecology, Humans and Nature, Insect Ecology, and other courses for 37 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers' Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014. Doug is also a regular columnist for garden Design magazine. Doug is a Lifetime Honorary Director of Wild Ones and has won the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation, the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence, and the 2018 AHS B.Y. Morrison Communication Award.
Bethany Bradley: Ecological gardening with climate change to prevent future invasions and assist native migrations
Species are adapted to tolerate a certain range of climate conditions. As a result, species around the world are shifting their ranges in response to climate change. But, many of these species – especially plants – won’t be able to keep up with the rapid pace of climate warming. Gardening with regionally native plants has the potential to expand native plant ranges and facilitate adaptation to climate change.
The deliberate translocation of species in anticipation of climate change – termed assisted migration – is increasingly discussed as a strategy for conserving native species. Assisted migration could include everything from restoring local plant populations using seeds sources from warmer sites to planting seeds or seedlings outside of their known historical ranges. For example, the Torreya Guardians are actively promoting plantings of Torreya taxifolia, an endangered tree native to Florida that has been planted as far north as New Hampshire.
However, moving a new suite of species around to solve one problem could create new ones. Conservationists worry about unforeseen impacts to the recipient ecosystem, while invasive species managers cringe at the idea of new weeds to control. Invasive species cause declines in native biodiversity, negatively affect agriculture, and cost the U.S. billions of dollars each year in economic losses and control costs.
This talk will explore the idea of supporting assisted migration through our landscaping and gardening. We will look at risk through the lens of invasion ecology to see what that field can tell us about species that pose a higher risk or ecosystems that might be particularly vulnerable. We will also consider risks posed by assisted migration in the context of current practices for selecting ornamental plant species. I hope to convince you that the benefits of planting species native to warmer climes of temperate forests to our south generally outweigh the costs – particularly when compared to the status quo practices of importing and introducing species from outside the U.S.
Bethany Bradley is an Associate Professor of Spatial Ecology & Biogeography at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an investigator with the Northeast Climate Science Center. Her reacher is on how terrestrial ecosystems respond to anthropogenically driven changes, particularly interactions between invasive species, land use and climate change. She aims to improve forecasting of future changes to ecosystems, particularly risks of non-native plant invasions, using tools from biogeography and landscape ecology. Her research has implications for invasion ecology, natural resource management and biological conservation.
Dan Jaffe: How to Make Your Life Easier with Native Plants
Gardening can be difficult at times, whether you’re trying to landscape an area under a dense pine canopy or grow the perfect tomato in a dry summer, there are endless challenges to overcome. What if it were easier? What if there were plants that thrived under the pine trees, or on the sandy roadsides, or could even take the place of all that wasted space we call lawn? What if you could grow beautiful, ecologically beneficial plants that evolved to deal with any problems that the New England landscape throws your way? Join Dan Jaffe of Native Plant Trust to learn How to Make Your Life Easier with Native Plants
Photographer and author Dan Jaffe earned a degree in botany from the University of Maine, Orono, an advanced certificate in Native Plant Horticulture and Design from Native Plant Trust (formerly the New England Wild Flower Society), and has years of nursery management and plant sales experience. He is passionate about ecological horticulture, building both sustainability and wildlife value into every landscape, and the foraging and cultivation of wild edible plants. He is the Horticulturalist and Propagator for Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary and the staff photographer. His book Native Plants for New England Gardens was released spring of 2018.
Amy Nyman: Native Plants with True Grit
Both in the designed landscape and in the wild, plants thrive or die within a wide variety of conditions, often surprising us with either outcome. Our observations and experiments can help us choose which plants have a greater chance of tolerating the conditions we want to place on them. In this presentation, we’ll talk about some of the New England native plants that have shown themselves to be especially tough in a variety of conditions.
Amy Nyman is a landscape designer and principal of Ruby Leaf Design as well as gardener at Tower Hill Botanic Garden managing the naturalized areas. She graduated with a Master of Arts in Ecological Landscape Design from The Conway School, worked as a horticulturist at Garden in the Woods prior to Tower Hill. Amy’s design philosophy is founded on the belief that landscapes should blend beauty, function, and health, and her professional goal is to help people balance those things within their living spaces. She enjoys integrating native plants into the formal garden, offering both recognized structure and a sense of place by reconnecting sites to regionally-native plants, as well as increasing biodiversity and resilience in the landscape. She also recognizes that tough plants that work in tough places can be useful no matter where they originate, but New England native plants often offer exactly the characteristics needed for a New England site.