Speaker Bios

Lilly Anderson-Messec
Lilly Anderson-Messec is the manager of Native Nurseries, a retail nursery in Tallahassee, Fl that specializes in native plants. She is inspired by the complex relationships between native plants and native wildlife, and has been working with the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge’s Monarch-Milkweed Initiative to map and conserve Florida’s native milkweeds. In her free time she’ll be found exploring the ecologically rich and diverse regions of the Florida Panhandle, observing and photographing plants and wildlife, as well as swimming and kayaking the beautiful springs and rivers.

Gail Barton
Gail taught Plant Propagation for over two decades. She currently maintains a small nursery in Meridian, Mississippi. Recently she propagated Black Belt Prairie wildflowers and grasses used to establish a Prairie Garden at The University of West Alabama and another on the Natchez Trace. Gail writes descriptive plant articles for New Moon Nursery, works as a Landscape Consultant, teaches Propagation Workshops, and blogs at www.yardflower.com. She is past president of the Mississippi Native Plant Society and is a certifiable plant fool. She enjoys exploring her 6 acres of nature trails with her husband and pack of happy dogs.

Mike Berkley
Mike Berkley, co-owner of Growild, Inc. of Fairview, TN; has experimented with all things native in homeowner’s yards, state and federal parks, commercial development, land restoration, on roof tops, rain gardens and in his own yard for the past 31 years.  His native plant addiction has evolved into a nursery of over 40,000 native plants for sale from the tiniest violet to the mighty oaks.  A grower, designer and installation business was not enough for Mike.  He is now co-host to the Native Plant Podcast where native plants meet Click & Clack with a little hillbilly.  This year will be Mike’s 26th year to attend this native plant family reunion we call Plant Camp and he couldn’t be happier to share his passion.

Kim Brand
Kim is a field organizer for Audubon North Carolina, a state program of the National Audubon Society. Kim has a master's degree in ornithology and was an Audubon Toyota TogetherGreen Fellow in 2013 for her native-plants work with Habitat for Humanity and Audubon in Forsyth County. Kim leads Audubon NC’s Bird-Friendly Communities program, which focuses conservation efforts – including promoting native plants – where most people live, in cities and towns.

Tradd and Olga Cotter
The Cotters own and operate Mushroom Mountain, a mushroom cultivation and research facility located in the upstate South Carolina.  Tradd is the author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation (Chelsea Green), EPA Fellow, and head of Laboratory Research and Product Development and designer of the FDA sanctioned Wild Mushroom Food Safety course.  Olga oversees all company business, social media, green markets, and expert mushroom hunter.The pair launched Mushroom Mountain University, an online learning platform in spring 2017.

Dr. David Cozzo
Dr. David Cozzo is an ethnobotanist specializing in the relationship of the Cherokee to their botanical world. He is an Area Specialized Agent for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension based at the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians Extension Center and is the Project Director for the Revitalization of Traditional Cherokee Artisan Resources. He teaches courses and has published articles on the nutritional and medical ethnobotany of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.

Cecelia Dailey
Cecelia Dailey has managed the studio of Mary Edna Fraser since 2008 in Charleston, SC. Dailey and Fraser's book The Batik Art of Mary Edna Fraser is being published by USC Press, 2017. Her work with botanist Richard Porcher includes a book in progress, incorporating Dailey's images and research. Her photographs using the camera-less technique of "lumens" were recently exhibited by Salem College, and she has taught workshops on the process. She was artist-in-residence at Spring Island, SC in November 2016. She is planner and grower for a new urban pollinator garden in Charleston. www.celiedailey.com www.deleteapathy.com

Eli Dickerson
Eli Dickerson is the Ecologist and chief "tree hugger" at Fernbank Museum of Natural History where he manages the 65 acre, old-growth Fernbank Forest. Eli is an avid distance runner and enjoys exploring the trails of Georgia and North Carolina. In his spare time he also serves on American Forests National Cadre of Big Tree Measurers and manages Atlanta's Champion Tree Program. Eli has B.S. in Biology from Winthrop University and an MBA in nonprofit management from Georgia State University. The Native Plant Podcast Growing from a friendship forged at the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference many moons ago, this rock star garage band has brought podcasting to a whole new level. We're not saying that's a high level, just a new level. :)

Andrew Fox
Andrew Fox, PLA, ASLA is an Associate Professor and University Faculty Scholar in the NC State University Department of Landscape Architecture. He is also a professional landscape architect, co-director of the Coastal Dynamics Design Lab (CDDL), principal at Lift Environmental Design, and the founding faculty member of the NC State Design+Build Studio. Andrew specializes in the areas of resilient community design, green infrastructure and sustainable stormwater management, high-performing public landscapes, and public involvement.

