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Native plant symposium returns to Highlands Botanical Gardens

HIGHLANDS — This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Highlands Botanical Gardens and in celebration the Highlands Biological Station will resume its annual native plant symposium on Friday, Sept. 16, and Saturday, Sept. 17, at two locations in town. 

Guided by the theme of “60 Years of Conservation Gardening,” the event will honor the conservation efforts of its founders and the successful mission of the Western Carolina University multi-campus installation. 

On opening day, participants are invited to a kickoff celebration at the Highlands Biological Station, 265 N. 6th Street, with tours of the gardens from 4-6 p.m. to learn about the unique plants of the region. Following the tours and a reception, a lecture will be given by station executive director Jim Costa.  

The second day, the Native Plant Symposium will be held at the Highlands Community Center, 869 N. 4th Street, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with presenters including renowned entomologist and author Doug Tallamy, whose book “Bringing Nature Home” has become a centerpiece in the native plant movement, and Patrick McMillan, former director of the South Carolina Botanical Gardens and Emmy-Award winning PBS host. A live native plant auction is also planned.  

Early-bird registration opens Friday, July 1, at $150 per person, with a catered lunch provided. Students are invited to register at a reduced rate of $20 per person. All proceeds go directly to funding conservation initiatives at the Highlands Biological Station.  

For additional details and registration, visit:

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