General & Concurrent Sessions

Wednesday Evening

Wednesday 7:30 p.m. Plenary 1David Mizejewski – Naturalist, National Wildlife Federation, Gardening for Wildlife: Using Native Plant Landscapes to Restore Habitat
Native plants form the foundation of wildlife habitat. By using native plant material in our own yards, gardens and neighborhoods, we reconnect our communities back into the local ecosystem and at the same time are rewarded by seeing birds, butterflies and other “backyard wildlife” right outside our windows. Join naturalist David Mizejewski of the National Wildlife Federation to learn how to create sustainable, wildlife-friendly landscapes with native plants at the backbone, and how to have those landscapes recognized as Certified Wildlife Habitats via the Garden for Wildlife program.

Thursday Sessions

Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.  - Plenary 2 - Doug Tallamy- Making Insects: A Guide to Restoring the Little Things that Run the World
Insect populations have declined 45% globally since 1974. The most alarming part of this statistic is that we don’t seem to care, despite the fact that a world without insects is a world without humans! So how do we build landscapes that support the pollinators, herbivores, detritivores, predators and parasitoids that run the ecosystems we depend on? Tallamy will remind us of the many essential roles insects play, and describe the simple changes we must make in our landscapes and our attitudes to keep insects on the ground, in the air and yes, on our plants.

Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon - Plenary 3 – Ron Lance - Our Native Hawthorns; Finding Structure in the Thicket
There are at least 200 recognizable hawthorn (Crataegus) taxa in the Southeastern U.S. The challenge of their separation into species is notorious but not hopeless. Ecological significance, ornamental landscape potential and fruit utility of several selected species will be illuminated. A few of these hawthorns are so locally significant or regionally rare that their stories are worth knowing. Participants will see how these most "glamorous" examples of our native hawthorns can open the door to a broader appreciation of these enigmatic plants. For a more comprehensive interest, a reference book on Crataegus for the Southeastern states will be available at discount, by the Conference book dealer.

Thursday 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. -  Plenary 4 – Mike Berkley- Species vs Cultivars VS ‘Nativars’
Fortunately, the popularity of native plants has grown so much in the past few decades that the number of varieties, or cultivars, is astounding.  As if the battle lines have been drawn, the controversy between the use of native cultivars and the pure species is widening.  In this discussion, there will be comparisons of each of the ‘tags’ given to native plants and examples of them.  Sometimes good.  Sometimes not.  Mike will also explain why the word ‘Nativar’ is not used in his house.

Concurrent Sessions - Thursday Afternoon

Thursday 2:45 p.m. Concurrent 1A – Native Plant Podcast, Live at Cullowhee
The Native Plant Podcast came onto the Podcast scene in January of 2016, forged from friendships first conceived here at the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference. Join the hosts as they invade their old stomping grounds and have some fun while educating the public about our beautiful native plants. This session is open to all comers and should be fun for the amateur, professional, teachers and homeowners alike. One of gardening's most popular casts will be taking your questions and making you laugh. Be careful, you might learn something and have fun while doing it.

Thursday 2:45 p.m. Concurrent 1B – Apps for Mapping Invasive Species Across the Southeast with Karan Rawlins
The Southeast Early Detection Network (SEEDN) app brings the power of EDDMapS to your smartphone. Now you can submit invasive species observations directly with your smartphone from the field. These reports are uploaded to EDDMapS and e-mailed directly to local and state verifiers for review. SEEDN was developed by the University of Georgia's Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. SEEDN is more than just a smartphone app; it is an integrated invasive species reporting and outreach campaign for the Southeastern United States that includes the app and the EDDMapS website

Thursday 2:45 p.m Concurrent 1D – Diervilla, our native bush-honeysuckles with Kathy Matthews
The genus Diervilla, bush-honeysuckle, contains three species native to the eastern U.S. Its sister group and east-Asian counterpart is the shrub genus, Weigela. In its native habitat, Diervilla grows on high- to medium-elevation, rocky sites. Diervilla sessilifolia (southern bush-honesuckle) is a common component of the thin soil-dwelling, pseudo-alpine plant communities of high-elevation rock outcrops in the Southern Appalachians. As such, it is presumably a relict of a southern, ice-age flora. There is much morphological overlap among the species of Diervilla, including petiole length and hairyness, particulary between the two southernmost species, D. sessilifolia and D. rivularis (hairy bush-honesuckle). This has made them difficult to identify and their taxonomy and geographic ranges controversial. Field work, measurements of environmental and morphological characteristics, and genetic work reveal all the Diervilla species to be little differentiated and that D. rivularis may be an extremely restricted, Cumberland Plateau endemic.

Thursday 4 p.m. Concurrent 2E – Monarchs & Milkweed: Conservation and Preservation of Florida's Native Milkweed Species with Lilly Anderson-Messec
The rising awareness of the monarch butterfly’s plight is an opportunity for this species to become an ambassador for habitat restoration and conservation, as well as for the preservation of dwindling native milkweed species. Florida has 21 species of native milkweed, many of which are native to the entire Southeast, but their populations are declining and few are available to home gardeners. Take a tour of Florida’s varied milkweeds, learn why they are declining and how we are working to map, conserve and propagate them. I will focus on the species we’ve found to have the most potential for cultivation, as well as the most critical species for monarchs. The non-native tropical milkweed is still the most readily available species for gardeners, learn why this can be more hurtful than helpful to monarchs in the Southeast.