Matt Gocke
A resident of Durham, NC, Matt Gocke is currently the nursery and greenhouse manager at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill, NC. His responsibilities at the Garden include seed and vegetative propagation of southeastern US native plants for use in the NCBG habitats and landscapes and for sale to the general public. Prior to working at the NCBG, Matt landscaped and was a Master's student and staff member at NC State University, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources. His research focus was developing rooting protocol for stem cuttings of native tree species including pine, sweetgum and a variety of oak species.

Becky Griffin
Becky Griffin is the Community and School Garden Coordinator for University of Georgia Extension and a Georgia certified beekeeper. You will often find Becky traveling the roads of Georgia assisting in gardens and helping UGA Extension Agents in their projects. When not on the road, Becky creates a weekly blog and maintains a website of educational information (https://ugaurbanag.com/gardens). In 2016 she launched the Pollinator Spaces Project initiative which encourages gardeners to add pollinator habitat to their gardens. The project expanded in 2017 into a citizen science program to teach gardeners to identify and count the pollinators visiting their gardens.

Stephan Hart
Stephan Hart has been studying plants for over 35 years. As an avid naturalist/botanist, he has been leading hiking, biking and paddling trips in the southern Appalachian Mountains for 22 years Favorite areas of interest are the edible, medicinal and useful aspects of native (ans well as some non- native) plants. Stephan is co-owner of a native plant education and consulting company called Simply Native Plants, LLC.

Kelly Holdbrooks
With over a decade of experience in Western North Carolina's vast horticulture, Executive Director Kelly Holdbrooks demonstrates her passion for fostering a human connection with nature by loving the Reserve as she does children. Blooming with laughter and learning, a guided tour with Kelly is a real treat! Kelly's research in experiential methods and the humanism of nature earned her a Master's degree in Landscape Architecture, with honors, from the College of Environment & Design at the University of Georgia. She is proud to call Western North Carolina her home.

Steph Jeffries
Steph Jeffries is a naturalist at heart and a forest ecologist by training. She's the Director of the Environmental First Year Program and a teaching assistant professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at NC State, where she earned her Ph.D. in 2002. She also teaches Forest Ecosystems of the Southern Appalachian Mountains at the Highlands Biological Station. Steph recently co-authored Exploring Southern Appalachian Forests, which shows readers how to read the natural history of the forested landscape. Outdoors, she shares her love of the natural world with people of all ages and backgrounds—her two sons most especially.

Brian Jorg
Brian F. Jorg, Manager of Native Plant Program at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, joined the organization in 2004. Brian’s responsibilities include managing the Native Plant Project. This project includes the conservation, education, and promotion of native flora. Finding more efficient methods of propagation and cultivation are a prime goal of this program. Brian teaches various educational seminars to the general public, as well as professional organizations. Brian also appears regularly on both TV and radio as a regional horticulture expert. Another of Brian’s passions is photographing native flora. Studying these plants on site, or in the field, he documents these sometime rare and endangered specimens.

Eric Kimbrel
SHR's Director of Horticulture, Eric Kimbrel, is a native of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. After five years working independently and exclusively with private gardening estate clients with Evergreen Inc. as their primary maintenance specialist, Eric is happy to be, as they say, home again at last! After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture and Design from the University of Tennessee, Eric specialized in the woodland area of the Atlanta Botanical Garden. If you want to have an answer to the question you've always wondered about a rare plant of the Southern Appalachia, come meet Eric!

Ron Lance
Ron Lance is a Biologist and Land Manager with the North American Land Trust. He has held previous posts in education, natural history interpretation, biology, forestry, botany and horticulture since 1975. He served on the Board of the International Oak Society for 12 years, and has authored and co-authored numerous publications dealing with native woody plants of the Southeastern U.S., including "Woody Plants of the Southeastern U.S, a Winter Guide" by the Univ. of Georgia Press and Pyracantha in Flora of North America, volume 9. His interest in hawthorns has yielded 14 separate publications on Crataegus.

John Magee
John Magee has been designing and building landscapes in the Washington DC Metro area and beyond for the past 25 years. His experiences in fragile natural settings around the world have influenced his designs and installations of his landscapes. He operates his own, award winning design firm (Magee Design) in the beautiful countryside of Middleburg, VA. He specializes in the use of native plants, but is also known for his work with stone and water. These 'earthy' elements combine to create a natural setting that enhances not only the home of the landscape, but the surrounding area as well. In his spare time, he helped to create and hosts the Native Plant Podcast.

John Manion
John Manion, who though born in Georgia, spent his youth growing up in rural upstate NY. He has lived in many places in the U.S. and abroad and after working in several careers (the longest as an emergency/trauma nurse) he realized his true passion was for plants. After earning an undergraduate degree in plant science at SUNY Cobleskill, he was awarded a fellowship to earn a Master's Degree in Public Garden Leadership at Cornell University. He has interned and worked at several botanical gardens and arboreta, including the Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh, Scotland. After working as Historic Gardens Curator at the Atlanta History Center, he assumed his present position as Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator at Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Alabama, where he has been for six years. Five years ago John began a Certificate in Native Plant Studies program that has been immensely successful.

Annie Martin
Annie Martin (aka Mossin' Annie) is a leading expert in moss gardening in the US. As author of The Magical World of Moss Gardening (Timber Press 2015), this WNC native shares her expertise and passion for mosses in an informative and entertaining format. As a licensed NC Landscape Contractor and owner of Mountain Moss Enterprises, Mossin' Annie has years of experience cultivating mosses and creating innovative moss landscapes. Through her online store (www.mountainmoss.com) and at her Mossery in Brevard, Martin offers shade and sun moss species in trays and moss mats that roll out like a green carpet.

Brent Martin
Brent Martin lives in the Cowee community of western North Carolina and serves as the Southern Appalachian Regional Director for The Wilderness Society. He has an M.A. and A.B.D in History from Georgia State University, and is the author of three chapbook collections of poetry, Poems from Snow Hill Road, A Shout in the Woods, and a fourth collection, Every Breath Sings Mountains, which he co-authored with writers Thomas Rain Crowe and Barbara Duncan. He is also the author of Hunting for Camellias at Horseshoe Bend, a non-fiction chapbook published by Red Bird Press in 2015. His poetry and essays have been published in the North Carolina Literary Review, Pisgah Review, Tar River Poetry, Chattahoochee Review, Eno Journal, New Southerner, Kudzu Review, Smoky Mountain News, and elsewhere.

Dr. Kathy Mathews
Kathy is an Associate Professor of Biology at Western Carolina University, since 2003. She is Director of the WCU Herbarium and is a member of the Society of Herbarium Curators, the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, and Southern Appalachian Botanical Society, for which she served as President from 2014-2016. Previously, she worked as a Research Taxonomist at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and completed a post-doc at the Harvard University Herbaria. She received her Ph.D. in Botany at UT-Austin in 1997, where she studied the genus Spigelia. Since then, she has undertaken research with WCU students on several Southern Appalachian plant groups, such as Micranthes and Trillium, and has published in scientific journals. Her current research focuses on biogeography of high-elevation rock outcrop plants. She regularly teaches Flora of the Southern Appalachians, Vascular Plants, Systematics, and Plants and Society.

Dr. Larry Mellichamp
Dr. Larry Mellichamp is recently retired Professor of Botany and Horticulture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he taught for over 39years. He was also director of their 10 acre Botanical Gardens which includes many native plants. Larry is an expert on native plants of all kinds, especially ferns and carnivorous plants, and has written many technical and popular articles on plants and gardening. He has received several teaching and botanical awards and written the recent book Native Plants of the Southeast...the best species for the garden (Timber Press). He has observed plants in many foreign countries on his travels in South Africa, Madagascar, Australia, China and Borneo. He is the 2016 recipient of the Tom Dodd Jr. Award of Excellence at the 2016 Cullowhee Native Plant Conference.

David Mizejewski
David Mizejewski is a naturalist and television host with the National Wildlife Federation. His passion is urban ecology, reconnecting people to the natural world, sharing his love of the wild plants and creatures that share our planet, and inspiring people to support conservation efforts. He is author of the award-winning how-to book Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife and host of the TV series Backyard Habitat on Animal Planet and Pet Talk on NatGeo WILD.

George Morris
George Morris is long-time conference attendee as well as a member of the Cullowhee Players. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in plant science from the University of Delaware. His previous experiences include Groundskeeper at Mt. Cuba Center for the Study of Piedmont Flora, Superintendent of Grounds at Davidson College, owner of Landscape Sanctuaries, a landscape company specializing in the use of native plants in the landscape, and Habitat Assessment and Restoration Program (HARP), a habitat restoration firm in Charlotte NC. He is currently the vegetation specialist for River Works, Inc., a stream restoration construction firm based in Raleigh, NC.