Thursday 4 p.m. Concurrent 2F – The New Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek with Greg Tepper
A new botanic garden is in the works for southern Delaware! Join Director of Horticulture, Gregg Tepper, for an informative and entertaining lecture on this exciting new public garden. Learn the history, hear the latest news, see the progress and preview the amazing Master Plans for this unique coastal plain garden that will reflect a sense of place for Delaware and the Delmarva Peninsula.

Thursday 4 p.m. Concurrent 2G – Saving an Old Growth Forest from the Vicious Grip of Invasive Plants with Eli Dickerson
In Fall 2014, Fernbank Museum of Natural History embarked on an ambition task of restoring a 65 acre old-growth forest. The forest had become host to 50 different non-native, invasive plant species that were choking out native plants and decreasing forest biodiversity. Since that time over 30 acres have been at least partially restored. This presentation will cover means, methods, successes and challenges of this restoration project and include advice on how you can tackle these ever present invasives in your local forest or home landscape. Target species include English ivy, Chinese wisteria, thorny olive, leatherleaf mahonia, and various species of monkey grass.

Thursday 4 p.m. Concurrent 2H – Beyond Beauty: fascinating stories about our native plants and their names with John Manion
Many of our native plants are beautiful in appearance and are essential food sources for many of our pollinators, their larvae. and myriad other living things. Covering many common favorites such as Poke Sallet, Bloodroot, Yellowroot, Resurrection Fern , Jack in the Pulpit and others - this talk will focus, instead, on the intriguing stories (both fact and folklore) that accompany some of our native species and their names.

Friday Plenary Sessions

Friday 2p.m. Plenary 5 – Brian Jorg -- Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Native Plant Program- The Role of Botanical Gardens in Conservation
We will take an overview of the current conservation projects the Zoo is engaged in. One such project is cryogenic preservation of endangered plant tissue. Developing the protocols to freeze trillium seed is more than challenging. Other ventures include propagation and reintroduction of various endangered species, such as Short’s Goldenrod, northern monkshood and other critically endangered flora species back into the wild. We will also look at the roles of botanical gardens in saving our native flora, disseminating science backed information, and educating the public, as well as the horticulture industry.We will also explore the restoration project the Zoo is currently engaged in. Turning an agricultural farm back into a thriving wetland. Reintroducing hundreds of species of native flora and the resulting return of wildlife.

Friday 4:30 p.m. Plenary 6 – Larry Weaner- Living in the Liberated Landscape
All too often in our gardens and landscapes we think of static compositions of carefully placed and managed plants.  But our approach can be more dynamic—and arguably more rewarding—than that by taking advantage of plants’ natural abilities to reproduce and proliferate.  Learn how designer Larry Weaner combines design with the reproductive abilities of plants as well as ecological processes to create compelling, ever-evolving landscapes that bring new meaning to partnering with nature.  Using examples from his own property as well as diverse client projects, Larry will share how this give-andtake approach can result in compelling, low-maintenance landscapes that free plants to perform according to their natural abilities and liberate people from having to cater to their landscapes’ every need. 

Saturday Plenary Session

Saturday 9:30 a.m. Plenary 7 – Andrew Fox - Cultivating Care: Building Ecological Communities through Engagement and Education
Ecological design involves environmental and social processes that are often complex and difficult to see and comprehend. Educating individuals and organizations in ways that increase understanding of and value for ecologically based projects therefore becomes critical in establishing and maintaining sustainable sites. This session will introduce engagement and education strategies used by the NC State Department of Landscape Architecture to challenge various cultural norms related to understanding and appreciating the importance of landscape design and management best practices. The discussion will focus on the ways these principles are used to guide research, teaching, and engagement activities, including discussion of native plants, green infrastructure and sustainable stormwater management, and methods of community involvement and service-learning. The presentation will use case studies to illustrate how various models of interdisciplinary design have centralized programming, policy, and stakeholder agendas, while also transforming ecologically dysfunctional spaces into environmentally responsive and celebrated community places

Saturday 10:30 - 11:30 Plenary 8 - Rediscovering the Lowcountry Landscape in the Footsteps of our Forebears with Richard Porcher and Cecelia Naomi Dailey
Man and nature shaped today's Lowcountry landscapesince ever since Native Americans arrived eleven million years ago. Native Americans created calcium-rich shell middens, where a rare community, the maritime shell forest, developed. Beginning in the late 1700s, slaves banked then cleared 150,000 acres of tidal freshwater swamp where rice was planted. The abandoned fields today are mostly marsh communities, supporting a plethora of wildlife and wildflowers. Many acres of uplands that were cleared for agriculture today support diverse secondary forests, a community unknown before first contact, but nonetheless rich in wildlife. Coastal rivers and uplands were mined for phosphate, leaving the landscape not too unlike a bomb-scarred battlefield, but with a beauty of its own. Introduced invasive species, like Chinese tallow tree, have altered the native landscape. Prescribed fire today, replacing for the most part natural fires, has maintained the longleaf forests in their natural state, treasures for wildlife lovers. Man and nature, then, have worked together to product today's Lowcountry landscape, a rich and diverse landscape that offers much for the naturalist to behold and enjoy.

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