Richard Porcher
Richard Dwight Porcher, Jr., is a native of Pinopolis in Middle St. John's Parish, Berkeley County, South Carolina, and presently lives in Mt. Pleasant. He graduated from Berkeley High School in 1957 and the College of Charleston with a BS in biology in 1962. He received his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1974, where he studied field botany under Dr. Wade T. Batson. Porcher began a thirty-three year tenure as a biology professor at The Citadel in 1970. In 1995 he published Wildflowers of the Carolina Lowcountry and Lower Pee Dee. He is senior author of Wildflowers of South Carolina published in October 2001. Porcher is presently Professor Emeritus at The Citadel, having retired in 2003. He currently is an Adjunct Full Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Clemson University, where he established the Wade T. Batson Endowment in Field Botany to assist students in the study of the state's flora and plant ecology. Porcher and Sarah Fick published The Story of Sea Island Cotton in 2005. Porcher and William Judd published The Market Preparation of Carolina Rice in 2014. Porcher is working on a book titled Our Lost Heritage, a history of the peoples and plantations in the St. John's Basin in Berkeley County flooded by Lake Moultrie in 1942. Porcher and Celie Dailey are currently working on a book entitled: Rediscovering the Lowcountry Landscape in the Footsteps of our Forebears. Porcher and Joel Gramling of The Citadel are working on a new Lowcountry wildflower book of the Coastal Plain of South Carolina.

Karan Rawlins
Karen Rawlins is the Invasive Species Coordinator and the Bugwood Images Coordinator at the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia. Her duties at UGA include; development and delivery of outreach materials and presentations, expanding the development and operation of the Georgia Invasive Species Task Force, developing Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas in Georgia, classification of images and information into the Bugwood Image Database System, development and training associated with the Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS), and field work including installation and management of research plots and collection of field survey data.

Ann Stoneburner
Ann Stoneburner received her B.S. from Radford University (VA) and her M.S. from James Madison University (VA), both in Biology. She obtained her Ph.D. from Duke University (NC), studying under Lewis Anderson, a leading authority on the moss flora of North America. As a research scientist in the Department of Botany at the University of Georgia, Ann's research centered on the systematics and evolution of polyploidy in species of the Mniaceae, a largely circumpolar family of mosses with a number of species whose geographical ranges extend to the Southern Appalachians.

Doug Tallamy
Doug Tallamy is a professor at the University of Delaware, where he has taught and done research for 36 years. 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. Among his awards are the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence.

Greg Tepper
Gregg is a professional horticulturist, lecturer, consultant and life-long native plant enthusiast. Gregg worked at Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, DE where he held the positions of Horticulturist, Woods Path Horticulturist and Director of Horticulture. He has lectured extensively on native plants in the United States as well as at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Wisley in Great Britain. He enjoys botanizing excursions to observe, study and photograph plants in situ. He is the Director of Horticulture and board member of the newly-formed Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek in Dagsboro, DE.

Larry Weaner
Larry Weaner has been creating native landscapes since 1977. His firm Larry Weaner Landscape Associates has a national reputation for combining ecological restoration with the traditions of garden design. The firm's work has received numerous awards, been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Garden Design, American Gardener, and Landscape Architecture Magazine, among other publications, and been included on tours with The Garden Conservancy, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, and the American Horticultural Society. Larry lectures actively throughout the U.S., and in 1990, he founded New Directions in the American Landscape, a conference series with a national following. He recently coauthored Garden Revolution: How Our Landscapes Can Be a Source of Environmental Change (Timber Press, 2016). Larry's more recent accolades include being granted the Lady Bird Johnson Environmental Award by the Westchester Community College Native Plant Center as well as the New England Wildflower Society Regional Impact Award both for his continued work with native plants

Robert Wyatt
Robert Wyatt obtained his bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his doctorate from Duke University, both in Botany. He taught at Texas A&M University before joining the faculty at the University of Georgia, where he was a Professor of Botany and Ecology for more than 20 years. From 1999 to 2005 Dr. Wyatt was the Executive Director of the Highlands Biological Station, an interinstitutional center of the University of North Carolina. He has won numerous awards for teaching and research, trained more than 40 graduate students, and published more than 160 scientific papers.

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